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this was our president
December 16, 2007 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Bill Clinton on Charlie Rose - on display: Thoughtful Visionary as well as Political Animal; cf. Howard Dean and Jimmy Carter.
posted by kliuless (55 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
His hands were visibly shaking at the end of the interview. The Clintons are scared of Obama, and they're not going to go down without swinging, that's for sure.
posted by billysumday at 9:35 AM on December 16, 2007


Stumping for Hillary, essentially.

Lately he's been complaining that the media is "ignoring" Her all her "experience" But experience doing what? Cheerleading us into the Iraq war? failing to get us universal health care in '93?
posted by delmoi at 9:37 AM on December 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's kind of sad that the one thing that may possibly tarnish Bill Clinton's reputation among many stalwart Democrats is his shilling for Hillary's candidacy.

Of course, no one really expects Bill to be objective about the candidates when his wife is running. But Dems are not in the habit of having to take what Bill Clinton says with a grain of salt. It may be that his unvarnished advocacy for Hillary will be an turning point in the undiluted respect he has been accorded by many.
posted by darkstar at 9:45 AM on December 16, 2007


I so fucking wish they would both go away.
posted by empath at 9:46 AM on December 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


undiluted respect

I don't think very many democrats would use that term to describe how they feel about the Clintons. I have a certain nostalgic fondness for the Clinton presidency, but it is in no way undiluted.
posted by empath at 9:47 AM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have a certain nostalgic fondness for the Clinton presidency

I admit to feeling this way at times, too. But the further away we get from it, the more plain it becomes that Bill Clinton's administration contributed in no small way to the fiscal and economic pain that is coming our way. As much as I do like Obama, part of me wants Hillary to win, if only so that the Clintons can share in some of eventual misery they helped create.
posted by psmealey at 9:57 AM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Plus, lets face it. Clinton is smart, but he was very much the Authoritarian Liberal, and his wife seems worse, maybe just because of her demeanor. Let's not forget the Clipper Chip and the wonderful DMCA they gave us. I realize these electronic issues are not of major concern to most voters, and so they are not talked about that much. Also, Clinton's complaining about video games shows that she's willing to demonize things she doesn't understand in order to pander for votes. It's also a minor issue but it illuminates her thinking IMO.

(Interestingly, of the major candidates this year Edwards has actually talked about internet freedom type issues and is actually pretty good on them. I'm not sure about Obama's positions.)
posted by delmoi at 10:24 AM on December 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Dems are not in the habit of having to take what Bill Clinton says with a grain of salt...
Yeah, if th-- hey, wait a second, what?
posted by verb at 10:30 AM on December 16, 2007


Edwards has actually talked about internet freedom type issues and is actually pretty good on them. I'm not sure about Obama's positions.

Obama supports net neutrality and wants to use the internet to bring more transparency to government. I'm positive on Obama in general, but especially on technical matters, I think he's very strong.
posted by willnot at 10:34 AM on December 16, 2007


I watched this on TV and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed to see Bill refusing to engage in the sort of interesting, interested political dialog Charlie wanted to have. All Bill wanted to do was talk about how well Hillary will run the country. He's a pretty smart guy, and I would have loved to hear the conversation that Charlie intended for them to have, but all we got was Hillary Has Experience And Obama Is A Punk.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:44 AM on December 16, 2007


I could care less if it's Obama or Clinton that gets the nomination at this point. Like it frikkin matters. We're screwed either way, but isn't Charlie Rose one of the best interviewers ever in the history of anything? He makes interviews feel like natural conversations and they're SO not. Watching a man like Rose do his schtick is like watching Olympic ice skaters or air force test pilots or Subway sandwich makers (not the new kid. the ones who've been at it awhile).

Y'know many years ago I frequented an establishment where they made pizza the old fashioned way, and the kitchen was set up so that as you walked in the door you could see it. Like it was a stage. And there were these two guys flipping dough up in the air using centrifugal force to make them flat and round. They had this whole presentation how they put the sauce on in one big flourish and then put the other ingredients there and then they'd put it in this big oven with style and take out another pie and then they'd cut it up real fast. It was a spectacle, lemme tell ya, but they didn't make it look easy. They didn't make it look natural.

