For Music I Still Prefer George Clinton
You don’t see much Clinton-bashing in this space. He was certainly the most corrupt president of the 20th Century, but we were lucky enough to have elected him at a time when we could afford the distraction, more or less.
Yet I still found today’s Michael Kelly column compelling. It is, in part, a write-up of the new Joe “Anonymous” Klein book on Clinton, called “The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton.”
But there is a common theme, which has to do with the quality that, in the end, made Clinton a most unusual president. It is not, Klein’s valiant efforts notwithstanding, a positive quality. What comes across as the most important source of Clinton’s uniqueness as president is the nearly unbelievable degree of his essential unfitness to be president — his profound immaturity, his pathological selfishness, his cynicism, above all his relentless corruption.
In Klein’s defense, Clinton emerges almost casually as “the apotheosis of his generation’s alleged sins: the moral relativism, the tendency to pay more attention to marketing than to substance, the solipsistic callowness,” possessed of an “angry, adolescent side,” given to “almost hilarious self-involvement” and “childishness,” “a man who would actually poll whether or not he should tell the truth” and who suffered from “moral turpitude,” “a compendium of all that his accusers found most embarrassing, troubling and loathsome about themselves.” Klein finds it plausible that Clinton ordered up lethal bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan “to turn the nation’s attention away from the Lewinsky scandal.” This, mind you, in defense.
Interesting stuff about — love him or hate him — an interesting man. Check it out.