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The President of the World: Bill Clinton

February 21st, 2011

Tonight at 10 pm, Chris Matthews’ documentary, The President of the World  will air.  This show displays the Clinton Phenomena.  The show will be fast-moving and details the respect the former president has from admirers all around the world.

Matthews will show how many people in other countries know more about Clinton than they do their own leaders.  Clinton has spent his time since the leaving office doing good things.  This show has high billing and will air tonight at 10 on MSNBC.

The Washington Post Style section previews the TV event:

Valentine’s Day was a week ago, but MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has belatedly gifted a particular former president with a mash note – strike that, a one-hour special called “President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon,” airing on the cable news channel Monday night.

Why? Because it’s Presidents’ Day. Also because it’s been a full decade since Clinton left office, embarking on an epic quest to remain at the forefront of the celebripoliticomedia hive mind. Or, as Matthews reminds us much more than once: He is Everywhere.

“Bill Clinton’s position in the world continues to grow. He’s part dignitary, part humanitarian, part politician, part international statesman, and somehow, greater than them all,” he intones.

One of the highlights tonight happened recently:

There is no doubt that Clinton has busied himself in worthy ways, especially when he heads toward disasters (wars, tsunamis, earthquakes, hostage crises) to raise relief funds or broker a solution. He loves the world and, as we see on many a tarmac and in convention halls and hotel lobbies hither and yon, the world still loves him. The best part of the special is the story of how two American reporters who were arrested and held in North Korea in 2009 reacted when he showed up to rescue them: The door opened, there stood Bill Clinton, and they collapsed into his arms, weeping with relief.

The show is without criticism.  Some of that criticism stems from the fact that Bill Clinton is not yet venerable.  He is too young.  There is little if any mention of his wife, Hillary, Secretary of State and former presidential candidate.  Finally, Matthews has been accused of just longing for the good ole Clinton Days. 

I am very guilty of that last statement, and without apology.

  1. e
    February 21st, 2011 at 09:08 | #1

    secretary general of the united nations, president of the universe, in his own mind

  2. February 21st, 2011 at 09:15 | #2

    And you are dismissing the opinion of millions of people around the world who have great admiration for our former president???

  3. e
    February 21st, 2011 at 10:03 | #3

    millions of people around the world think the sun revolves around the earth, millions of people around the world think 72 virgins await them in paradise if they kill infidels, it’s folly to shape one’s opinions based on what people think

  4. February 21st, 2011 at 10:12 | #4

    The only point is, many people in the world have a great deal of respect for Bill Clinton. You obviously aren’t one of them. Who gives a rat’s ass. (Rat’s ass is the phrase of the day.)

  5. e
    February 21st, 2011 at 10:23 | #5

    many people in the world think elvis walks the earth today. many people in the world think the u.s. government is financially solvent. many people in the world believe in an afterlife. question: how much respect does hillary have for slick willie? i guess we’ll never know. how much respect did slick willie show for the office of the presidency?

  6. February 21st, 2011 at 10:56 | #6

    The scary part…..and the devil will need a jacket when I say this….

    I miss the Clinton years……

    Darn, that pig just pooped on the roof of my car….. :)

  7. February 21st, 2011 at 11:04 | #7

    Quite a bit, actually. He did a great deal for the country.

    I expect Hillary has a lot of respect for him. She is still married to him. And what does it matter and why is it any of our business?

  8. February 21st, 2011 at 11:08 | #8

    “He did a great deal for the country.”

    I think that you and I will have to disagree about which word should be used. I would have put “to the country.” At least he was half-way competent as a President, unlike the current one.

    And no, I’m not talking about the Monica business. That was a sideshow.

  9. BoyThreeOne
    February 21st, 2011 at 13:35 | #9

    It sounds like the special will focus on Bill Clinton’s work through The Clinton Foundation, not his Presidency. I look forward to watching it. I am a supporter of the Clinton Foundation.