Michelle Kwan makes ice skating look like dancing. Rose makes interviews look like two people just sitting around talking - like it wasn't a staged event. I'm forever in awe at truly talented people.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:49 AM on December 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


I didn't watch it yet, but.. did Charlie Rose allow Bill Clinton to speak his mind freely using Charlie Rose's mouth (as does in almost every interview?
posted by Auden at 11:10 AM on December 16, 2007


"all we got was Hillary Has Experience And Obama Is A Punk"

What we got was Rose putting Clinton through his paces. He knew Clinton would stay on his script. Clinton's probably gone through some extra coaching for his current stint as The Next First Lady. He knows he's not in the public eye for himself right now. He's in this for her, and that's commendable, but it's also boring.

Rose was baiting Clinton: get him off his script and into something real and engaging. Rose is an exceptional interviewer. Compare his ability to that of Barbara Walters who always looks staged and false.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:13 AM on December 16, 2007


Rose is an exceptional interviewer.
Agreed...generally.
Though, sometimes, I wish he would just shut the hell up and let his guests answer the questions. Charlie often seems to want to answer them himself. That said, his show is always a "don't miss" for us.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:19 AM on December 16, 2007


I watched this on TV and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed to see Bill refusing to engage in the sort of interesting, interested political dialog Charlie wanted to have. All Bill wanted to do was talk about how well Hillary will run the country.

I know, it's like Bill's IQ dropped 20 points once Rose started talking about Obama. Because the Clinton's arguments are largely vacuous. I mean "Experiance" is a meaningless term when it comes to politics. It's not a real reason to vote for someone, but it might sound like a good reason to vote for someone if you don't think about it too carefully. So Clinton trots out this semi-dishonest message about Hillary, and because he's not being totally honest it ends up sounding dumb.

The bottom line is, there isn't really a reason to vote for Hillary over Obama, unless you spesifically like one of their few policy differences. If you're an Iran Hawk. Hillary is your gal. But most of the democratic electorate is not. Hillary and Edwards healthcare plans are more universal, because they include mandates.

But as far as Health care policy goes, I actually prefer Obama's to Hillary and Edward's. The reason is, I don't like the idea of being forced to pay for crappy health insurance from private corporations. If we're not going to have a national health insurance program payed for by taxes, then I think individuals should still have a choice.

The other problem I have with the mandate idea is that you practically end up with a fucked-up degenerate single payer system where you essentially are being taxed except 1) Your taxes are going to be siphoned off by private corporations, and 2) it's a flat tax where everyone pays the same level, and so it's a huge tax increase on th middle class.

It would be a bad system and would decrease the pressure for a real, reasonable health care plan.
posted by delmoi at 11:21 AM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Guy looks like he's losing it.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 11:33 AM on December 16, 2007


Delmoi...you forgot the part where, in the mandate scheme, there's still no big stick to make the insurance companies actually reign-in their costs and fees. There's "language" about it in the plans. But, unless there's a strict requirement spelled-out, It'll be, pretty-much, business-as-usual for them...high profits, low-accountability...now with tax-dollars included!
posted by Thorzdad at 11:33 AM on December 16, 2007


You know, I've had it with the Clintons finally. I was going to hold my nose, but I can't.

Bill's comments could seriously harm Obama in the general election if he is the nominee. Good work.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:01 PM on December 16, 2007


more or less what delmoi said in the first 2 comments
posted by matteo at 12:45 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bill Clinton is about as liberal as Roger Clemens is humble.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:54 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


hey, i just got your name! (i've been reading the demon princes ;)
posted by kliuless at 12:57 PM on December 16, 2007


...so Al Gore is running, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:03 PM on December 16, 2007


Watching Bill Clinton speak is like speed drinking two Cosmos and chasing them with a Valium.

It's against your better judgment. But it's all soooo sweet. You feel kinda flattered and pretty. Then you feel warm in your tummy. Like a melting pat of butter. But the longer it goes on the room starts to spin and you feel confused. It was so nice at first?

Then before you know it you wake up and you look down and your pants are off. You swear never again. But damn it. He's so sweet and soothing.

Bill Clinton is amazing. He is a genius at campaigning. I think what you see here is his frustration with the Hillary handlers. It is obvious. They didn't want to go after Obama earlier because of th race thing and they wanted her to appear to be above all that shit.

