Monday, August 28, 2000

Week of 08/28/2000

Clinton’s Foolish Legacy Quest
- by David Matthews 2

Bill Clinton has got to be in full panic mode by now.

He’s got less than six months left in his presidency before he is officially relegated to political obscurity, but it seems like everyone wants him to be forgotten the moment he walked off the podium at the Democratic Convention. His wife is running for the US Senate. Vice President Al "I Keep Reinventing Myself" Gore, Clinton’s heir apparent, has supposedly taken over the Democratic Party and is wielding the banner that Bubba had held for so very long. The man who was once the center of attention for his party for the past eight years is now feeling more in common with the White House pets.

What IS a narcissist like Clinton supposed to do with six months?

Well, Clinton feels he can spend that time working on his "legacy."

Bill Clinton feels he can reinvent his "legacy" by creating world peace. He thought he could solve the problems between the Palestinians and the Israelis by having them over to do some marathon peace summit. Sorry folks, but as any college student would tell you, cramming for success doesn’t always work. You can’t get two sides who have hated each other for so very long to suddenly and completely switch to peace just to appease your timetable, even IF you happen to be Bill Clinton.

Failing to solve the problems in the Middle East, Clinton is now focusing his attentions to the African nations. Apparently he feels he can solve age-old conflicts between warring tribal nations, feed the starving, and solve the AIDS crisis over there by throwing still more of our taxpayer money.

Of course you can’t forget Clinton the Environmentalist. This is the side of Bubba that comes out whenever he feels he needs to appease the liberals. He does this by using (or abusing, depending on your perspective) executive orders to seize land in the western parts of the United States for the government as "national monuments".

Excuse me? A plain, ordinary stretch of forest can be considered a "monument"? When I hear the word "monument", I get the impression that there’s something unique about that object. Mount Rushmore, or the Grand Canyon, or the Great Stone Face in New Hampshire come to mind. Even the geysers at Yellowstone and the Petrified forests in California can fall under that category. However, I challenge anyone in the Clinton Regime to explain to me how plain, ordinary woods can earn the distinction of "monument."

Oh, wait a minute! I forgot, we’re talking about the Clinton Regime! These are the people who reinvent the English language more times than Al Gore reinvents himself.

Then there’s Clinton the Economist. That’s the side of Clinton that comes out to reassure people that the economy is good, so he can take credit for it. If we are to trust the Regime.. and they are about as legitimate as a three dollar bill.. then the whole economic world could never have continued, much less prospered, without Bill Clinton.

Hate to burst your bubble, Bubba, but you have had about as much influence on the prosperous economy as I have in picking this year’s Playmate of the Year. Yes, government can have an effect on the economy, but that largely comes from their ability to raise or lower taxes, offer tax breaks to businesses, or to increase or decrease the amount of regulations and laws imposed on society. You haven’t cut taxes, offered tax breaks to businesses, or cut down on the laws and regulations imposed on businesses. Instead, you’ve sent the Department of Justice to scrutinize the business world and to sue companies like Microsoft for being too successful for your own good, and imposed more laws and regulations designed to hamper the business world. Your people at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration even suggested they had the authority to regulate the environments of those who work from their own homes!

If anything, the economic success of the past few years has occurred in spite of the efforts of the Clinton Regime, not because of them.

Matter of fact, quite a few people have been skeptical of the claims that the economy is still moving at warp speed. They know that the companies have been laying people off right and left like it was the late 80’s again. Sure, the new economy has been creating new jobs, but that’s only staving off the inevitable. You can’t tell us that with rising gas prices, increased interest rates, a slowdown in new homes and durable goods, and steady layoffs that the economy is STILL progressing.

But Clinton the Economist has also come out when it comes to the federal budget. Now we’re expected to believe that Clinton is responsible for balancing the budget.

Oh really, Bubba? If you were so good, why didn’t you balance the federal budget in the first half of your first term, when your fellow Democrats were in control of the House and Senate? Why did it happen when Congress was under the control of the Republicans? You know, the people whom you claim were the ones who created the deficit in the first place.

Here’s the cold, hard truth, folks: The federal budget was balanced because of all of the taxes paid through the investments made in the highly volatile stock market. Win or lose, the people who played the stock market had to pay taxes on that money. The more that was invested, the more that was paid to Uncle Sam in the form of taxes. It had nothing to do with Bill Clinton! All he did was stand out there with his hands out to collect the tax money and try to take the credit.

