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March 28, 2007

Clinton's Gifts

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

When you've got the knack, why not exercise it? According to the WashPost, in the last six years Bill Clinton has earned nearly $40 million as a speechifier. A cousin of mine -- as Republican as can be, by the way -- attended one of these talks and reports that Clinton's charisma is quite amazing. "It's like he radiates a force field. You can almost see it coming off him," says my cuz.

A nice quote from the Post:

On one particularly good day in Canada, Clinton made $475,000 for two speeches, more than double his annual salary as president.

And a fun snapshot of How The World Really Works:

Many of Bill Clinton's six-figure speeches have been made to companies whose employees and political action committees have been among Hillary Clinton's top backers in her Senate campaigns. The New York investment giant Goldman Sachs paid him $650,000 for four speeches in recent years. Its employees and PAC have given her $270,000 since 2000 -- putting it second on the list of her most generous political patrons.

The banking firm Citigroup, whose employees and PAC have been Hillary Clinton's top source of campaign donations, with more than $320,000, paid her husband $250,000 for a speech in France in 2004. Last year, it committed $5.5 million for Clinton's Global Initiative to help encourage entrepreneurship and financial education among the poor.

Here's a Google Maps view of many of Clinton's gigs and how they paid. I'm looking forward to FvBlowhard's next installment in his series on The New Class. Episode one can be read here.



posted by Michael at March 28, 2007


Clinton is a fascinating character. I really like him, despite all his faults. Here's an interesting anecdote that illustrates his amazingly quick mind. I really do miss a President who can put two sentences together, no matter the political affiliation.

His speechifying doesn't bother me that much, it's what former Presidents do. I'm not sure how I feel about the connections with Hillary's contributors. Their situation as a power couple is fairly unique, but people do each other favors like this all the time. I think the interest comes from them being married.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 28, 2007 12:01 PM

It's also interesting that only 20% of his speeches last year were for profit. The rest of the speeches he gave for free to various charities and organizations. Granted, he can now afford to do that, but just think of how much cash he could have made.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 28, 2007 12:04 PM

I can see that the regulation of banking is going to be really rigorous under Mrs C, eh?

Posted by: dearieme on March 28, 2007 12:20 PM

In reality, many of those banking institutions are paying him back for the lax oversight that was rendered by this crook during the fiasco that managed to disappear trillions of dollars of people's investment money.

Yes, a very kind, caring, smart, charismatic crook, liar, cheater, and war-monger. Its funny how so many on the left give him a pass for bombing the Serbs, but whine about Iraq, dismiss his dirty hands in the stock market mania, but complain about Haliburton, and so on. But I guess that's the appeal of a con man--people seem enthralled with the sales pitch and forget that their pockets are being picked.

Posted by: BIOH on March 28, 2007 12:50 PM

Thanks for that link Patriarch -- that is an amazing anecdote. (Oh, how far we have fallen.) Thanks too for pulling out the surprising fact that only 20% of his speeches are for personal income. I wonder how this stacks up against other former presidents?

Clinton is really a much more complex and fascinating figure than he's generally been portrayed in the media, isn't he? I suppose most famous people are -- but in his case there are real depths there.

Posted by: Steve on March 28, 2007 1:07 PM

You beat me to it, dearieme. It's called protection money. This time paid in advance

Posted by: ricpic on March 28, 2007 1:29 PM

"Its funny how so many on the left give him a pass for bombing the Serbs, but whine about Iraq, dismiss his dirty hands in the stock market mania, but complain about Haliburton, and so on."

Clinton managed to cobble together enough of an alliance to do that under UN auspices, for better or worse, and he was able to not invade and occupy the former Yugoslavia and get "bogged down," as they say, for the foreseeable future.

I don't know enough about the stock market issue you mention to comment on that.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 28, 2007 2:43 PM

The Karaoke Queen plans to vote for Hillary! God help me!

