Friday, May 29, 2009

Clinton: 'Boy President' Mellows

Big upcoming profile of Bill Clinton now by Peter Baker in the New York Times.
We're told that Bill Clinton is now mellowing.
He travels around the world. He gives speeches. He shops.
Bill Clinton in Peru:
Standing all by himself, the former president of the United States moved his eyes methodically across shelves of wooden carvings, jewelry and sculptures as he searched for something distinctive to bring his wife. “She used to look forward to me coming home from wherever I’ve been,” he mused with a laugh. “Now I’m afraid I’ll be second fiddle to whatever world leader she’s just met.”
Awwwww . . .
Clinton was once the astonishing "Boy President." But now, like the rest of us, Bill Clinton lives in The Age of Obama. And in the Age of Obama, there's only room for one Obama.
The advent of a new Democratic administration, with his wife in the top cabinet slot, has opened a new chapter in the eventful life of the nation’s 42nd president. No longer in exile, yet not exactly in the inner circle, Clinton is trying to define his role and find his place in the Age of Obama. He agreed to some limits on his activities to satisfy the good-government advocates around Obama, but he is still traveling the globe, pushing his favorite philanthropic programs, collecting six-figure checks for speeches, dining with foreign leaders and in his own way speaking for America again.
Clinton would like to play some type of role. He wouldn't be Clinton if he didn't.
But Obama's not interested. Obama just doesn't feel he needs Clinton.
Obama has not tapped Clinton to do anything significant for the new administration yet. Unless Obama messes up, says a former top Clinton aide, “President Clinton is irrelevant.” Obama does not need him. “This is not a circumstance in which Bill Clinton is going to have much of a role,” the aide says.
Still, sometimes Clinton's and Obama's paths do cross. But even then, Obama's not very interested in interacting with his predecessor.
Clinton was invited to join Obama for a ceremony enacting legislation to expand the AmeriCorps service program, one of the former president’s favorite legacies. By the time Clinton left office, more people had served in AmeriCorps than have served in the Peace Corps in its entire history. The ceremony was held at a school in a poorer, predominantly African-American section of Washington. Clinton was acknowledged in the remarks but was not invited onto the main stage or given a speaking role. Instead, Obama used the occasion to heap praise on Senator Edward Kennedy, a key patron during last year’s campaign.
There's a lot more in this extensive article - all worth our attention.
Botton line: Clinton ain't so bad. Though complicated, he remains irrepressibly human.
And Obama? Well, the human parts are hard to find in a man who prides himself on cool detachment and nouveau narcissism.

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