Saturday, April 05, 2008


I went to the Bill Clinton library/museum today. I've now been to every Presidential museum since Kennedy's, except for Ford.

I'm a big fan of Bubba--voted for him twice--but his museum was easily my least favorite of the museums. It was more transparently an infomercial than the others. I liked LBJ's a lot--it showed how much he struggled with Vietnam even while explaining his decisions. And Nixon's was kind of funny in its own way...the Watergate scandal was hardly ignored, but was rather a dark tunnel at the end of his presidency. It included some irrelevant pot-shots at his accusers.

Clinton really, really went after Republicans in an extreme way in the museum. I'm okay with that--his museum, his rules--but I'm a bigger fan of the way LBJ's museum did it, carefully looking through his shortcomings.

Worse, however, was that it lacked any coherent organization. Swankette and I walked through it in the order it presented itself to us. We wandered through each year of his presidency, looking at his schedule book for our birthdays each year. (The man sure does love his college hoops...he set aside every year to watch the NCAA final.) Then, we checked out some letters written to him by stars. Meanwhile, we saw some quick films on various issues of the '90s. Upstairs, we saw gifts given to the Clintons, examined what a state dinner looked like, and saw some wacky videos they put together for correspondents' dinners. The last thing we did was walk through his pre-presidential days. Backwards...starting with his governorship, Chelsea's birth, his marriage, his college, his childhood.


There were some interesting bits in light of Hillary Clinton's current run for the presidency as well. One of the huge accomplishments Clinton trumpeted was NAFTA. Hillary is soft-pedaling that lately. It also showed Hillary's accomplishments as first lady. I'm on record as saying that I don't count being married to a President as relevant experienc towards being a President. And while I give Hillary Clinton credit for a gutsy women's-rights speech she gave in China, other than her failed health-care initiative, she mostly appeared to have ceremonial duties. She did them well--I'd even consider putting her above all First Ladies this side of Eleanor Roosevelt--but nothing in the museum led me to change my mind about the applicability of the experience as First Lady.

I think Hillary's campaign--the ugliness of "He's not Muslim that I know of," the chance of superdelegates deciding things, the icky Hallmark infomercial--has damaged my relationship with Bill somehow. I think time will heal this wound, but for right now, I just want Obama to get the damn nomination so we can move on to getting the White House.

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