I am one of those people who voted for Bill Clinton and George Bush II. Mostly, I liked Bill. He was good for laughs, too. In that regard, he's got Bush beat by a mile.

Here's where I parted company with Bill... the blowjobs he got from Monica in the Oval Office. I'm not particularly against blowjobs... not even in the Oval Office. But, for those of you with a memory, Bill and Hillary were once proud leaders of the sexual harassment hysteria.

And, once again for those of you with a memory, back in the good old days of 1995 any type of sex between an authority figure and a subordinate in the office was sexual harassment. A subordinate cannot properly give informed consent! This was the party line.

This all changed once Bill was caught in the act. Where Bill, Hillary (and their supporters) were once ready to send any offenders away to prison, subject them to civil suit and strip them of a job, those same Clintonistas screamed that Bill's actions were just private sex acts and nobody's business.

So, this is the message I got. If the CEO of any firm behaves the way Bill behaves, he should be canned, sued and possibly imprisoned. Bill, who was by the way "our first black president," should go unpunished. And, those who wanted him punished were just members of the vast right wing conspiracy.

Needless to say, I am no longer willing to vote for a Clinton, particularly Hillary. Isn't she a lesbian, anyway?

I'm going to handcuff the Karaoke Queen to the oven on election day.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on March 28, 2007 2:56 PM

Clinton just had this incredible charm and fluency that made you forget for a moment that you didn't like him. I'd watch a speech or statement of his and afterwards I'd say to myself something like "Jesus Christ, that guy's smooth!"

For the record, liberals and leftists really disliked Clinton until the impeachment. The impeachment was just too ridiculous, and the impeachers just too crazy and lewd.

Serbia sure worked out a million times better than Iraq.

Posted by: John Emerson on March 28, 2007 3:01 PM

"I really like him, despite all his faults."

Yeah, minor faults like rapist.

Posted by: ricpic on March 28, 2007 3:06 PM

ST -- I took the Monica episode exactly the same way. I couldn't believe more wasn't made out of the fact that Bill 'n' Hill and their ilk were at the forefront of sexual correctness, and that suddenly, well, it was supposed to be not so bad to get blown by an intern in the Oval Office. Incidentally, I'm all for hanky-panky at work. (Work has been a lot more boring in the years since hanky panky began to be seriously frowned on.) Anyway, my own p-o-v on it is that we all owe Monica a great deal. Thanks to her, sexual correctness crashed in on itself, NOW disgraced itself, and lots of people wound up with egg (so to speak) on their faces (so to speak). Which was all to the good.

John -- You're right. I remember during the run-up to Clinton's first fight for the Presidency that my leftiest friends detested him. (They were all for Jerry Brown.) They thought his attempts to rein in the Dems was a betrayal of everything they cared about.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 28, 2007 3:16 PM

I don't know if I'd characterize the Lewinsky incident as sexual harassment, as the attraction appeared to be mutual. I think it's only harassment if the advances are unwanted. I'm not saying it was a smart thing to do, but it wasn't harassment.

As for leftists not liking him initially, well, Clinton was/is a centrist Dem, so of course he wasn't the first choice of the liberal Dems. But he was a Democratic president, and the fiasco that led up to the impeachment charges was ridiculous, so it's not surprising the lefties came to his defense.

This is what I love about the internet: timely topics of discussion! Too bad there isn't anything at all to discuss about the current administration.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 28, 2007 3:28 PM

Ah, Monica, charges of rape -- anyone want to bring up Vince Foster's murder? That Republican congressman shooting bullets into a watermelon in his backyard sure convinced me!

"Bill 'n Hill and their ilk"? That's a whole lot of lumping together you're doing there, Michael. Since you admit that most hard-core leftists despised them, I'm not sure who this "ilk" is that was in the "forefront" of a rigid sexual correctness. Bill himself obviously wasn't among them. He was an old-fashioned hound dog.

