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Say Good Night, Bill

Say Good Night, Bill

He wasn't on the ballot, but last week's Republican victory was a kick in the pants for Bill Clinton

By Margaret Carlson
Say Good Night, Bill

He wasn't on the ballot, but last week's Republican victory was a kick in the pants for Bill Clinton

By Margaret Carlson

Posted Sunday, Nov 10, 2002; 10:31 a.m. EST
A lot has been made of George Bush's victory last week. But while controlling the White House and both houses of Congress is impressive, there was an additional triumph to savor: driving a stake through the Clinton era. Although he wasn't running, Bill Clinton was a major presence, raising funds, campaigning for candidates and generally trying to help his party regain its mojo. Tuesday's vote was a repudiation of his efforts. What's more, last week's rout may well quiet critics who continue to suggest that with help from his brother and the Supreme Court, Bush had stolen the 2000 election from Al Gore. This is Bush Country now.

Clinton compounded his problems at the infamous memorial service for Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. There he was, his face blown up on the Jumbotron, cheering and swaying as if he were at Woodstock IV, showing no disapproval then or later over the booing of Republican Senator Trent Lott, who had come to pay his respects. If Jesse Ventura, the ex-wrestler, can credibly take offense and, with impunity, order flags flying at half-mast to be raised early, you know it was unsavory. Here's how Congressman Tom Davis, chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee, summed it up: "Nothing gets Republican voters more hyped up than seeing President Clinton on the tube ... it got our base ginned up."

Coattails? Not on Bill. During the primaries, association with Clinton proved toxic. Three of his former Cabinet members lost. His intervention to help shore up black support for his wife in the New York State primary by getting his former Cabinet Secretary, Andrew Cuomo, out of the race led to one of the most impressive losses of the election. Comptroller Carl McCall lost to Governor George Pataki by 16 percentage points. In North Carolina, former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles wouldn't even let the former Chief Executive visit. Where Clinton did go, candidates like Maryland's Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Massachusetts' Shannon O'Brien lost. In Florida, where Clinton went to help Bill McBride, who was still within striking distance of Governor Jeb Bush, the ex-President failed decisively to get out the vote. Turnout actually dropped 17% from 1994, the last Democratic gubernatorial win.

Clinton wasn't, of course, the primary reason the Democrats lost, but there's no reason to think he would accept responsibility if he were. At a postelection dinner in his Harlem office, Clinton, his voice hoarse after three red-eye flights, said only that you can't beat a party with a message with a party without one, ignoring the fact that he is the master of blurring the differences, of shaking down the same wealthy donors as the opposition in exchange for a similar nonthreatening agenda.

A parallel shift in the culture suggests that Clinton-era values are no longer America's. Though a baby boomer, Bush rejects the instant-gratification ethic embraced by Clinton, the nation's first baby boomer President. Bush went from party-hearty frat boy to hard liquor­drinking Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (until he shaped up in his 40s) without stopping to dabble in the counterculture or go anywhere in a VW bus. He often laments not being one of the Greatest Generation he so admires (although he was no more up front about not going to Vietnam than was Clinton). Whereas Clinton liked going on MTV with 18-year-olds, Bush urges them and their parents to return to an "era of responsibility."

Clinton revered CEOs; they now appear regularly in televised perp walks. Clinton loved Hollywood; celebrities like Barbra Streisand had his ear and an invitation to the Lincoln Bedroom. Bush doesn't have movie stars over; he's in bed with Laura by 9:30. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the one politician to survive the association with Bill, although at a high personal price. If she decides to run for President, she may want to change her name yet again and become a Rodham once and for all.
peggy gets it. 15.Nov.2002 11:29


wow, this is the first time she has been honest in a long time..


Typical Mainstream Trivia Slander 16.Nov.2002 02:23

Sally Dip

We had more than enough of this type of dribble for eight
years. The press was exemplified by this type of
obsession with Clinton. As if he is the embodiment of weak
character - when it was the press's foolish obsession which
mired the country in so much Watergate and personal, un-
important private juicy sagas, when concentration should
have been economy and world affairs. Americans fell prey
to the media campaign, and weakened their ability to resist
the present media war campaign. Media 'anaylists' such as
Margaret Carlson are part of the problem we are now facing
because they shirked their duties of being critical, serious
probers of the government, and instead chose to jump on
the porn bandwagon until the country had torn Clinton to
shreds - and itself along with it. Now we have a president
who lies not to protect his family life, but to help destroy
a whole peoples, and the world, and Margaret Carlson is
still harping on Clinton. It is obscene - and pathetic.

name one bush lie? 16.Nov.2002 06:54

truth detector..

name one bush lie?

now name one clinton truth...


What Planet is FWR from? 16.Nov.2002 14:18


I suppose you believe all those poor Iraqis are the boogey
man and if Bush said they are evil and are threatening
Americans then it must be true. You would believe there
is a Santa Claus if Bush said so too, wouldn't you.
You exemplify the gullibility of Americans to the corporate
press - and, I may add, the ultimate stupidity. You have
a chance to learn something from independent websites,
or are you too far gone to learn anything at all...

you too far gone 16.Nov.2002 20:40

my work is almost done... :-)

I never said the Iraqis were bad, just oppressed by a complete bastard, and nobody will be happier than them when Hussein's compound recieves a direct hit from a nuclear tipped bunker buster.. (don't worry, its has very small yield, and won't contaminate much)

They will dance, like the Afghans did after the taliban got routed...

Hussein will fight hard when he is cornered but that is expected..

So sit tight, it won't be long now...