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August 19, 2005

The Despicable Bill Clinton

Chris Charuhas

Bill Clinton was the worst president in the history of the United States. He came in unprepared for the job, and then made a lot of god-awful decisions that seriously damaged our country. We'll all be reaping the rotten fruit of his incompetence for a very long time.

Like a lot of bad leaders, Bill Clinton had "issues" growing up. His father was a public paragon of manhood: accomplished, widely-respected, well-traveled, a soldier who served bravely during wartime. At home, though, things weren't so peachy: Dad Clinton wasn't around much while Bill was growing up.

In raising Bill, his tough, formidable mother picked up the slack. From her, Bill learned that achievement is paramount - you do whatever it takes to come out on top. Bill's mother also helped cultivate in him a strong sense of entitlement. In his rich, powerful Eastern Establishment family, political office was considered a birthright, and she let Bill know it.

When Bill's family moved down South, he still attended the best New England prep schools and prestige colleges. To build a persona independent of his patrician father, he "went native," and began speaking with a Southern accent adopted by none of his siblings. During prep school he pranced on the sidelines as a cheerleader instead of playing in the games, but this didn't stop him from affecting a rough-and-ready good ol' boy style.

After college, the Vietnam War loomed. Bill spoke in support of the war, but tried to stay out of it. When he scored badly on a military aptitude test, he allowed his father to pull strings that got him into a "safe" National Guard unit with no chance of being deployed. Even then, he took advantage of his privileged background and skipped out early to go to business school.

Bill failed miserably in his subsequent business career. With financing from his father's friends, he started a company. It lost a lot of money. As it was collapsing, some of his father's friends bought it, merged it with another company, and made Bill the CEO. Bill tanked the second company, too. As this second company went under, he used inside information to pull a mini-Enron, selling his stock before the company's imminent demise made the stock worthless. Family connections kept him out of jail.

Despite his dismal record as a businessman, family friends helped Bill buy a stake in a professional baseball team. This time around he found his groove. Rather than actually running the team, his job was something like that of a casino greeter. He went to games to shake hands and circulate among the fans, and at this he did well. He kept himself in the public eye, and used family connections to get a new stadium built.

At this point, an old associate of his father's, a political operative named James Carville, noticed that Bill had what he considered to be the makings of a good political candidate. What Bill lacked in judgment and management savvy he made up for with a lot of swagger, a big smile, and some charm. Mr. Carville took Bill under his wing and decided to get him elected governor.

During this campaign, Bill Clinton surprised everyone. "He was extremely disciplined," said an advisor in that campaign. "Carville gave him 10 index cards and said, 'This is what you are going to say.'" At all his campaign appearances, and even during debates, Bill repeated the index-card talking points over and over. This jackhammer-like message discipline, combined with some dirty tricks cooked up by Mr. Carville, got him elected.

But Messrs. Clinton and Carville had bigger plans: they wanted the presidency. After Bill served for five years as governor, they used his family connections to raise a ton of money for his presidential campaign. He bought a ranch that served well in photo ops to make him look like a work-hardened man of the people. Then he won his party's nomination and ran for president.

During the campaign, Governor Clinton trumpeted big education improvements in his state. However, these "improvements" were later found to be based on fraudulent reports. But facts didn't matter much in that campaign. The media were complacent and sloppy, and ran whatever stories Mr. Carville gave them. The other party was weak, divided, and ran a listless candidate. Most importantly, a third-party candidate siphoned off votes that would have ensured his opponent's election. Because of all these factors, Bill Clinton won the election.

Thus, a pampered, privileged cheerleader, a crummy businessman, a pusillanimous shirker, and white-collar shyster, became President of the United States.

Since World War II, our country has had presidents who fought bravely in combat (John Kennedy, George Bush Senior). Our presidents have been conquering generals (Dwight Eisenhower) and masters of the Senate (Lyndon Johnson). We've had Nobel Peace Prize winners (Jimmy Carter), and shrewd operators (Richard Nixon). Many of these presidents had unsavory aspects, such as JFK lying and paying off voters to win election, or Mr. Nixon's covering up White House crimes, but each had a long record of accomplishment.

With the election of Bill Clinton, our country launched an experiment. What would happen if the United States elected a president who wasn't very accomplished? What would occur if a mediocre man was elected to lead the world's sole superpower? What would ensue if the president wasn't a self-cultivated man, but a sheltered aristocrat? The experiment is still running, but so far the results aren't good.

Whoops. It looks like my word processor substituted "Bill Clinton" for "George Bush Junior," and "James Carville" for "Karl Rove." Sorry about that. It's just as well, I guess, because a lot of people won't hear a bad word said about the president, despite relentless evidence of his incompetence. It's good they get some exposure to the truth, even in the form of a bait-and-switch.

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