Like most Americans (60-70% of 'em according to polls -- including many leftists!), I thought the Bill's diddling with Monica was sleazy and inappropriate but the hysteria surrounding it and the way it sucked oxygen out of the political atmosphere were truly disgusting. And yet here we are again, almost a decade after the fact, post-9/11, post-Iraq, and some people still can't find it in themselves to be sensible about the whole thing.

Posted by: Steve on March 28, 2007 3:40 PM

Bill Clinton certainly is drawn with broad brushstrokes. A friend of mine worked as a waiter at a private fundraising party featuring Clinton. My friend said that Clinton made a special effort at the end of the evening to come over and introduce himself to the waitstaff, and was as funny and charming to them as to the big donors. However, on the same night, Clinton also couldn't resist making a few jokes about how sexy the 16 year old friend of the host's daughter was. A brilliant man, with incredibly poor impulse control.

Posted by: CyndiF on March 28, 2007 3:50 PM

The Karaoke Queen? I thought the Karaoke Queen was that anorexic waif, Nicole Richie. I'm so confused.

Posted by: ricpic on March 28, 2007 3:52 PM

Bill Clinton was the best Republican president since Eisenhower. He gave big business everything they wanted and turned the enormous Reagan-Bush debt into a surplus.

In addition to this remarkable fiscal conservatism, his use of military power abroad was limited and effective.

It's amazing how partisanship turns people into idiots, though they were probably already far down the path of idiocy anyway. If Clinton's name wasn't followed by the big "D", conservatives would have made him an even bigger fetish object than Reagan.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on March 28, 2007 3:57 PM

Steve -- A refresher. Quick quote: "Clinton's feminist apologists want a one-time exception for a president whom, despite reservations, they regard as supportive of their issues and who is under attack from conservatives."

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 28, 2007 4:01 PM

Well patriarch,

I'm not much of a political activist. I've even kind of lost interest in voting.

But, continued discussion of the Clinton era is a pretty ripe topic. Hillary is running for president.

Here's a short history of the impeachment mania:

One of Hillary's first jobs out of college was as counsel to the committee that impeached Richard Nixon. As a one time leftist, I'm going to say something that will get everybody angry. Nixon was the President who had the guts to actually pull U.S. forces out of Vietnam. He, in fact, followed the advice of the left, declared the war won, and pulled out U.S. forces. I'm not going to comment on his impeachment, except to say that Watergate was an incredible lapse in judgment, and an unnecessary one at that. George McGovern was not going to be elected.

So, there was an element of revenge in the Clinton impeachment, although from a legal standpoint Clinton had it coming. Commiting perjury before a federal grand jury should cause a president to be impeached. Clinton lost his license to practice law as a result. So, no, the commentors who think that Clinton's impeachment was just a politically motivated circus... well, you are wrong. It was a politically motivated circus, indeed, and Clinton also had to be impeached. The two are not mutually exclusive. If the impeachment had not occurred so close to the end of his term, I believe Congress would have convicted him. What else could they do?

And, this brings us to Hillary. Doesn't it? She is inextricably linked to the ethics failures of her husband.

As I tell the Karaoke Queen, I see Hillary collapsing in the primaries. Her very radical views in her youth will be fully exposed. She will have to ditch the West Village hags who adore her when she goes to Iowa, or she'll have to explain why such vile characters are in her entourage. And, I think she'll have to answer for why she's constantly kissing the butt of racial extortionists like Al Sharpton.

George Bush isn't running for president again. I think he's done a pretty good job, considering the circumstances. And, here's my prediction: Democrats, once in office, will have absolutely no choice but to deal with Iraq and Iran in precisely the same way Bush did. Democrats will, in fact, rue they day they inherited this problem, and probably wish they could hand it back to the Republicans.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on March 28, 2007 4:06 PM

Michael, thanks for the link, but it didn't really go to my point, which was that Clinton never presented *himself* as a paragon of sexual correctness pre-Lewinsky, despite your comment lumping him with others who did.

Hillary? I'm not sure, though I wouldn't put it past her.

ST: Funny that you should bring up Hillary's "radical" past, since it just came out that she tried to sign up with the Marines at age 27 but was too old. Check out this week's New Republic on her hawkish past.

And yeah, most Democrats I know already dread the massive post-Bush cleanup operation they face.

Posted by: Steve on March 28, 2007 4:33 PM

"Commiting perjury before a federal grand jury should cause a president to be impeached. Clinton lost his license to practice law as a result. So, no, the commentors who think that Clinton's impeachment was just a politically motivated circus... well, you are wrong. It was a politically motivated circus, indeed, and Clinton also had to be impeached."

I said the fiasco leading up to his impeachment was ridiculous. Remember, the entirety of the Starr report was finding out whether or not Clinton got a blowjob. End of story. I am still blown away (sorry, I couldn't resist) that millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours were wasted on that. But you're right, he did lie to a grand jury. On my better days, I believe he should have resigned, but most of the time, I stick to my belief that he should have never been subpoenaed in the first place.

That said, Hillary is not my choice for the Dem nomination. I don't mind her much, but I don't think she'd be an effective President. Your thoughts on Bush's performance I couldn't disagree with more, but hey, everyone's entitled, etc.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 28, 2007 4:40 PM

Steve -- But Clinton specialized in never-quite-spelling-out-what-he-stood-for, didn't he? Why would you expect Mr. "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" to be forthright about anything? I certainly wouldn't.

In any case, you never saw Bill or Hill take a stand against sexual correctness; Bill and Hill were quite happy to get cozy with the NOW set; they were quite glad for their support too; Bill made a big public point of appointing a lot of gals to high positions; the feminist establishment was thrilled with Bill and Hill; Hillary was happy to be portrayed as a dynamic new-style feminist woman; and Bill was happy to have her portrayed like that.

You can call all this indirect, but it seems to me how we judge what politicians stand for -- not by the slippery words they utter, but by who they associate with, whose support they accept, whose cause they serve, etc. Bill, Hill, and the feminist establishment were playing on the same team.

In any case, the result was that, when Bill was caught with his own pants down enjoying the on-site favors of an intern, the feminist establishment went into hilarious convulsions and contortions to justify their continued support.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 28, 2007 4:55 PM

Patriarch wrote (after BIOH):

"Its funny how so many on the left give him a pass for bombing the Serbs, but whine about Iraq, dismiss his dirty hands in the stock market mania, but complain about Haliburton, and so on."

Clinton managed to cobble together enough of an alliance to do that under UN auspices, [...]

Patriarch is wrong. Russia would have vetoed any aggression by the UN against Serbia, so Clinton skipped the UN and did it through NATO. The Commander of that invasion, Wes Clark, admitted when he ran for president that it was an illegal war, but still believed it was the right thing to do.

Posted by: James M. on March 28, 2007 5:58 PM

So Michael, first you claim that Clinton stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the most hysterical fringe of the sexual correctness brigade, now you claim that he was... well, a middle-of-the-road politician who courted a bunch of Democratic interest groups in his campaign to win the presidency. So which is it? "Hillary was happy to be portrayed as a dynamic new-style feminist woman; and Bill was happy to have her portrayed like that." Sure -- but that's a long way from the "forefront of sexual correctness." That's a long way from "happy to be portrayed as Andrea Dworkin." I wouldn't say they ever did that, despite your earlier claim.

After Reagan/Bush I, I think *mainstream* feminists were right to be happy with Bill and Hill, blowjobs or no. Most feminists I know were happy to support him policy-wise pre-Lewinsky and were (maybe slightly less) happy to continue to support him post-Lewinsky. But then, most feminists I know understand that sexual harrassment in the workplace is a big fat fuzzy gray area, and they weren't at all convinced that, as the patriarch points out, what happened with Lewinsky even qualified.

