Sunday, June 01, 2003

Boy Clinton

I have again taken up and started reading David Maraniss�s 1996 biography of Bill Clinton after leaving it somewhere during Clinton�s days at Yale Law School, where he mostly spent his college days being absent and effortlessly brilliant. I wonder though who got the better transcript of records: Bill or Hillary? Maraniss doesn�t tell. What he does tell was the marked contrast between the two with regard to style. Bill would prevaricate, be nice and conciliatory in discussions and debate while Hillary would aim for the bull�s eye and be matter-of-factly about it. The difference in style was especially evident when Bill and Hillary teamed up for a moot court competition, which, incidentally, they lost.

Reading Maraniss, one gets a glimpse of the young Clinton dreaming up his own presidency as early as during his undergraduate years at Georgetown, telling people he met that he would call on them someday to ask for their votes when he shoots for the White House. Oh, the presumption of youth! His friends, including Robert Reich (future labor secretary) whom he knew at Oxford as a fellow Rhodes scholar, had therefore this foretoken that the Boy Clinton, whose towering interest is government, is headed for something big. Could be as big as the Pennsylvania address, no one knew then for sure.

Politics, for Clinton, is �the only track I ever wanted to run on.� He could have married one of his many pretty girlfriends and yet he settled for the bespectacled and far from pulchritudinous Hillary, with talent and ambition equal, if not greater, than his own because her being a potential political star could significantly boost his chances to land the job he wanted in politics.

After reeling from his governorship re-election defeat, which made him the youngest ex-governor in American history, Clinton�s Machiavellian consultant Dick Morris conceived of the so-called �permanent campaign, � whose three basic tenets are:

� 1. �Means and ends, pragmatism and idealism, had to be �completely interwoven.� �When you lead in an idealistic direction, the most important thing to do is to be highly pragmatic about it. And when necessity forces upon you a problem of great pragmatism, you need to use idealism to find your way out of the thicket.�
� 2. Never rely on �free media.� Use paid media, commercials and grassroots mailings whenever you want to get your message to the public.
� 3. Use polling as a form of copy writing and as a way to organize your thoughts.

Now for future candidates among us that�s what I call free advise. I�ll write more on this growing Clinton business next time.