Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Purely by chance, I happened to be in Little Rock, AR just when the news regarding President Clinton’s role in the Obama administration’s illegal effort to offer a job to Rep. Joe Sestak in return for a political favor broke last week in the national media. It turns out that ex-President Bill Clinton was in town that day to stump for beleaguered Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
Compassionate fellow that he is, President Clinton graciously served as the keynote speaker for the Neighborhoods U.S.A. luncheon on May 28, 2010. This was my first time seeing President Clinton face to face and I was curious to hear what he had to say.
As far as I could tell, President Clinton’s primary message was that those of us working at the neighborhood level were the most important people on Earth and that his experience at the national level had taught him that it was a more cruel world than what we were used to seeing or observing.
President Clinton argued that neighborhoods were a healthy and wonderful thing because citizens were forced to get to know each other as individuals. He pointed out that - at the national level - it was easy for his political enemies to create an inaccurate and unfair characterization of him and others.
For example, he shared the comments of one of his assistant who was with him in Washington who claimed, in relation to press accounts regarding President Clinton that "They keep writing about someone I am unfamiliar with."
As someone who has occasionally been in the public eye myself, I know President Clinton is telling the truth that the media does tend to portray people in a manner that best sells newspapers or keeps you holding on through the commercial instead of the manner that might satisfy your own ego’s needs. In my case, for example, I was never on the front page of a major newspaper for anything good or inspiring that I’ve done.
At the federal level, President Clinton pointed out there are special problems “…because…it's easy when you're a long way away and there’s a lot of people in between that have various interests in…turning you into…a cartoon, instead of a human being. It's easy to perform reverse plastic surgery on you. Particularly when it’s tough.”
Since I was attending the luncheon on business, I had to keep my mouth shut at the event. Nevertheless, it was clear to me that President Clinton has a real nature which leaks out once in a while, a real nature which is immoral, ruthless, and prone to lie. Unfortunately for him, that's the part of his character which really captures the public's attention and the media is more than happy to fill their appetite for more stories of President Clinton gone wrong. Based on the comments he was making even as this latest scandal broke, I think it is safe to say that he really is a manipulative liar…concerned only for himself and his political party.
John C. Drew, Ph.D. is an award-winning political scientist.