In other words, like most Americans, they understood that politicians aren't saints, and they rightly saw the hysterical right-wing moral crusaders who went after him as a bigger threat to feminism than one horny guy who couldn't keep his pants on.

Posted by: Steve on March 28, 2007 6:08 PM

"If Clinton's name wasn't followed by the big "D", conservatives would have made him an even bigger fetish object than Reagan."

I've been saying the same thing but in reverse about G.W. Bush, our most liberal president ever.

Posted by: PA on March 28, 2007 7:11 PM

I really do miss a President who can put two sentences together, no matter the political affiliation.

Yeah, he can put sentences together. But then you have to retain legal counsel to figure out the meaning of what he said. He got some things right, but he is essentially corrupt and dishonest and was an unserious president who fiddled while the jihadis plotted. (Not that Bush Sr. and Reagan had handled the Islamists well, but Clinton treated foreign policy generally as a nuisance and distraction from the important business of bolstering his domestic popularity.) The Republican Congress saved his presidency (and the economy) with the cap-gains tax cut of 1997, and with welfare reform the previous year. He abused power. He treated political opponents viciously, as if they were class enemies. And now he is raking in "speaking fees" from contributors to his wife's campaign. Imagine that.

The current president has many flaws, but when he says something it's perfectly clear and everyone understands it. The problem is that many people don't agree with him. But rather than dispute him on the merits they call him stupid. I hear he's using the IRS to audit George Soros and the Brookings Institution. Oh, wait. . .

Posted by: Jonathan on March 28, 2007 7:16 PM

Steve -- You have the most bewildering way of doing heroic battle with phantoms of your own creation. Who on earth mentioned lunatic fringes, let alone Andrea Dworkin? Not me.

Here's what I said: "Bill 'n' Hill and their ilk were at the forefront of sexual correctness." I don't know if you recall the early '90s, but Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas had just occurred, and lawyers were at every corporation making employees mutter about how flirting was being outlawed. It was a truly bizarro moment in recent cultural history, it was the beginning of the Clinton years, NOW and the other "mainstream" feminist groups couldn't have been happier, NOW and the major feminist groups were all for the Clintons, and that was all OK by the Clintons.

Sexual correctness may have its long-ago theoretical roots in the loonies of the fringe, but it's commonly understood to refer to a cultural moment in the early '90s. And by the early '90s the Democratic mainstream was all for it. Why else do you think that NOW and the other feminist organizations went into such self-disgracing paroxysms when it became clear that Bill had helped himself to some intern luv? It was because he was their guy. The feminists had put their trust and hopes in him and Hill and their administration.

Here's a fun little blast from that particular past: Susan Brownmiller trying to make a little sense of it all. Sample:

Nothing sickens me more than the specter of famous-name feminists jumping to the defense of President Clinton whenever a new story emerges about his sexual habits ... Let's face it: the amiable rake with the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am compulsions has shadow-boxed feminists into a corner. It's time for my sisters who sold their souls to the Democratic Party to fall on their swords and admit they've been mightily bamboozled, rather than pooh-pooh each fresh accusation.

The cost of defending our prez has become entirely too high. It's turned into a repudiation of everything we've said for years about rape and sexual harassment.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 28, 2007 7:27 PM

I still think its funny that Clinton continued to rob the Social Security Surplus, stood his Securities and Exchange Commission and the Fed down so that the fiasco could bomb investors out of 7 trillion dollars, conducted (thanks James M.!) an illegal war, and let Al Queda basically run amok, and all people can talk about is how they disliked his OO blowjobs and the fact that he put their work/sex lives in jeopardy. No wonder we have so many problems in this country today. Talk about missing the forest for the trees...

Posted by: BIOH on March 28, 2007 8:51 PM

I heard from Dick Morris that Clinton has recieved a million for his library and almost a million for two speeches in Dubai. Clinton has also been hired as some sort of money manager for the leader of i believe Dubai which could bring him hundreds of millions of dollars.