No doubt Clinton has borrowed a page from Adolph Hitler’s book and believes that if you tell a lie enough times that people will begin to believe it.

Those are the images Bill Clinton thinks we should remember him for. That is what he believes his legacy should be. As a peacemaker, as an environmentalist, as a solution to the world’s problems, and as the savior to both America’s economy and to the federal budget.

Now let’s get brutally honest here… those things are NOT what Clinton’s legacy will be, no matter how hard his people try to spin it.

Legacies are made, not manufactured. They are what people leave us with, not something that is made for us. And quite often that legacy is not something positive, but rather something negative.

Richard Nixon would’ve want us to remember him for his visits to China and the former Soviet Union, and for ending the war in Vietnam. His legacy, however, is that of scandal and shame. Of a man who was nearly impeached by Congress for gross abuse of power. That’s what people will remember Nixon for. That is his legacy.

Jimmy Carter would want us to remember his role as a peacemaker, for bringing together the leaders of Israel and Egypt to help settle their differences. However, his legacy is that of double-digit inflation and double-digit unemployment, and a world arena that viewed the United States as a "paper tiger," unable even to mount a successful rescue mission for their own people being held hostage in some third-world Islamic nation called Iran. That’s Jimmy Carter’s legacy.

Ronald Reagan would want to be remembered for his get-tough attitudes with union leaders and with world leaders. A man who cut taxes and federal regulations. However, his legacy is that of Iran-Contra deals, corrupt cabinet members, higher federal deficits, and Nancy Reagan’s "Just Say No" rhetoric.

George Bush would want to be remembered for the victory in the Gulf War, but his legacy is that of a leader fiddling with talk of a "New World Order" while the economy suffered. Maybe presidents don’t have much influence over the economy, but they do take the heat when it looks like they’ve developed a "let them eat cake" attitude towards their voters.

And so, what would Bill Clinton’s legacy be when he leaves office come January 20th?

Well Bill Clinton will leave us with a pretty hefty legacy.. none of it of the kind that he would want to be remembered for.

Bill Clinton would go down in history as the second president ever impeached by Congress, and the first to ever do so for lying under oath. In fact, his legacy will be marked by the other sides of Bill that he would rather we forget about.

There’s Clinton the Liar. The president who got in front of the world and declared he did not have sexual relations with "that woman" and that those allegations were false. But then months later, as the proof of his lying began to surface, he would get in front of those cameras and admit to having such a relationship. That was but one of several lies he would be caught in, including his admitting that he really did have an affair with Gennifer Flowers in the 80’s.

Then there’s Clinton the Scolded Puppy. He brings that one out whenever he is reminded of being Clinton the Liar. Whenever people are reminded that he lied, he makes a BIG production out of how "sorry" he is. He’ll take his family to church, promptly hold a bible in his hand like he was Jimmy Swaggart, and drag a group of ministers to the White House so he could proclaim his penitence. And it seems like every time this side of Clinton comes out, he brings more and more ministers out. I’m surprised he hasn’t hopped on Air Force One and flown to the Vatican for a private confession with the pope already.

And then there’s Clinton the Hypocritical Liberal. This is the side of Clinton where his actions are not what he preaches. Like wanting his cabinet to "reflect America" when it actually comprised of "Friends of Bill". Or supposedly supporting women’s rights when allegations come out that he had an affair with an intern and groped a longtime Democratic supporter who came to him looking for work. Despite his claims of protecting civil rights, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union consider the Clinton Regime to be the most UN-constitutional body of government in American history because of the number of tyrannical laws and regulations proposed or enacted.

Those are the things Bill Clinton will be remembered for. That’s his legacy, and all of the spin doctors in the universe could not dilute that.

Nor can it be improved now. Everything Bill Clinton has done recently and will do until January will be suspect. Every time he opens his mouth, his motives will be questioned. Every stoke of the pen, every appearance he makes, every bill he signs or vetoes will be questioned. Is he doing it as part of his job, or just to build on his so-called "legacy"?

It would be best if Clinton simply rode out those last six months at the White House. Sit back, watch the world around him. Do just the tasks that are required of him as President of the United States, and leave the politics to others. But I guess that would be against his better nature, wouldn’t it?

Perhaps it is simply the nature of a narcissist like Bill Clinton to want to rewrite his own history. Mark Twain said it himself that "We do not deal much in fact when we are contemplating ourselves." However, engaging in a Quixote-like quest for legacy is a lot like trying to chase your own tail. You will never catch it, and if you do, all you’ll do is make an ass out of yourself.

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