    As far as Hillary’s respect for Bill, I really can’t imagine a more mutually respectful public partnership. Some couples actually do have a strong enough bond to withstand, forgive and grow from each others transgressions, even in the face of the most obscene invasion of privacy and sanctimonious judgment of their common human mistakes. Keep throwing stones if that’s your way. Most people have done some self-reflecting and moved on long ago.

  10. Elena
    February 21st, 2011 at 14:14 | #10

    Yes, all that peace and prosperity, why would you, e, even disparage that ?

  11. e
    February 21st, 2011 at 16:15 | #11

    all that peace and prosperity was a gift handed to the country thanks to ronaldus magnus, margaret thatcher, and other like-minded mean coldhearted conservatives who helped tear down the evil empire and bequeathed to the country an interlude of peace after the cold war. perhaps if slick willie had kept his trousers up in the oval office and not pooh-poohed the nascent threat of bin laden et al, the twin towers would still be standing and iraq/afghanistan wars would never had materialized.
    as far as bill & hillary, three words: marraige of convenience

  12. BoyThreeOne
  13. Elena
    February 21st, 2011 at 22:39 | #13

    you know e, I love you, but your hatred of people like Bill Clinton just sounds petty and ignorant, I just don’t know how else to put it. In the 8 years that Bill Clinton was president, this country prospered. Did you hate that? Did you hate the intervention in Kosovo/Bosnia/Serbia that probably saved millions? Did you hate the balanced budget initiative? Do you hate the amazing work he has done since he left office? Do you hate the fact that George Bush senior and he have become amazing friends, in spite of their differences? Do you hate that Clinton can say ,although he may have a very different ideology from GW senior, at the core of the person, he is a decent human being. I am just sick of to death of all this visceral hatred.

    How dare you blame 9-11 on Bill Clinton. Did you blame the first world trade center on Bush Senior? Clinton tried to warn the congress of the growing threat but people like you were more interested in what his penis was doing then the serious issues facing this country.

    The only reason the republicans had the G-d damn time to investigate every stupid thing he did was because the country was in such good shape. Do you have amnesia when it come to Richard Clarke, you know, the man who knew more about bin laden than anyone being ignored by the new President Bush?

    Yes, hate Bill Clinton for creating an amazing organization like the Global Initiative, whose only goal is to help people help themselves. What have you personally done to help someone you’ve never met reach their dreams?

  14. Elena
    February 21st, 2011 at 22:40 | #14

    Cargo,
    Specifically what did Clinton DO to the country that was so horrible?

  15. February 22nd, 2011 at 00:36 | #15

    In addition to the various corruption scandals, including taking money from Red China and Indonesia, as campaign donations, and the Lewinsky scandal, he had other “bimbo” scandals. He lied under oath. He gutted the military budget; training cutbacks were the worst since the 70s. He allowed missile tech to be sold to China and revised the START treaty allowing Russia to sell missile tech to China, North Korea, Libya, and Iran without treaty safeguards. He pardoned criminals for money. His incompetent leadership, through his Defense Sec., in Somalia led to the events described in Black Hawk Down. 900 IRS files. Inaction on Bin Laden when he was offered to the US. No reason for US to get involved in the Balkans – European deal.

    And that’s just a GENERAL summary of all the things that went wrong.

    The economy was nice. He was smart enough to leave the Reagan boom alone, and luckily, his attempt to screw with the medical industry failed, and was fortunate to be in office when Silicon Valley started its rise.

    And even with all the bad things that happened under him, I still feel that he was a safer President.

  16. February 22nd, 2011 at 00:48 | #16

    In a nutshell, I believe that the economy under President Clinton thrived despite his presidency, not because of it. He did a lot of stupid things there too, of which we are still feeling the effects. If Obama had been President back then, he would have tried to figure out a way to kill the computer boom because it would use too much electrical power.

    And even though Clinton was a weak President, he still supported America and its image. He weakened America through his culpability but I don’t feel he was trying to weaken America on purpose. I don’t have that luxury with President Obama.