From a practical and political standpoint Bill is right to go after Obama hard core. But it's too late. Obama is now already "the good guy." A good guy who wouldn't stand a chance in the general but will soak up all the bandwidth anyway.

Pray a right wing wild card goes third party.

Otherwise practice this: President Huckabee. Get used to it, people.
posted by tkchrist at 1:31 PM on December 16, 2007


But the further away we get from it, the more plain it becomes that Bill Clinton's administration contributed in no small way to the fiscal and economic pain that is coming our way.

That is false. He left balanced budgets behind (give credit to the Congressional GOP for that, too, even though they were crazy assholes). He bears no responsibility for the decision to squander the surplus on tax cuts and a catastrophic war-- except to the extent that he failed to oppose the Iraq invasion, but that's not a criticism of his administration.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:52 PM on December 16, 2007


Clinton is a guy who used to be the go-to-guy and now he has to aquiesce. He's second banana. That's what you're seeing. The shaking hands ain't about Obama. It's about being The Next First Lady. I'm sure he keeps telling himself it'll be different. The civilized world is moderate and free-thinking and progressive. He's being the dutiful soldier and the doting husband and he's learned his lessons and he has to convince the world all these things that you and I both know ain't really true.

He's the world's best liar since P. T. Barnum, and what he's facing now is the most challenging year of his life thus far. I think you guys should vote for Hillary Clinton for one reason and one reason only: let's see Bill wear the dress.

But then since the heady days of Gerald Ford, I've been a humorist supporter.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:59 PM on December 16, 2007


Obama helps us track $1,000,000,000,000 of federal spending
posted by homunculus at 2:07 PM on December 16, 2007


William Jefferson Clinton is the greatest US president in living memory.

(Now, breathe, little MeFites. Take a moment. Release that seemingly oh so clever response that you just "thought" of and are planning to post regardless of anything else that follows in the next few paragraphs. Cynicism and insult are easy, challenge yourself to go beyond them. I dare you.)

Do I agree with every choice Bill Clinton made? No. Should I? No. Governing in the modern world is a precarious art, at best. He is exceptionally intelligent, did a great deal of good for the average US citizen as well as the World as a whole. To top it off, he honestly believes, and practices, what he preaches, especially in regard to Service.
Is he perfect? No. Should he be expected to be? No.

Recommendation:
Visit at least 10 Presidential libraries.
I have.
Visit those you think you respect, and those you think you don't.
I have.
Take everything presented with a grain of salt. Long before you visit the tenth, your perspectives will be changed. In the process you will have learned to look behind the headlines, to research and to think for yourself, and to avoid the common temptations of head in the sand obtundity.

Then come back here and post your incredibly judgmental opinion of someone who's butt you aren't worthy to wipe.

(wait for it...)

I have.
posted by RenMan at 2:34 PM on December 16, 2007


I wiped Bill Clinton's butt and all I got was this lousy blue dress.
posted by Wolof at 3:44 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


That is false. He left balanced budgets behind

I think you need to dig more deeply into that. I think Clinton did a tremendous job steering the big ship despite a hostile congress, but the balanced budget stuff is pure accounting magic. No doubt that the last 6 years of GWB has exploded the whole thing into oblivion, but the claim that Clinton's administration gave us surpluses that brought us back from the brink is misleading at best, self-serving cynical bullshit at worst. Clinton's management of the economy was the same brand of kick the rock down the road negligence that we got from every President since Carter left office. I expect exactly the same from Hillary, if she is elected.

On preview, RenMan, excessive carriage returns don't make your sound more profound or poetic.

Just tedious, self-important...

And annoying.
posted by psmealey at 4:14 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Quibble about what it means to "balance the budget" if you will, psmealy, but the fact is that we were in immensely better shape 7 years ago than we are today. Or are you arguing that the Bush revenue reductions and Iraq invasion are not that important, fiscally?
posted by ibmcginty at 4:44 PM on December 16, 2007


William Jefferson Clinton is the greatest US president in living memory.

Because he has the best presidential library? And you've visited at the least ten of them? Is ranking presidents a personal past time of yours?

Also, shame that he's not running for president but rather his wife.
posted by billysumday at 4:58 PM on December 16, 2007


LOL, I neither wrote, nor inferred that Clinton had "the best" presidential library. My assertion is not based in any measure on his library.

