Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's all about him

There was a time when Americans valued "class" with a small "c." I'm not talking about economic "class" or social "class" but a genuine understanding that it's not all about me and the ability to congratulate a successful opponent with grace and dignity, understanding that there is a tomorrow and that in politics (and sports) today's adversary may be tomorrow’s ally or teammate. Among the classless moments of my memory are Nixon's "You won't have Nixon to kick around any more" and Roger Maris's comment after the Yankees lost to Pittsburg in the 1960 World Series: "Everyone knows we were best team. It's too bad we didn't win."

Right up there is Bill Clinton's Fred Thomasesque speech in Missouri Saturday night. It was all about Bill and not much about Hillary. The anchors at CNN and MSNBC didn't make that up. It was there on the screen.

There's empathy and there is pseudo-empathy. There is the empathy of one who truly feels your pain and the pseudo-empathy of a narcissist who adopts empathy as a mask for his or her self involvement. In Missouri, after Hillary's lost, Bill Clinton by talking about himself and his administration definitively defined himself. It was all about him. His empathy has all the sincerity of Mitt Romney's smile.

Maybe it's time that the Clintonistas started reviewing the great accomplishments of the Clinton administration. Was he better on the environment than Bush - by a million millions. Was he better on the economy: Clinton rode the Wall Street wave and left office just before the deluge. We also lost the Congress in 1992 and didn’t win it back until 14 years later in 2006.

NAFTA was his, remember? Not to denigrate his entire administration. To me, the most pressing issue for electing almost any Democrat will be, and remains, the reactionary packing of the Supreme Court. We lose this one and the Court may be gone for a generation.

In 2000 I played a minor role in helping Hillary get her the Sierra Club endorsement. I have no regrets. I wish her a long, long productive career in the United States Senate. I hope she will have one.

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