Meet the Old Boss, Same as the Older Boss
About the only difference between George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during their mutual hand job in Toronto last night was the color of their suits and ties. In a way, it resembled that final climactic scene in Animal Farm in which the pigs and humans morphed into one another and became indistinguishable.
It had appeared that in the first major appearance Bush would make since slithering out of the White House would be to come out swinging against President Barack Obama for reversing his executive orders or for officially condemning torture or for closing Gitmo or beginning a multiphase troop withdrawal from Iraq according to a strict 16 month timetable.
Instead, Bush made his first major public appearance since January 20th a public circle jerk involving the 42nd president and moderator Frank McKenna. If the crowd of 6000 expected a post-presidential debate involving Arkansas razorback pig shit and shoes, they were deluded.
I'm not one who's much for partisan bickering for its own sake. It needlessly throws sand in the engine of the omnibus of the democratic process. Yet one would think that after all the Republican monkey feces that for eight years had been flung at Slick Willie during their own Clinton Derangement Syndrome, after all the lies told about his wife during her presidential campaign, a level of persecution that went far and beyond the pale of political gamesmanship, that Bill Clinton wouldn't have been as gracious as he was. Of course, both men could afford to be gracious: Bush and Clinton split a $300,000 honorarium for their live sex show.
Perhaps, like two Dutch Uncles, they were trying to teach Barack Obama a lesson in bipartisanship that he doesn't really need. Yet the differences between the style and results of each man leading this nation are so stark and obvious, it boggles the mind at how they could have bitten their tongues for as long as they did.
Instead, it merely gave the appearance to the 6000 in attendance who paid anywhere from $200-$2500 to listen to this bilge and for those many tens of millions more reading about it this morning that there truly is no difference between the two parties except for two capital letters, rhetoric and strategy. This was not two former American presidents putting country above all else and showing bipartisan unity as much as it was a lesson in the indistinguishable nature of the two rotten wings of our two party system.
There were differences of opinion, sure, such as Clinton insisting that more attention should have been paid to Afghanistan and that we shouldn't have let ourselves get diverted by Iraq, that the UN weapons inspectors should have been given more time. And Bush, predictably, said, "Not so, neener neener. We didn't get diverted from the war on terra."
And it was all said with perfectly molded smiles and casually dismissed as if they were two fair weather baseball fans disagreeing on who stands the best chance of winning the World Series. Who cares if the shocking difference between competence and incompetence was several millions of deaths, maimings, personal economic ruin and displacements, that our top military commanders in Iraq are still saying we could be there for another decade and that we still haven't any solid assurances that this recession has touched bottom and that it still couldn't turn into a worldwide depression?
For $300,000, they sure could pretend the countless hundreds of millions of lives largely ruined through the actions, misactions and inactions by the Bush administration weren't even worth bringing up (Although McKenna didn't mind asking Clinton about the hundreds of thousands who died through his own inaction and indecisiveness regarding the Rwanda genocide. No such questions were asked of Bush about either Iraq or New Orleans. At least Clinton took the blame for Rwanda and offered no lies or excuses.).
Meanwhile, Canadians both inside and out were seething and there weren't nearly as many Bill Clinton protest signs as there were those of Bush, including several of him in effigy wearing an orange jump suit. Sure, Junior was the most Republican president since Ronald Reagan and it's been said by Michael Moore that Bill Clinton was the most Republican Democratic president we've ever had, so there was already a lot of room for common ground.
Like Bush and Cheney, Clinton and Gore tried sounding the alarm and telling us that Iraq had WMD that we all know were fictitious. We're now saddled with the Defense of Marriage Act that had long since been signed into law by the most notorious two-timer since Jack Kennedy and we're also afflicted with Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Like Bush, Clinton had cozied up to murderous tyrants such as Suharto and corporations of dubious reputation. Who among us outside of Arkansas had even heard of Bill Clinton 18 years ago until he began circle-jerking with the Powers That Be at the Bilderberg Group? And let's not forget under whose watch and with whose blessing the CIA launched their extraordinary rendition program. And, regarding the global economy/New World Order midwifed in part by Clinton, I have five letters for you: N-A-F-T-A, a poverty-inducing travesty even his own wife will no longer support.
Gore Vidal once said that were no longer any political parties and that there was just the Corporate Party with Republican and Democratic wings. You want to know how thoroughly corporatized the parties have become even in retirement? The picture above of Clinton and Bush was released by TD Bank. The circle jerk's moderator, former Canadian ambassador to the US Frank McKenna is also TD Bank's vice chairman, the corporate entity that had underwritten the event.