Best being an extremely subjective term, I highly recommend Reagan's library, although I still consider the man to have been a puppet.

Studying, not ranking, presidential administrations, their accomplishments, belief structures, skills, weaknesses, passions, goals is a past time of mine. Read histories and biographies of world leaders, they are fascinating on many levels.

I wholeheartedly agree with your final sentence. I prefer Kucinich, then Obama.
posted by RenMan at 5:11 PM on December 16, 2007


Mike Huckabee = Jimmy Carter.
posted by empath at 6:18 PM on December 16, 2007


I could care less if it's Obama or Clinton that gets the nomination at this point. Like it frikkin matters. We're screwed either way

Hugs and kisses, ZachsMind, but one of the reasons the world's had to live with America-As-Eviller-Than-Usual Empire this past near-decade, why the sewage level has crept all that much closer to nostril-depth, is because too many of you yank bastards (god bless you) said this kind of thing in 2000 and 2004. Those of us who aren't American and get no say in what bag of shit you eventually end up electing would like it very much if you folks would hold your nose and and vote for the smallest bag of shit rather than just turn away, because even if we are all probably screwed, it's just unacceptable to give up, and like it or not, you American citizens have to take responsibility for what you do to yourselves and to us. I'm right with you on what seems like the increasing futility of what passes for democracy in America and elsewhere, and nobody can tell you who you should vote for, but you seem like a smart and good-hearted guy, and the only thing us dirty ferriners can hope is that smart and good-hearted Americans don't give up.

Now, breathe, little MeFites. Take a moment. Release that seemingly oh so clever response that you just "thought" of and are planning to post regardless of anything else that follows in the next few paragraphs. Cynicism and insult are easy, challenge yourself to go beyond them. I dare you.

Hell, I dare you to try posting without insulting everyone else and making yourself look pretentious, snide and holier-than-thou. Come on, Renman, you can do it if you try. Maybe you can even make polite conversation with people a 'past time' too!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:44 PM on December 16, 2007


Mike Huckabee scares me
posted by homunculus at 7:16 PM on December 16, 2007


Yeah, who made Renman the expert on presidential history? Greatest in history? Bill Clinton?

Please. He was the best we could during an era of rethuglican hegemony. Now we are finally turning the page on that era, and he and his wife don't want to leave the party. He compromised so much on core values of the liberal tradition that in many ways it would have been better to have a republican in office we could have blamed in hindsight. And his wife has not one iota of relevant experience for the job that is not matched by all of her competitors in other ways.

That Bill would knowingly damage his party's chances in the general election like this if his wife does not get the nomination -- and god knows, I have thought about it and I will not vote for her in the primary and really have a hard time imagining doing it in the general if McCain is her opponent -- tells me he's an old phony who is past his relevance.

President Obama won't be calling Bill much for advice, I shouldn't think, after this bullshit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:24 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Mike Huckabee = Jimmy Carter.

Jimmy Carter wouldn't shovel gay people into ovens. He's just not psychopathic that way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:23 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


History plays a huge part in the determination of how great a president actually was. 25-50 100 years from now it will be interesting to see how Clinton is truly ranked as a president, from this vantage point I can't really call it. One thing is for certain, we don't have to wait that long to know how our current President will fare.

i am truly baffled at people who continue to frame the Obama/Clinton choice as "more of the same" It's like you're willfully ignoring just how bad the current administration has been. I'm really trying to understand this phenomenon, and I can't wrap my head around it. Do people honestly believe that any of the democratic candidates will be a continuation of what we have now?

The thing I don't hear anyone talking about is what we really need from the next President. Democrat, Republican, I don't care who gets in, as long as their first order of business is running every single person involved with the current administration out of town. All the way down to the guy who orders the office supplies. Second order of business, count the silverware. Given the "loose accounting" that seems to go along with the current administration, I wouldn't be surprised if an entire wing of the White house turns up missing in January of 09.

Seriously though, republican or democrat, whoever you're in favor of, how do you see them as handling the major events of the past 8 years differently that Bush has? Would Giuliani have lost a major American city? Would Hillary have turned the goodwill of the entire world into flat out hatred after 9/11? Would Obama have confused the basic foundation of this country that says that freedom comes before aeverything, even safety?

