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Tue

29

Jan

2008

Bonnie & Clyde - and Other Power Couples
Tuesday, 29 January 2008 23:50
by Stephen P. Pizzo

In recent days I've been reintroduced to "Clinton Fatigue." Remember Clinton Fatigue? Oh man, I sure do.

No, I'm not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the "vast right-wing conspiracy." On the contrary. Since 1968 I've been a proud — if often weary and disappointed — card-carrying member of the vast left-wing conspiracy.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me back up a few years and tell you about a long-forgotten memory that popped back into my head this week like a bad acid flashback.

About a dozen years ago I was staying a night at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. (Not on my nickel, mind you.  My publisher, HarperCollins, was picking up the tab as part of a book tour.)

Anyway it was morning and I left my room for the first talk show appointment of the day. I punched the "down" button for the elevator. A car was already heading down from a top floor and stopped to pick me up. Inside were just two people, a very burly guy in gray suit and an older, well-dressed woman.

Even before the doors closed it dawned on me that the woman was none other than the former First Lady of the Philippines — Imelda Marcos.



As the car resumed it's downward voyage I was suddenly consumed with the temptation to address Ms. Marcos with some kind of crack along the lines of;  "Good morning. Nice shoes!"

But I stifled myself after noticing that her very large, not smiling, bodyguard was already burning holes through me with his eyes. The coward in me prevailed over the smart-ass and kept my peace (and my teeth.)

When the doors opened into the lobby a small clutch of Filipino women had gathered to greet Ms. Marcos. They clapped and carried signs praising her. The rotund Ms. Marcos scurried past me towards them, her bejeweled hands outstretched, as she crooned, "Oh, my peeeeople, my peeeeople...."  (Visions of Miss Piggy danced before my eyes.)

As I get older and retreat ever further from my former work-a-day existence, memories like that pay unexpected dividends.  At the time they served as simple conversation pieces — as in, "You'll never guess who I shared an elevator with this morning."  But years later they end up as pieces of life's jigsaw without which my understanding of the big picture would be lacking.

And so it was that last week, as I watched and listened to the latest episodes of the newly revived Bill and Hillary Show, that my encounter with half of the former Ferdinand and Imelda act suddenly meshed with current events.

Don't fret. I'm not comparing the Clintons with the breathtaking corruption of the Marcos regime. Whatever you think of the Clinton's they're not crooks — at least not by current Republican standards. Instead the comparison hinges on what appears to be a sense of entitlement power-hungry couples like the Clintons, the Marcos and the Perons of the world develop once they get in office.

Not all power-couples fall victim to this syndrome, but when a couple does it appears to be incurable. They live and breathe to attain "their precious." Once they have it, they devise devious ways to keep it. When they lose it, they will do and say anything it takes to get it back.

I'm not the only one out here who worries about a Bill & Hillary 2008 revival tour:

"The Clinton camp knows what it’s doing, and its slimy maneuvers have been working. .. But the damage to Senator Obama has been real, and so have the benefits to Senator Clinton of these and other lowlife tactics." (NYT: Bob Herbert)

"Mrs. Clinton claims that her time in that role was an active one. (Bill) can hardly be expected to show less involvement when he returns to the scene of his time in power as the resident expert. He is not the kind to be a potted plant in the White House...Which raises an important matter. Do we really want a plural presidency? " (Garry Wills, a professor emeritus of history at Northwestern)

"Do Bill Clinton’s red-faced eruptions and fact-challenged rants enhance or diminish his wife as a woman and a candidate?...Absent from this debate is any sober recognition that a Hillary Clinton nomination, if it happens, will send the Democrats into the general election with a new and huge peril that may well dwarf the current wars over race, gender and who said what about Ronald Reagan." (Frank Rich)

Most of Bill’s tantrums were behind closed doors. But during Hillary’s presidential campaign, we’ve seen the real Bill boiling with rage... But don’t think that he can’t stage blowing his top when he thinks it will be strategically useful...Bill’s tantrums are causing the press to focus on him and not Hillary. That’s what he wants. No more questions about her experience, her ethics, her flip-flops. Now it's all about Bill. (Former Clinton advisor, Dick Morris)

I was so relieved to see the Clinton years come to an end. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as though I was happy with their replacements. Far from it. George W. Bush will almost surely go down in history as this country's worst president.

The Clinton's on the other hand, will likely go down as the nation's most annoying First Couple.

For eight years we had to wrestle with their unique spousal/political/interpersonal/ethical soap-opera dynamic. And it left me, and many other Democrats, exhausted. And not just exhausted by the spectacles, but by constantly having to defend the Clintons antics from the even sleazier sleaze balls on the right.

And now they're baaaack. And not just the Clintons are back, but the whole disgusting, time-wasting, name-calling, he-said, she-said, sick 1990's reality show of a soap opera.

The first "Clinton years" — the 1990s. were downright pastoral compared to the Mad Max world of jihad, peak oil and re-(or) de-pression that now loom just ahead of us. The last thing we need right now are the Duke and Duchess of Hazard back the White House — and all the distractions they tow along in their joint wakes.
 
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