Dianne Feinstein resigned from a military construction committee that awarded billions in contracts to firms tied to her husband. Bob Dole is on the Dubai payroll. Sandy Berger represents Chinese firms. Tom Ridge went to work for the govt. of Albania. GOOD GAWD. CAN ANYONE tell me we are not being sold out.

We need a reformer with one of those big trucks that sucks massive sewage clogs out of pipes. This whole parade of political bastards should be pushed out of an airplane (with parachutes --- im still being civil) and left to fend for themselves in rural China.
How can American politicians be allowed to work for foreign govts? They won't be if I'm elected. No foreign or domestic lobbying for 10 years after serving in office. To avoid legal hassles demand all those running sign a pledge. Let's separate the public servants from the pigs.

king S.

Posted by: sN on March 28, 2007 9:27 PM

Michael, I'm just insisting on the plain meaning of what you write. When you say that "Bill 'n Hill and their ilk were at the forefront of sexual correctness," I have to disagree. I don't think Clinton ever put himself in that position. He knew he was a hound dog--everyone with half a brain knew he was a hound dog. But if you can point to a speech where he endorsed attempts to outlaw flirting in the workplace, I'll stand corrected.

You come off as more than little battle-scarred from the sex wars of the early '90s, and seem frantic to pin a whole bunch of the blame on Clinton. You keep projecting some of the more extreme attitudes of the NOW feminists onto him, or suggest that somehow he was to blame for those attitudes. Did a lot of NOW feminists support him? Sure -- so did a lot of peaceniks who were sorely disappointed when he went into Bosnia, and so did a lot of old-school liberals who were disappointed when he signed onto welfare reform. Lots of people ended up disappointed in his split-the-difference, middle-of-the-road style.

But lots of people, including many I would label feminists, saw him with clear eyes as a hound dog and clearly saw the larger danger in the lunatics who wanted to bring him down.

Posted by: Steve on March 28, 2007 11:38 PM

It's like one of those fantasy boxing match ups like Ali versus Joe Louis ... in this corner Billy Bubba Clinton, the Rhodes Scholar horn dog, wearing blue trunks with a suspicious stain; and, in the other corner Georgie B Junior (aka The Smirk), with a gentleman's C legacy slot degree, wearing blood red.

Billy Bubba, with the endless yipping and nipping of a Republican majority Congress and special prosecutor Starr whose seemingly endless series of dead ends finally paid off with the discovery of an under oath blowjob denial, helped restore normal political relations among the players in Ireland, had the Israelis and Palestinians engaged in fruitful dialog, brokered a reasonably successful international coalition to deal with the flare up of violent ethnic cleansing in the Balkans, made a less successful attempt to deal with the crisis in Somalia, and at least had a team dedicated to monitoring the whereabouts and activities of Osama bin Laden. The national budget had a surplus, but Wall Street grappled with the question of whether or not their exuberance was irrational.

Despite a technical knockout by his opponent in the first match, The Smirk was declared victor by the Supreme referees. Terrorism was put on the back burner, tax relief for the wealthy became a major priority ... along with putting the world on notice, now that the US was the one true super power, we were not going to bother with international laws or treaties unless we dictated ALL the terms. So long Kyoto, bye bye ABM non-proliferation, ta ta International War Crimes court. Caught short by the first major act of terrorism on our home turf Georgie B and Side Kick Dick rode a wave of justified anger and understandable desire for revenge to Afghanistan in search of Osama (whose trackers had been re-tasked after the election). Since they now had forces in the neighborhood, why not, once and for all, finish putting down our old attack dog Saddam. Heck, they knew Saddam had at least had a chemical weapons program because, back in George Senior's day, Dick had helped arrange supplying them. Of course, we didn't like that some of it got used on the Kurds instead of the Iranians, but all in all it was a good deal, wasn't it? Still, when your pit bull goes bad, you've gotta put him down, no big deal. I know Georgie B scoffed at "nation building" during the election, but it should only take a few months to whip Saddam's ass and then the grateful Iraqi's will rise up in gratitude and let the oil start flowing which will pay off in cheap fuel for us, right?

