Oh where, oh where can my legacy be?

Posted: Jan 04, 2002 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Poor Bill Clinton. He is out of office, out of the limelight and, according to recent press reports, it's driving him out of his mind. The restless reprobate no longer has a staff of thousands, a harem of interns or an arsenal of cruise missiles to attract front-page coverage in America's newspapers. Rumors are that Prince Bill's $100,000-a-pop speech bookings are down like the Dow and he's been relegated to sulking in his taxpayer-funded Harlem hideaway, writing his memoirs and vainly hoping to be consulted by his party's faithful on matters of import. Meanwhile, he's out of the loop in charting the course for his party's future, and so few Democrat politicians pay homage these days that he has to summon them forth when he wants somebody to talk to -- especially now that he has been deprived of his companion, Buddy the Dog. The lack of attention is such a problem for "Mister Me" that a week before Christmas, Clinton summoned a group of "aides and advisors" to the Big Apple -- and charged them to "remind the public of his accomplishments and defend his legacy." According to The New York Times, many came when called and others joined by telephone for this "Legacy Summit." One Clinton advisor told the Times: "We had to develop a center of gravity. We have to remind people of what we did on the economy, what we did with the crime bill and what we did with terrorism." The Gray Lady was kind enough not to point out that if any of these were such great accomplishments, the nation would not need to be reminded of them. Sandy Berger, Clinton's former national security advisor, was thinking of his own legacy when he told the "Newspaper of Record," "I feel very uncomfortable talking about these meetings." That's reasonable. Who wouldn't feel "uncomfortable" about having served as national security advisor in the Clinton administration? Not all those who attended the unprecedented "Legacy Quest" were as reticent. Former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater said, "It was to recognize that we were part of something special." Now there's an understatement. The Clinton "team" was certainly special -- and their "accomplishments" spring instantly to mind -- along with their promise for the "most ethical administration in history!" Right out of the block there was "Nanny-gate," Joycelyn Elders, gays in the military, "File-gate," Whitewater and the Travel Office fiasco. We were treated to flames in Waco, nationalized medical care, stolen nuclear secrets, humiliation in Haiti, a Massacre in Mogadishu, blue berets for U.S. troops and tens of thousands of our soldiers basking in the Balkans. They put Buddhist temples on the map, piles of Communist Chinese cash in brown paper sacks and gave us that great game, "coffee, tea or illegal campaign contributions?" And then there were the people we will never forget: Vince Foster, Ron Brown, Elian Gonzalez, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broderick, Kathleen Willey and, of course, "that woman," Monica Lewinsky. There were haircuts on the tarmac, grand jury investigations, special prosecutors galore, stonewalled subpoenas, Lincoln Bedroom sleep-overs, Wagging the Dog, and more foreign boondoggles and public opinion polls than anyone thought possible. And if that wasn't enough to remember him by, our Beloved Bill capped it all off with impeachment and a final swan song -- Pardons for Patronage. It was a special time all right. Now the former president wants his cronies on television and radio reminding America what he did for this country. Spare us please. We've been here before. We're still paying the price for his "all about me" Clinton era -- and most of us don't need any more reminders. Evidence of the Clinton Legacy is everywhere. The hollow promises to "punish those responsible" for bombing the World Trade Center, Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, and our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania brought us the attacks of 9-11. The "Nobel Prize Summit" -- when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Yassir Arafat were locked up at Camp David with Maddy "the dancing Diva of Diplomacy" Albright -- gave us the current Mideast crisis. The near catastrophic destruction of our nation's intelligence capabilities and a foolhardy faith in the United Nations to stem the proliferation of nuclear weapons now yields two nuclear powers -- India and Pakistan -- on the brink of war. A dithering anti-drug policy, a fondness for Fidel Castro and a lack of coherent direction for the State Department in Latin America has left Colombia -- the oldest democracy in Latin America -- under siege. Empty platitudes about the benefits of NAFTA and an unwillingness to deal with dire economic conditions in our Southern Hemisphere have resulted in a tidal wave of illegal immigrants here and anarchy in Argentina. This is the real legacy of William Jefferson Blythe Clinton. That it doesn't equal eight months with George W. Bush won't be altered by Clinton-commissioned minions telling us otherwise. The self-described "Comeback Kid," yelling, "Look at me, look at me," wants our attention. He also wants us to ignore the facts. Apparently, he doesn't realize that won't change the facts. It's pathetic. And that's a fact.