Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bill Clinton Watch

Which one will show up, the starry-eyed boy in the photograph reaching out to shake JFK's hand or the LBJ lookalike of later years, all guile, ego and appetite?

Tonight will punctuate the quarter of a century we have lived with the many Bill Clintons--the centrist with ideals, the "it's the economy, stupid" realist, the target of right-wing hatred, the self-destructive skirt chaser who tarnished his presidency, humiliated his wife and would do anything to give her the Oval Office as a consolation prize.

The advance word is unsettling--jockeying over what the topic of his speech should be and reports that he will leave town before tomorrow night's stadium acceptance speech.

But of all today's political figures, Bill Clinton of Hope, Arkansas who grew up without a father and created himself out of brains, charm and ambition should understand Barack Obama of Hawaii who did the same a generation later.

The expectation is that Bill Clinton's bruised ego will be more on display tonight than his gift for empathy. Is it too much to hope that the JFK-inspired boy in him will emerge to join today's Kennedys, young and old, to pass the torch without burning down the building?

It would bring him full circle to where he started and hoped to end.

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