Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Slick Willy

Monday night I came home from taxiing son #2 to soccer practice, and I was feeling a bit under the weather.  So I plopped on the couch and watched a good chunk of the new PBS documentary on Bill Clinton.  That was just part one, and it was very interesting, so I plopped again the next night for a couple of hours and watched part two.  Quite the fascinating subject.

Perhaps some of the nostalgia for me is that Clinton was president during the years that I was becoming an adult.  My wife and I had just come back from living overseas for a year, and I suppose that makes you aware of politics in a different way.  We lived in "liberal" states and cities during those years while I was in graduate school.  We had our three children during the Clinton administration.

The documentary was very compelling.  I don't know enough about Clinton to judge how accurate the portrayal was, but it was interesting enough that our boys watched a good deal of it with us--and not just the parts about Clinton's sexscapades!  Clinton seemed to have a sort of charisma about it that draws you to him even if you don't like him.  He had an uncanny ability to roll with the punches and come out on top, or at least to survive when it seemed sure that he would fail.  Coming from a rotten childhood, he desperately wanted people to love him, and he convinced a lot of people to do so.  The reckless affairs (of which it seems that there were many more than ever reached the press) were a symptom of that, but so also was his political style.  He had a strong moral compass with regard to things like the government shutdown when Republicans wanted to massively cut entitlement programs, but he could completely separate off from that the immoral relationships with women.  He's the only president since WWII to have a budget surplus, and the only one since then to be impeached.  What a bundle of contradictions.  But they were some very entertaining contradictions!

I'm feeling better now, so no more TV for awhile.

No comments: