Clinton’s last hurrah

By Josh Albrecht

Assistant Campus Editor

Seeing Bill Clinton go is like seeing the last piece of pecan pie being swallowed up.

Sure, your stomach yearns to explode and you know that one more bite might be your last, but for some reason, you still want more. And that is when you open up the pumpkin pie and continue on with merry delight.

Except with the last few days of Clinton’s term winding down, there is no pumpkin pie in sight; not even the generic apple pie, which is equivalent to Al Gore, can step up to fulfill the hunger.

Instead, we are left with George W. Bush (Dare I even give him credit to be as cool as pie — well, possibly minced meat).

So, let us not forget how much fun it was with good old “Wild Bill” at the helm.

It all began in November 1992, and for me it was about Feb. 8 of that same year. On that fateful day I predicted a Clinton victory, and then on Oct. 29, in an effort to persuade my brother more than MTV ever could, I bought a pink, bubble gum cigar that said “Vote for Clinton” on it.

At the time, I was only 12 and didn’t understand the term foreshadowing, but now I like to think that I foreshadowed the whole cigar-Lewinsky matter. And so it came to pass that Clinton defeated the senior Bush and began his term.

From that moment on, it seemed like Clinton was the world’s buddy. In a recap of the Clinton administration in the Chicago Tribune, Naftali Bendavid wrote that Clinton “created the intimate presidency” and perfected the art of “looking and sounding like everyone’s neighbor or friend.”

He is Doctor Cool. He is the Steve McQueen of today.

He remains the only president that I know of who could not only go on the Arsenio Hall Show, but be the musical guest as well when he blew out a few notes on the saxophone. And by not “inhaling” we knew that he meant, “I just let the smoke go wherever, and if it ended up in my lungs — well, that’s not my fault.” You have got to hand it to President Clinton — he was smooth.

Plus, he successfully deflected Paula Jones, Whitewater and the Lewinsky mess. Sure, he was impeached (only the second president in history), but the American people didn’t care, and neither did the Senate. In fact, during the impeachment process, he had about a 70 percent approval rating according to Gallup polls. And now, at the end of his two terms, Clinton’s approval rating is well above 60 percent.

So, how did Clinton become such a highly approved president? Well, despite being cool and his uncanny ability to dodge scandals, he did accomplish a lot for the United States. The economy jumped aboard a locomotive and took off as if Casey Jones were the engineer. He battled Newt Gingrich to a number of “no holds barred” matches, signed the “three strikes” crime bill, brought minimum wage up, signed the Telecommunications Act, helped the war in Kosovo and the list goes on and on.

Clinton was Doctor Cool when it came to foreign relations, as well. He visited Vietnam, helped get the Good Friday Peace Accords in Northern Ireland and at least attempted to bring peace to the Middle East.

But after all that, the one moment that sealed Bill Clinton as Doctor Cool for me was when I was a witness to the WWII Memorial ground breaking ceremony in Washington, D.C., this past Veterans Day. On a day filled with celebrity guests and hot-shot politicians, Clinton was the only one who sat on the stage with sunglasses on. Hip, stylish and very Corey Haim.

Clinton’s impact on entertainment gripped many late night TV audiences. Who can forget Phil Hartman’s impersonations on Saturday Night Live or the “Yee hah” Clinton who visited Conan O’Brien on a weekly basis? The book and movie “Primary Colors,” which dictated a Clintonesque run for the presidency, were both big hits. But most of all, the American public was granted what seemed to be non-stop media coverage of Doctor Cool. The best soap opera on television was not “All My Children” but the “Clinton White House.”

So, we have to look to the future and wonder if Clinton will ever reemerge at the White House. I thought for sure he would talk Gore into letting him be his Vice Presidential nominee, but one hope still remains. If by some chance Hillary Clinton runs for the presidency and wins, then Doctor Cool would be back. And who better to be the first, first gentleman of the United States?