In short, when Democrats in high places give in to the temptations of power it seem most often to take the form of the personal peccadillo (the mistress of FDR, Kennedy's naughty exploits with Marilyn). Republicans go in more for subverting the democratic process at home and abroad (Watergate, Iran contra, Chile). I guess I'm just one of those guys who doesn't particularly care who gets an adulterous blow job, but do care when I'm sold bogus bills of goods to justify invading other countries.

Posted by: Chris White on March 29, 2007 9:36 AM

BIOH -- But how to resist talking about blowjobs?

sN -- You've got my vote. I look forward to that sewage-sucking truck you're gonna be driving.

Steve -- You're splitting hairs. The fact that the Clintons were in bed with NOW is more than enough, in my book, to justify saying that they (and the Dems generally) were at the forefront of sexual correctness. If that doesn't meet your standards, it's OK with me. But there's no point in making too much of it. I suspect that you're fond of Clinton and that you're offended if/when anyone is irreverent about him. Also OK with me, though I marvel a bit that after all this time (and after all Clinton's misadventures and humiliations) you haven't developed a tougher hide about it. I was a happily married guy in the early '90s, btw. I was amused and amazed by sexual correctness, as I am by much that goes on in this country. (By the way Paul Krugman carries on, for example.) But "battle-scarred"? Let alone angered? Not hardly.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on March 29, 2007 9:48 AM

"In short, when Democrats in high places give in to the temptations of power it seem most often to take the form of the personal peccadillo (the mistress of FDR, Kennedy's naughty exploits with Marilyn). Republicans go in more for subverting the democratic process at home and abroad (Watergate, Iran contra, Chile). I guess I'm just one of those guys who doesn't particularly care who gets an adulterous blow job, but do care when I'm sold bogus bills of goods to justify invading other countries."

I argue this point with my dad, a staunch Republican, all the time.

As for who gets credit/blame for the state of the US economy at any particular time, I don't think you can pin in on a President. I don't give Clinton all the credit for the 90s boom, nor do I put all the blame on Bush for the 2000 to present slow-down. It's way to complex for one person, even the President, to effect. Instead, I focus on policies that an administration is directly responsible for, and on scandals within the administration, and in my opinion, Clinton wins that one by a mile over Bush.

Posted by: the patriarch on March 29, 2007 10:32 AM

Is Mr. white talking about a cartoon?

Democrats and wars:

FDR & Truman --WWII, Korean War

JFK and Lyndon Johnson--Vietnam

Carter--organized recruitment of militant Islam to fight soviets in Afghanistan. This worked out well for us, hasn't it? Failed attempt at military operation to rescue American hostages in Iran.

Clinton--ignored militant Islam, illegal war on Serbs, alliance with islamicists in Bosnia. Failed police action in Somalia

Eisenhower--presided over war in Korea, pulled out troops after stalemate.

Nixon--inherited JFK and LBJ's Vietnam, pulled troops out when opposition to the war became too great domestically.

Ford--No conflicts.

Reagan--presided over no serious conflicts, but was instrumental in bankrupting the Soviet Union by forging deal with Middle East oil producers to keep oil prices low, denying soviets of much needed foreign trade money to finance arms race.

George Bush I--Presided over fall of Soviet empire. Forged coalition to to go to war against Iraq after Iraq invaded Kuwait. War lasted 100 hours. Almost no american casualties. Invaded Panama to depose Noriega, another quick and decisive action with almost no casualties.

