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Jan 24

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, January 24, 2008 9:16 AM 


So says John Gapper of the Financial Times. It's hard to decide what is more pathetic: "Davos Bill" as he "tarnishes," or this FT columnist bemoaning the dulling patina.

Noting the absence at Davos of Bill Clinton, "the quintessential Davos man"--the columnist clearly thinks being a Q.D.M. is a good thing--Gapper  writes:

Davos is a place ideally made for Mr Clinton in his post-presidential incarnation. He embodies the aspects of the US that are still admired by the rest of the world after nearly eight years of George W. Bush.

Oh, what "aspects" are those? And there's more than one such rest-of-the-world-admired "aspect"? Thank you, thank you!

He is eloquent, thoughtful, sensitive to inequality and suffering outside US borders and determined to do something about it.

Sheesh. Apparently, the poor Euro-rube buys Bill biting his lip as a sign of sensitivity and determination.

Just lately, however, Mr Clinton has been back on the campaign trail in the US in support of his wife Hillary. He has adopted tactics that, if he does not curb himself soon, may tarnish his global brand irreparably. That would be a shame, not only for him but also for the causes that he has placed his weight behind.

Poor Bill. Poor causes. Poor weight behind.

The Bill Clinton we have come to know, as Mrs Clinton has taken the political lead as a New York senator, is an elder statesman.

Bob Barker! Bob Barker!

Having seemingly placed the anger and humiliation of the late stages of his presidency behind him, he has travelled the world trying to improve life for millions of people.

Only millions?

Notice we're past specifics and deep into euphemism. Is is "anger" at having been discovered inflicting "humiliation" on the nation? Or "anger" at having been impeached, and experienced "humiliation" at having his low life revealed? Or "anger" over the "humiliation" of having to return pilfered White House furnishings?Or "anger' at the "humiliation" of having to sell out American secrets for Chinese cash ... Funny how none of the above (and more) has ever "tarnished" that  "global brand."

The main vehicle for his outreach is the Clinton Global Initiative, which holds its annual conference in New York. There, Mr Clinton cuts a benevolent figure. Glasses perched on the end of his nose, he reads out details of each organisation that is being given the stamp of approval and calls its leaders up on stage for a certificate and often a hug.

Oh, brother. 

While at the CGI this year, I accompanied the leaders of Camfed, an education charity that was the focus of FT’s Christmas appeal, to have a photo taken with Mr Clinton.

Lucky you.

He was, as usual, late but all of the organisations there indulged him: they thought a moment in his presence and a photo of the occasion was worth the tedious wait.

Oh, forever isn't too long!

This Bill Clinton is inspiring. This one said in a speech last July: “If you think we’re hard-wired for aggression and hatred and division, all the latest brain science shows ... we are capable of learning well into our 60s and 70s. The world doesn’t have to be the way it is. It can be otherwise if we imagine it and work for it.”

Someone should send Gapper the complete set of "Sesame Street."

But this Bill Clinton has not been seen since Barack Obama emerged as a serious threat to Mrs Clinton’s hopes of the presidency. Instead of a non-partisan philanthropist, US voters see a partisan operative getting red-faced with anger as he bitterly rails against Mr Obama for, in Mrs Clinton’s words, “raising false hopes” that the US can be otherwise.

Bill Clinton, a partisan operative???????????!!!!!!!?????? Horrors.

It goes on from there, but you get the idea. Here's a little more:

By laying into Mr Obama so cynically, Mr Clinton is trashing his own reputation for idealism....

If I were him--

Actually, it's "If I were he."  I thought continental types knew better.

--I would think long and hard about the risks he is taking with his no-holds-barred political attacks.

No-holds-barred political attacks--Bill Clinton???

Say it ain't so, Davos Bill.

Clearly, the "rest of the world" has a lot to learn.


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