Real Politik ~ and ~ The Odd Couple ...
I remember it came as quite a surprise, the first time one of my American liberal friends said: "Bill Clinton was the best Republican President we ever had." Not surprisingly, the surprise was to last but a fleeting moment. I mean, isn't that the very nature of surprise?
The preceding question was, of course, rhetorical. The next one isn't. Quite the reverse in fact. I genuinely look forward to hearing as many of This Old Brit readers' answers as possible. Maybe some will surprise me again, eh? Oh yeah, before I forget - here's my next question. What's your take on Julian Borger's fascinating George & Bill piece in today's Guardian?
The late-flowering bond between Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr is so unlikely that the two ex-presidents, from either side of America's political divide, have been dubbed the Odd Couple. Is it just a shared love of golf, or could there be deeper motives behind their extraordinary friendship? And what does George Jr make of it all?
Intriguing, isn't it? Here's an example of how Borger sees it.
In some ways it would be less shocking to see Margaret Thatcher and Neil Kinnock wandering arm in arm along Blackpool beach. Bill's battle for the presidency with George senior in 1992 was tame compared to the last two bile-drenched elections, but it wasn't a love-fest either. Bush, feeling the presidency slipping away from him, famously derided Clinton as a "bozo" and claimed his dog knew more about foreign affairs. As he nursed his wounds at his seaside home at Kennebunkport in Maine, it was said that he took years to recover from defeat.
Borger then goes on to further inform his readers.
And yet here was his nemesis at Kennebunkport on Monday, kneeling on the lawn petting one of the Bush dogs before being welcomed into the mansion like one of the family.
Birds of a feather? Hobson's choice? Regardless of the colour of their party's rosettes, all politicians are the same? Same old, same old? A snake-oil salesman is a snake-oil salesman, period!? United the powerful stand - while divided the rest of us fall? It takes one to know one? Same difference? Wizards and munchkins, whatever? Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum? Rulers are rulers are rulers. You've seen one - you've seen 'em all? Six of one & half a dozen of the other? No-soul mates? It's all case of class - always was and always will be?
Maybe you've got some better ideas or maybe you know something I don't. Either way, I'd like to hear from you.
In the meantime, here's another choice little tid-bit fom today's Guardian to help you take a view.
What is more, Jeb Bush, the Florida governor and the president's brother, reportedly refers to Clinton now as "bro'". And even Barbara, the acid-tongued Bush matriarch (and the woman George junior, the president, dubs "the enforcer") jokingly called Clinton "son" at a public event in May.
"I told the Republicans in the audience not to worry," Clinton said later. "Every family has one - you know, the black sheep ... I told them: 'This just shows you the lengths [to] which the Bushes would go to get another president in the family and I wish I could get them to adopt Hillary.'"
Hmm. Are you thinking what the Old Brit is thinking? Here's one final taster for you.
Meanwhile, Bush Sr has struck some blows of his own. In the run-up to the Iraq war, his former national security adviser and closest political confidant, Brent Scowcroft, warned of "an armageddon in the Middle East" if the administration pushed ahead with its invasion plans. Worse still in the eyes of the president's partisans, George senior conferred his annual award for public service in 2003 on Senator Ted Kennedy, arguably the administration's fiercest and most effective critic in Congress.
OK - enough teasing. Click the link below to read the full article. ( Remember though, This Old Brit wants to know about your take on this. )