Jewish World Review August 26, 2002/ 18 Elul, 5762

Wesley Pruden

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Miss Bonnie and Clod,
staying in the news | Well, it is late August.

August is when the organs of the dominant-media culture recycle the news with neither shame nor apology, serving warmed-up leftovers without even spiking the sauce.

George W. Bush tried to give us a break this week, taking time out from stirring up Iraq war frenzy. Having sent Condoleezza Rice off to administer a shot of testosterone to our European "allies" while Donald Rumsfeld bangs the drums not so slowly here, he affected to scold the press for, of all things, stirring up Iraq war frenzy. Good copy, with a nudge and wink.

But the somnolence of late summer always sends newsrooms into spasms of aggressive lassitude. There's suddenly a wave of recycled "news" about our old friends Bonnie and Clod.

Will he or won't he? Does she or doesn't she? Is they is or is they ain't?

Clod is well into his new career of being a prospective talk-show host, aspiring to be Oprah in long pants. Internet gossip artist Matt Drudge, who gets these things first, reported this week that Clod is talking to CBS about such a show, with lots of blather and bloviation and a backup band like David Letterman's. The ex-prez, who still has his dark glasses, would toot a tune on his saxophone from time to time.

The sticking point - one of many - is that Clod, weary of making speeches at a mere $250,000 a pop, wants a hundred mil a year as a deep talker, deep thinking not necessary. That's steep, even for CBS, but Mr. Clinton, ever jealous of the dignity and stateliness and above all the decorum expected of presidents and ex-presidents, wouldn't think of taking less, or much less, than Oprah. Oprah's good with the waterworks, but nobody can feel your pain like the boy ex-president.

Jim Kennedy, the old soldier's long-suffering spokesman, only the other day denied that the ex-prez, who promised to grab a rifle and leap into a ditch with Israeli troops if angry Arabs ever cross the Jordan River and threaten Jerusalem, said he might even be willing to submit to a circumcision to join the Jewish troops, and he doesn't think much of his client's prospects as a talk-show host, either. "August is rerun time, and we've seen this episode before," he says. "It ends the same way. Nothing is imminent."

The man most frightened by the rerun of the ex-president's television prospects has to be the editor who gave Clod his publisher's millions as an advance on his memoirs, due out next year. Watching the ex-president race around the world, dropping in on strategic hot spots like the Republic of East Timor and feeling pain in out of the way places is scary enough. But if he joins Letterman, Jay Leno, Oprah, Jerry Springer and the gang they'll never get him to sit down and start writing $6 million worth of recollections of Paula, Gennifer, Juanita, Kathleen, Brandy, Tiffany, Monica (and of course Buddy, Socks and Hillary).

They've all but given up on him at home, where construction has finally begun on his library in Murky Bottoms, east of downtown Little Rock. "A high-minded program has been envisioned for [the library]," writes Richard Allin in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, in a column titled "Arkansan no more."

"One hears 'public policy,' and 'racial healing' and 'research center.' One hopes for a center contributing to peace, good will, the spread of democracy and universal understanding between peoples. But there will also be bantering about the 'Chapel of Pardons' and 'St. Monica's Oratory' as important if fictional parts of the new presidential library. If the library is to be true to history, racy archives will be necessary."

Speaking of things murky, what else but August ennui can we make of the recycled speculation that there's another President Clinton on the way? The Associated Press man at the White House reports that Miss Bonnie "has begun building a national political organization, softening her liberal image and taking a lead role in Democratic criticism of President Bush - steps toward a potential campaign to become the first woman president."

We've heard that song before. This time it's about the year 2008. Next time it will be about 2004. That's what's so nifty about dope stories in August. Only the dates have to be altered. Everything else is interchangeable. And who better to sound off on corporate greed, chicanery and stealing from investors than Miss Bonnie, who in her first time out as a commodities trader made $100,000 on an investment of $1,000?

If it's true that Miss Bonnie and Mr. Clod are aiming to return to the White House in 2008, that's good news for George W. because it means that Miss Bonnie will have to root for and maybe work for his re-election. A Democratic president in 2004, with the prospect of his re-election in 2008, would mean that Miss Bonnie at 65 would be just a millimeter too long in the tooth for a run in 2012.

Miss Bonnie has pledged not to run in '04, and to serve out her term in the U.S. Senate. But pledge-breaking runs in the family. Clod made a similar pledge not to run for president in '92, and serve out his term as governor of Arkansas. The rest, alas, is history, and what an august history it was.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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