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June 9, 2004

(archived broadcast )
Bill Clinton talks about his new book, “My Life.”

He talks about his life, American history, and American values.
With characteristic humility and largeness of spirit, he gives us cause for optimism.

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  • Mark Levine June 21, 2004 9:05 am

    Boy, that’s a backhanded compliment!
    But KJ, let’s look at the facts…the truth…since that what you and I both agree are important.
    I made the claim that Bill Clinton was more popular than Ronald Reagan in both President’s last month in office. That’s true. Reagan’s rating was 63% and Clinton’s was 66%. I did mention that Clinton was the most popular post-WWII President leaving office, excluding the two who died in office (FDR and JFK) and that Reagan was second.
    Your link confirms this. It says, “Reagan’s last two Gallup job approval ratings before he left office were 57% in mid-November and 63% in December 1988.” If you check the last Gallup rating for Clinton in office, it was 66%.
    Now, you may rightfully ask, why not use the “average” ratings of the President throughout their Presidency? On this scale, in the Gallup link, Clinton beats Reagan again! (55% to 53%) but loses to Bush Senior. Again Kennedy reigns supreme. Why does Clinton lose to Bush on this scale? Because during wartime, a President’s approval rating always goes up. Bush Senior was at 90% during the Gulf War. But that arbitrarily inflates the ratings. It’s hard to call Bush Senior a successful President when he was so soundly rejected by voters at the end of his Presidency. That’s why I think the rating at the end of the Presidency — late enough that a President’s full history can be judged but early enough that the misty memories of time don’t gloss over his legacy.
    You’ll see that when Clinton dies, there will be a much greater outpouring of love and affection and sadness than Reagan because Clinton, unlike Reagan (who is not my “enemy”) truly does care about the average American and he always did.
    President’s legacies always get better in the immediate few decades after the death.
    As for history, we’ll only know 50-100 years from now, but I’m confident that peace and prosperity will be considered far more important than marital indiscretion. After all, Kennedy and Martin Luther King are well loved today, despite their marital indiscretions.
    I am also confident that George W. Bush — who (1) took office illegally; (2) detests poor Americans; (3) blundered us into an unnecessary war; (4) ruined the economy with large deficits that will hurt us for years to come; (5) never led the nation but allowed his Vice President and political advisor to make all the important decisions; and (6) set a new standard for lies, secrecy, corporate corruption, and violating Americans’ basic Constitutional rights — will go down in history as one of the worst Presidents America ever had.

  • KJ June 21, 2004 1:25 am

    Mark, I so admire the zestfulness in which you relentlessly attack your perceived political adversaries; however, I caution that one gains the most creditbility when he/she speaks the truth whether or not it furthers his/her own cause. Don’t let your passions adversely impact your credibility…Reference your June 9th topic and compare your remarks to Gallup’s own report at Despite his political affiliation with what you consider the “enemy”, Reagan is and will continue to be regarded by the American public as one of the greatest Presidents of all times…History will not be kind to Clinton as his legacy will continue to have been spent on Monica’s dress. The truth hurts sometimes. You’re a brilliant mind; keep the embers burning! KJ

  • Gordon Again June 10, 2004 7:00 pm

    Like Gandhi said, “The end is inherent to the means.” Having leaders with charisma and limited personal integrity means being ruled by lesser Caesars. Perhaps Plato committed suicide because he realized the impossibility of having Philosopher-Kings to rule his Republic. When thinking of the norm of human imperfection, I think of Mark Twain, who said, “God made the monkey, because he was so disappointed in man.” Thanx Mark, for letting me be a devil’s advocate.

  • RikAtomika June 10, 2004 3:52 pm

    I have to add my frustration with liberals because they don’t settle for anything but perfection. If a candidate doesn’t stand for everyting they believe in exactly then they don’t except them. We liberals will never get anything accomplished if we don’t learn to accept imperfection. Clinton, Kennedy, Gahndi, King, not perfect, but they all did things that were good for society. We can change politics in America a little at a time, it’s more important that we move in the right direction. I really think that a persons imperfection make them human and distiguishes them from others and may even make them great.