    • February 22nd, 2011 at 01:55 | #17

      A weak president? Where were you then? Underwater on a submarine? Weak, he was no. No one with that mojo is weak.

  17. Elena
    February 22nd, 2011 at 09:43 | #18

    Interesting Cargo, so I guess feel the same about Reagan and the thriving economy under his presidency, must have been because of the democrats in control.

  18. Elena
    February 22nd, 2011 at 09:45 | #19

    Are you upset that the Reagan adminstration trained Osama Bin Laden to fight the Russians in Afganastan? Would you blame American for Osama Bin Laden? I sure hope not.

  19. February 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 | #20

    Actually, Reagan started the thriving economy. He was digging out from Carter’s collapse and rebuilding the military. And the Democrats WERE in control of Congress.

    And from my studies and things I learned while in the military….Reagan supplied the mujaheddin. Osama wasn’t actually part of the groups we supplied. He hated Americans even back then. Americans entering his control area tended to be shot. Did he get supplies from Afghanis connected to us? Probably. Did the muj get training? No. They didn’t need it, except for learning how to use Stingers.

    This idea that Reagan and the US trained Bin Laden is incorrect. We supplied arms to the theater. The Afganis were already accomplished guerrillas. Our mistake was to leave the further power vacuum after the fall of the Soviet puppet without our influence. The Northern Alliance and the Taliban were the two factions and continued to fight. Osama was an ally of the Taliban. The Alliance was losing until we invaded. Most of the American allied anti-Soviets were in the Northern Alliance.

    Lets put it this way. In another point of view…. Osama against the Soviets is like Stalin against the Nazis. You use the army that you have. Again, our mistake was leaving it all alone afterwards.

  20. February 22nd, 2011 at 12:12 | #21

    @Moon-howler
    What mojo would that be? His military declined. He was ineffective in Somalia and Iraq. His greatest success was when he cooperated with the GOP. His admin was filled with scandals. His FBI/ATF was filled with scandals. He got good press because the press supported him and his party. Not as much as the press supports THIS president, but it was in the tank for Clinton.

    He’s likable. He has a golden tongue. He’s NOT an ideologue. That is his strength. He has an agenda and a political philosophy, but does not try to ram it through. He was an opportunist. Anything that made him look good…he would do. That, and make him money. His greatest success was the Israel-Palestine Peace talks. I don’t consider its failure to be his fault.

  21. Elena
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:48 | #22

    Hmmm, so recession that Clinton inherited and subsequent recovery was NOT due to his leadership. NOW this is an interesting phenomena. When a Republican is in office, i.e. Reagan, a thriving recovery is due to his leadership, when a Dem is in office, a thriving recovery is still due to the republicans?

  22. Elena
    February 22nd, 2011 at 12:58 | #23

    If we don’t acknowledge our mistake so of the past, we are doomded to repeat them.

    http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/afghanistan-history.cfm

    Oct. 5, 2001 Printer-Friendly Version

    In his statements and speeches since Sept. 11, U.S. President George W. Bush has been careful to distinguish the members of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization and the Taliban, from the people of Afghanistan and Muslims of the world.

    Still, with military action in Afghanistan expected soon, it is necessary to look hard at Afghanistan’s past two decades of turmoil and seek to learn lessons from that past. And while there are many factors leading to the dismal situation of Afghanistan today, it also is the case that missteps in U.S. foreign policy are, in part, to blame. U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, Russia and the region during the 1980s helped, at least indirectly, nurture the growth of anti-American and fundamentalist forces now controlling Kabul, and indeed, even some of the terrorists now being sought by the United States for the Sept. 11 attacks against New York and Washington. In planning for intervention in Afghanistan now, the Bush administration must work hard to avoid the mistakes of the past.

    U.S Covert Operations in the Afghanistan War

    With the 1979 invasion of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, the war between anti-communist rebel forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government was well underway. The number of Soviet troops in Afghanistan reached 100,000 by early 1980. Anti-communist guerrilla forces, jointly called the mujahidin (Islamic warriors), actively fought both the Soviet troops and the pro-Soviet Afghan government led by President Babrak Karmal.

