07 Apr 2008

Rich Clintons

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David Kahane, at National Review, has lots of fun with those Clinton tax returns.

By now we’ve all had a chance to take a gander at the Clintons’ tax returns, and all I can say is that I’m proud to be a Democrat. Not since that poor Irish immigrant, Richard “Boss” Croker,” left the humble employ of Tammany Hall and retired to his horse farm in Ireland to breed Derby winners has the Party of the Little Guy paid off so spectacularly for a lifetime of “public service.” Talk about a Little Tin Box!

In the old days — say, way back in 1989 — everybody went into full high-dudgeon mode when the Cowboy (no, not Bush; the other one) went to Asia post-presidency and made a couple of speeches for a coupla mil. From the reaction, you would have thought Reagan had just turned over national-security secrets to the Chinese or something. And then Ronnie went back to his ranch, got Alzheimer’s and died.

But the Clintons changed all that. Not only has the Big He made piles of loot for himself, the little woman, the queen of England, the pope in Rome, and their twelve best friends, he’s also kept his big red nose planted firmly in the face of the American people, carping here, criticizing there, meddling to the best of his abilities, all the while trying to get his erstwhile helpmeet elected president of the United States, of all things.

And how did he do it? By inventing something that people want to buy? By coming out of nowhere to write a bestseller or a hot spec script? By putting Microsoft out of business? No, he did it by getting himself twice elected president with less than 50 percent of the popular vote, hanging on tenaciously despite calls from across the country for his resignation during the Starr Inquisition, and basically daring Trent Lott and Chief Justice Rehnquist, in full Gilbert and Sullivan drag, to convict him after the House impeached him. That made him a celebrity, and in this day and age…just spell my name right, baby.

Not for Bubba was Harry Truman’s example, putting on his fedora and going home to Bess in Independence, Mo. Or Ike’s retiring to Gettysburg. Or even Tricky Dick, stalking the beach at San Clemente in a sweaty blue serge suit and muttering darkly about the Jews. Whether gadding about the Middle East, showboating with his buddy Ron Burkle on private jets, or barking and wagging his fingers at reporters in South Carolina, Billy Blythe, the pride of the old gangster mecca of Hot Springs, Ark., has redefined the notion of a kosher post-presidency.

Which is why, out here in post-strike Hollywood, we’re for Obama.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like we’ve changed our minds about Monicagate; if we had to do it again, we’d do it again. Because we weren’t defending Clinton, we were defending, well… us. Our right to do whatever we want whenever we want and suffer absolutely no adverse consequences. Hey — we’re the guys who hate guns and violence and make movies about serial killers and sadistic torturers, but don’t blame us if some impressionable wing-nut yahoo takes us up on our suggestions and starts hanging women from meat hooks. That’s what free speech is all about.

The thing that Clinton established was not, as his wife, Nurse Ratched, would have it, that the personal is political; it was that political is now personal. And thus none of your business: Caught with your pants down in the Oval Office? Personal! Hiring your boy toy for a state job for which he was manifestly unqualified? Personal! Making dubious wire-transfers to your hooker’s prostitution agency? Personal! Using campaign funds to squire mistresses and maybe bed them down in a classy motel on the Upper West Side?

Personal! Personal! Personal!

You can practically feel our contemptuous spittle on your nasty, bigoted, right-wing faces, can’t you?

Read the whole thing.

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