I know these examples are simplistic, but so is the claim that all of our choices at this point equal "more of the same". If I'm wrong, please set me straight, because I don't want to be wrong going into this one.We blew it as a country in 2004. We gotta get this next one at least kind of right. Right?
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:45 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


[few comments removed - Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:24 AM on December 17, 2007


Frankly, given the unmitigated mess the next president will be tasked with cleaning-up, I can't understand why anyone would be running for the job right now. The next president is almost certainly going to be pilloried by the opposition as ineffective as soon as it becomes clear that cleaning up the mess will take a good, long time and lots of cash. Every problem created by BushCo will be blamed on the next pres. The next president can't win. He/she will be the next Carter. And will probably take their party down the drain with them.

If the Republicans really, truly want to eliminate the Democratic party, they should just let the Dems win the White House and focus all their efforts on maintaining that "strong minority" position they currently hold in Congress. Keep the Dems numerically in charge, but effectively impotent. Ride to the country's rescue four years later, sweeping the Dems from the face of the political planet. Machiavelli would be proud.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:33 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Quibble about what it means to "balance the budget" if you will, psmealy, but the fact is that we were in immensely better shape 7 years ago than we are today. Or are you arguing that the Bush revenue reductions and Iraq invasion are not that important, fiscally?

Oh for fuck's sake. It must be with-or-us-or-against-us season again. Look, even the most casual review of my posting history will reveal that I'm probably a bigger bleeding-heart, Bush-hating lefty than you are. Just because I don't think Bill Clinton is not the greatest president in history does not make me a Bushite, or even a Republican. A guy whose greatest (only?) accomplishment in his second term is selling out the poor does not get high marks in my book.
posted by psmealey at 7:37 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


The next president can't win. He/she will be the next Carter. And will probably take their party down the drain with them.

Some of us perceive the "two-party system" as a sort of shell game anyway.
posted by pax digita at 7:39 AM on December 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


And there should be more of us who see it that way.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:06 AM on December 17, 2007


Thorzdad has pretty much summed up this entire presidential race. It's nothing but the contest to see who gets to be the next big villain, thus dooming their respective party to irrelevance.

I'm convinced, and I've said it before, that this is what's keeping Al Gore from running. He knows which way the wind is blowing and realizes that he can affect more change by NOT becoming the next POTUS.
posted by C.Batt at 8:23 AM on December 17, 2007


psmealey, my argument was that it was false to say that "Bill Clinton's administration contributed in no small way to the fiscal and economic pain that is coming our way."

My point is that our budgetary situation improved under Clinton, and has been made vastly worse by Bush.

It's not clear to me why you take that as evidence of an "us vs. them" mentality.
posted by ibmcginty at 9:47 AM on December 17, 2007


Bush.

Clinton.

Bush.

Clinton.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
posted by darkstar at 9:55 AM on December 17, 2007


Charlie Rose hates black people. Honestly I think Tavis Smiley does a much better job of creating a rapport and pertinently asking questions and waiting for the answer. His conversations are much more illuminating. Plus the guests are much more varied. A shame he only does 15 mins a piece. I watched Charlie fervently until I noticed these trends. But Charlie is fine , i guess if your into the snobbery of everything high society, high politics and high finance but don't care to really see them dissected. Rose has 1 good question every 10 mins.
posted by Student of Man at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2007


Bush.

Clinton.

Bush.

Clinton.

Lather, rinse, repeat.


Only two of the People on that list have actually been president.

Seriously though, if you think recognizing political dynasties is somehow clever, you're missing the point entirely.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:54 AM on December 17, 2007


Seriously, though, if you think you recognized my point, you're missing the clever entirely.
posted by darkstar at 6:20 PM on December 17, 2007


Only two of the People on that list have actually been president.

Three.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:04 PM on December 17, 2007


Hillary Clinton Joins Joe Lieberman To Resurrect the Culture Wars
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on December 18, 2007 [1 favorite]


fwiw :P

cheers!
posted by kliuless at 1:26 PM on December 19, 2007


kliuless, that leads to another link with this insightful essay, too.
posted by darkstar at 6:03 PM on December 19, 2007


yea, put me down for obama/paul too :P with bloomberg independent!
posted by kliuless at 8:22 PM on December 19, 2007


Clinton Derangement Syndrome. Exhibit A - Andrew Sullivan.
posted by homunculus at 12:14 PM on December 30, 2007


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