George Bush II--forged small coalition with great international dissent to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan after 911 attacks in New York and Washington DC. Attack was most lethal on American soil since Pearl Harbor. In contrast to all other US conflicts post WWII, actually did involve a direct attack against american citizens. War won against Taliban ruling party in Aghansistan. Democratically elected government installed. Continued american presence to fortify native security forces, continued skirmishes against displaced islamic radical opposition. Declared victory in Iraq. Installation of democratic government. Capture and execution of murderous dictator Saddam Hussein. Continued heavy skirmishes and terrorist bombings by militant islamists against civilians and american and coalition troops. Threatens war on Iran after Iran refuses to stop nuclear weapons program, threatens Israel with nuclear annihilation, and democratically elected president denies Nazi Germany's Holocaust against Jews and other during WWII.

There you have it. A long list of democratic pecadillos and republican war-mongering, scandal, moral decandence, and incompetence.

Posted by: BIOH on March 29, 2007 10:55 AM

BIOH – Perhaps I did not make my point clearly.

My point was that since the mid-twentieth century the scandals arising during Democratic administrations tend toward the personal and often sexual, where Republicans more often tend towards illegal activities in the areas of assuming greater power.

"American Foreign Policy" is now, and always has been, a vast, often amorphous, thing. A given Congress or Administration makes decisions that have unintended as well as intended consequences that must be dealt with by those that follow them.

FDR can be credited (or blamed) for the U.S. entry into WW II, but following Pearl Harbor it was virtually inevitable. Truman went to Korea as part of the Cold War containment strategy. Eisenhower put U.S. military advisors in Viet Nam, offering our support to the Saigon regime in their postcolonial power struggle against the Hanoi regime, when the French decided it was a losing proposition (see containment strategy). And on and on it goes.

I'm happy to give Nixon plus points for re-opening diplomatic relations with China and for ending our military Viet Nam. I blame LBJ for the escalation in Viet Nam. We can discuss, whether we agree or not, the relative strategic risks and merits of various conflicts.

As a lifelong independent I am far from being a Democratic partisan. Still, I don't particularly care whether Clinton enjoyed oral sex and lied about it or whether George W. snorted a few lines before he was Born Again. I care when the U.S. becomes complicit supporting the contras contrary to the will of its citizens as expressed through the Congress; or when a CIA agent is revealed to punish a critic saying intelligence findings are being misused and manufactured to justify questionable military adventurism.

Posted by: Chris White on March 29, 2007 1:28 PM

I care when the U.S. becomes complicit supporting the contras contrary to the will of its citizens as expressed through the Congress; or when a CIA agent is revealed to punish a critic saying intelligence findings are being misused and manufactured to justify questionable military adventurism.

-WRT popular will, the president is elected too. President Reagan's support for the Contras was Constitutionally appropriate in his role as Commander in Chief. Otherwise he would have been impeached. Many members of Congress supported him. You may not agree with the policy outcome in this case, but there was nothing illegitimate about it.

-Plame's identity was leaked by State Dept. official Richard Armitage, a critic of the Bush administration.

Posted by: Jonathan on March 29, 2007 2:32 PM

Earlier this week, Mr. Clinton came to Colombia to address to an homage to or Nobel price winner Gabriel García Marquez. He made that at no charge, just because he is an admirer of the writer. People claps an cheers Mr Clinton. A very differente scenario two weeks ago when President Bush, came and people was rage and violent. Why? All seems that Mr. Clinton is a nice person, and people loves him, that's not to say Mr. Bush.

Posted by: Berracol on March 30, 2007 10:04 AM

Clinton's speaking fees don't bother me that much - he is after all a very good speaker, and the payments are over the table. But I noticed an interesting report recently: Al Gore said that he had $50M to spend on a Presidential campaign (suggesting net worth of about $100M). What has Gore done that he should have such wealth? My guess is that he has been getting lavish sweetheart investment deals from left-wing billionaires and others who saw him as a power broker to be cultivated.

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on March 30, 2007 3:41 PM

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