President of the World

If you watch the same general news programming nightly that we do here at the imaginary think-tank Crack Whores for Good Government, you’ve seen the promos for the latest Chris Matthews joint, “President of the World,” a piece that looks like it’s going to be a flattering portrait of one William “J.J.” Jefferson Clinton.

It looks as if the special will tack toward focusing on Clinton’s post-presidency, which has, one must admit, elevated the art. Clinton works on global causes and strives to rise above meager politics on the ground, raising billions of dollars among NGOs annually.

As the current president might say, now, look. I adored the Clinton presidency, but I know that Clinton didn’t always do the right thing. And I’m not talking about the BJ; I could give a rat’s ass about that. I’m talking about “THE ERA OF BIG GOVERNMENT IS OVER.” I’m talking about signing DOMA. I’m talking about free trade agreements. And so on, and so on, and so forth.

You can argue all you like about the policies perpetrated by that administration. But. There is one thing with which you cannot argue: Bill Clinton Is Awesome.

I’ve shaken the man’s hand. True story. He spoke at an event I attended for my day job a few years ago. I got to sit in the front row. It was awesome. When our executives were up on stage yentering it up, you can bet that every word was prompted on a screen. When Clinton spoke, friends, the prompter went dark. He spoke off the top of his head. And it was genuinely extemporaneous. He spoke specifically to our industry. Specifically. With numbers and examples as to how it fit in to the grander scheme of things. He was not just brilliant. He was brilliance. And only the most jaded, un-objective partisan would have thought otherwise.

Of course, immediately after, one of the most outspoken Republigoats on our staff spoke up and suggested otherwise. Said Clinton didn’t really have anything new to say. Said it was a pretty mediocre speech.

It was as if we were in different cities.

We have just suffered through yet another salvo in the considerable effort being made to to deify, rehabilitate, and appropriate the history of one Ronald Reagan. A hell of a fuck of a lot of work has gone into that effort. And it’s been quite necessary. Reagan was certainly not nearly this beloved when he exited his post.

Bill Clinton’s story has not required such an effort. It doesn’t need it. Clinton is as awesome as they would like Reagan to have been. He doesn’t need the whitewashing. We don’t need to chant his name throughout presidential debates, and we do not need to attempt to name every building, street, mountain and light pole after him. He is just is that damned good.

And right wangers, like my friend there, they hate that. They despise it. They hate it so much that it makes their teeth clench and the hockey-dad vein in their foreheads bulge purple. Bill Clinton is awesome. And right wangers despise this fact.

And that makes me very happy.

“President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon” airs on MSNBC at 10 p.m. Monday, February 21.

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