    From the Soviet invasion onward, the United States sought ways to back the anti-Soviet forces. By 1983, the CIA was purchasing assault rifles, grenade launchers, mines, and SA-7 light antiaircraft weapons, totaling 10,000 tons, mainly from China. The Reagan administration had them shipped to Pakistan, a country that at the time was working closely with Washington.

    Then, in a move that marked a turning point in the relentless war, in 1985, President Ronald Reagan made a secret decision to escalate covert support to the mujahidin. Soon after, the CIA began to supply an extensive array of intelligence, military expertise and advanced weapons to the Muslim rebel forces. They included satellite reconnaissance data of Soviet targets in Afghanistan; Soviet plans for military operations based on satellite intelligence and intercepts of Soviet communications; covert communication technology for the rebels; detonating devices for tons of C-4 explosives for urban targets; long-range sniper rifles; a targeting system linked to a U.S. Navy satellite; and wire-guided anti-tank missiles.1 Furthermore, amidst intensifying debate within the CIA over the extent of U.S. involvement in the war, Reagan made the decision to equip the mujahidin with sophisticated U.S.-made Stinger antiaircraft missiles. American-trained Pakistani officers were sent to Afghanistan to set up a secret mujahidin Stinger training facility, which was complete with a U.S.-made electronic simulator. By 1987, the CIA was sending a steady supply of 65,000 tons of arms to the mujahidin.

    Backfiring of U.S. Policy

    Then emerged the Taliban. They came together in Pakistan in late 1994 as a militia of Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist students. These students had received training in Pakistan’s religious schools attended by refugee men who had formerly fought as the CIA-backed mujahidin. Indeed, a man who played a significant role in the advent and growth of the Taliban movement was Mullah Mohammed Omar, the current chief of the Taliban and former fighter under a CIA-trained commander. Garnering power and support during a peak of political fractiousness, the Taliban captured Kabul in 1996, declaring themselves the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

    They appealed to many Afghans with their promises of peaceful rule. As a result, some of the people trained under CIA command in the 1980s turned into loyal fighters for the Taliban. Armed and inflamed by religious zeal, the Taliban spread throughout Afghanistan declaring to end the civil war, corruption and lawlessness. As they rose in popularity among other Pashtun Afghans, they also intensified in violence that displayed their Islamic extremism. The training grounds that the CIA maintained and operated during the anti-Soviet war soon became camps and safe havens for militant terrorists, among whom was Osama bin Laden. Indeed, when the U.S. launched cruise missile attacks at a camp near Khost in 1998, it was discovered that the training camps were being occupied by Pakistani military intelligence to train the Harakat-ul-Ansar, an Islamic guerrilla organization identified as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department.

  23. February 22nd, 2011 at 13:15 | #24

    @Elena
    I didn’t say that. I said that Clinton was smart enough to leave the economy alone, except for his attempt to control the medical industry. Reagan started the boom. However, during his terms, there were growing pains. Clinton was able to keep the boom going. And he WAS lucky in being in office during the Silicon boom. Bush 41 almost killed it the boom.

    There was a short recession that ended in the middle of 1991. There was no recession during Clinton years according to Wiki.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States.

    However, according to THIS Wiki, a recession started under Clinton in 2000.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_2000s_recession

    Either way, it was short and without 9/11, probably would not have taken hold. Both sources argue reasonably about the start of the recession. The second one actually shows the reasoning.

  24. e
    February 22nd, 2011 at 16:43 | #25

    and fdr saved stalin’s butt, what’s the point? you make the best of what you got

  25. February 22nd, 2011 at 18:53 | #26

    My #24 is in moderation. Don’t know why. Only two links.

    @Elena
    Absolutely. And even that piece shows that Osama came later. Those Stinger training camps did become safe havens for terrorists because of the power vacuum we left when we did not follow up.

    And that’s why we have to be serious about staying to finish any job we start with our military. Because once we leave…SOMEONE will fill that vacuum.

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