The existence of Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama proves one thing: the character of a single man can affect history. The “great man theory” of history is true: one man can change the world.
Not that Clinton, Bush or Obama are great men, although Obama, who’s only 46, may turn out to be, if he comes anywhere near walking all his pretty talk.
Let’s consider the characters of our former president, our current president, and our future president, and their effect on your life.
First, Bill Clinton.
Slick Willie. The biggest bullshitter of them all. Great personality, but very little character. Smart. Calculating. Desperate to be liked. And because of his empathy and charisma, very attractive to women, and being a Big Libido Dog, very willing to chase them down and bonk them. (You can be sure at this very moment Bill Clinton is bonking any number of women: probably a regular one near his home in Chappaqua, another regular one at work in Harlem, and a few regulars in the world's main cities, plus the groupies he picks up for one-night stands.)
And there you have it: we’ll remember his presidency for the fact that Monica Lewinsky fellated him in the White House. Funny that: when he became president, he could finally score an upper-class girlfriend, instead of the white-trash bimbos he nailed before.
Being smart and calculating, Slick Willie will also be remembered for cleaning up after Reagan and the elder Bush and leaving us with actual budget surpluses, helped by the internet making our economy more productive. He will also be remembered for stealing Republican ideas and unlike the Republicans, making them real — like shrinking government and reforming welfare, things Reagan talked about till he was blue in the face but never lifted a finger to fix.
But not being a very moral man, Bill Clinton will also be remembered for, along with the UN, doing nothing about the biggest tragedy of our time happening under his nose: the Rwanda genocide.
So he prevailed in the good times, and did not make them worse, except stand by idle while 800,000 Tsutsis got macheted by Hutus in the biggest genocide since Pol Pot offed his countrymen by having his minions put plastic bags over their heads (when they can’t afford bullets, mass murderers come up with all sorts of cheap solutions).
So, no legacy to speak of from Bill Clinton, because his character doesn’t go much deeper than being a good-old-boy bullshitter (heck, even the spectacularly incompetent Jimmy Carter can point to a legacy of having put human rights on our foreign policy agenda). The effect of Clinton’s character on your life? Negligible. The economy was OK. And the tabloids gave you equal parts dismay and laughs. Remember the semen on the dress? The cigar? The meaning of “is”? Bill’s wife, being less of a bullshitter, and more truly compassionate, would have made a better president than him, but she’s lost her chance.
Now consider the character of George Bush. The family-entitled Yalie MBA fratboy, who always had others cleaning up his business messes so they could suck up to his Dad, until the family black sheep became a dry-drunk, born-again Christian and Karl Rove made him governor of Texas and then president of the US, scotching the presidential chances of the one Bush heir who might have been an OK prez, poor Jeb.
Nitwit George did what he was put in to do, which was to cut the taxes of his rich friends, and then he sat around while Cheney ran the country, until the challenge of 9/11 came, and exposed the mediocrity of his character.
9/11 happened, and what did Bush tell a stunned nation? “Go shopping.”
We should have known then. Imagine the character of a man who says something like that — after 3,000 of his fellow citizens have been blown away. Just try to think what other men might have said if they were president during 9/11. Bush’s favorite philosopher, Jesus, for instance. Or Churchill. Or Mandela. Or even Al Gore, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama.
Surely something a little more inspiring than “go shopping.” Surely something a little deeper than “you’re either for us or against us.”
It was not only the character of Bush that let us down after 9/11, it was the character of the men chosen to surround him. First his Dad made the serious error of sticking Bush with his pal Cheney, who then went on to stick Bush with his pal Rumsfeld and a host of other ideologically pure but incompetent morons. And there you have what we got: an administration of dumbass MBA CEOs.
The problem with CEOs in politics is simple: CEOs in America are not responsible to anyone but themselves. They’re not responsible to their employees, their shareholders, their boards, the environment or anyone. They have the power to fire thousands and the freedom to screw up monumentally, yet walk away from their companies with golden parachutes. They are the most non-accountable humans on earth. Their job does not build character.