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Jewish World Review Feb. 23, 2001/ 30 Shevat, 5761

Suzanne Fields

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Consumer Reports

When Bubba graduates to Bobo -- BILL CLINTON used to be a Bubba, but he's a Bobo now.

A Bobo, as everybody who read David Brooks "Bobos in Paradise" knows, is a yuppie who successfully merged the bohemian urges of the '60s with the acquisitive impulses of the '80s. A Bobo wears jeans and $100 running shoes into the Age of Information.

A Bobo is a baby boomer who made it without bloodlines, a mixed breed who's half-bohemian, half-bourgeois. He has replaced the snobbish White Anglo Saxon Protestant - the WASP - who was born to the manor with money, status and upper-class genes and who revels in his well-bred Machiavellian maneuverings. The Bobo, on the other hand, is a bohemian who becomes bourgeois through books and smarts acquired on a campus. He feels another's pain, but he wants others to feel his pain, too. He can't feel good about himself unless others feel good about him.

So Bill Clinton whines in the New York Times: "I am accustomed to the rough and tumble of politics, but the accusations made against me in (the Marc Rich) case have been particularly painful because for eight years I worked hard to make good decisions for the American people." We're such ingrates.

Republicans and the vast right wing conspiracy are to President Bobo as the furies that pursued Orestes. They're pests, but unlike the devil they didn't make him do it. They just made everything worse. ("Geraldo, why are they so mean to me?") Clinton as a Bobo is Machiavelli with a bleeding heart. He was pure Bobo in his speech to the Oracle Corp. convention of Internet specialists on Monday: "I think it's insulting to poor people to say they ought to have to make a choice between penicillin and Pentium." The WASP had a sharper stinger than that.

President Bill's decision to take an office in Harlem was another perfect Bobo gesture. The bourgeois Clinton initially chose an office near Carnegie Hall, but the bohemian Clinton had the perfect fallback position next door to the Apollo. Norman Mailer might call him a "White Negro" if Toni Morrison had not already called him "our first black president." (The long-suffering blacks get blamed for everything.) If moving his office to Harlem was less a gesture of his liberal sensitivities - he displaced the Child Services Administration - it was one of the few neighborhoods where he could get a view of residents who might throw roses instead of ripe tomatoes.

Like husband, like wife. Hillary Clinton, according to David Brooks, is the female Bobo poster child: "She marched in the sixties, traded currencies in the eighties, and she has a full stock of countercultural, progressive attitudes mixed with down-home ambition." And this was before Hillary won her Senate seat, registered her china and silver as though she were a breathless bride who couldn't wait for the blushing to begin and furnished her house with chairs and tables sent to the White House by the rich and infamous (and some who just wanted to be famous).

Hillary's acquired a few smarts. She hired James Kennedy as her new communications director. Mr. Kennedy is a familiar Clinton handyman, who was the spokesman for the White House Counsel's Office in the days when every day meant someone had to explain thong panties and why that wasn't really a stain on the intern's dress. In Washington, politics is never having to say you're ashamed.

As we say in the news biz, the Clintons are a story with legs (and sometimes thick ankles). "Why Move On?" asks the Weekly Standard, and answers its own question: "This is too much fun." You could ask any conservative who struggled to get someone to listen when he was forever saying, if you can bear the thought, that the president had no clothes. And now we get to say "we told you so."

Liberals have their own reasons to enjoy the show now. Liberals can finally show their "independence" by attacking one of their own now that he's safely down. Of course, they're as independent as flies on flypaper (or as Bill might have said, back when he was from Arkansas: "As independent as a hog on ice"). Anyone who defended our Bill through the sex, sin and skin scandals because they were afraid not to have nothing to fear now from the Great Pardoner. Sycophancy shrinks without its power source. If nothing makes a man (or woman) so vain than to be told he (or she) is a sinner, scolding the sinner panders to a greater vanity. Bill won't run into the vanities in Harlem. Why else do you think he got off the A train at 125th Street?


02/16/01: Clarence Thomas addresses an imperfect world
02/12/01: Ariel Sharon, not by Steven Spielberg
02/07/01: Profaning the sacred with the political
02/05/01: What's the Creator got to do with it?
02/01/01: Live like the snopses, leave like the snopses
01/29/01: It's education, stupid
01/25/01: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"
01/22/01: Poetry and religion in the Bush administration
01/18/01: Ashcroft can't dance (don't ask him)
01/15/01: Clothes make the First Lady
01/11/01: Pity Jerusalem in the 'peace' process
01/08/01: Laying the political race card
01/04/01: 'What women want' in the new millennium
01/02/01: This year, looking ahead is sure sweeter than looking back
12/21/00: Black power with a Republican face
12/21/00: First impressions of two First Ladies
12/18/00: Challenge for the 'better angels of our nature'
12/14/00: What we've lost sight of
12/13/00: Hillary in the lion's den
12/08/00: Return of the 'second sex' on campus
12/04/00: Politics as entertainment today
11/30/00: Winner vs. whiner
11/27/00: Measuring against history
11/23/00: Memories of Thanksgiving past
11/17/00: In defense of the Electoral College
11/16/00: More than one way to win an election
11/13/00: Sexual politics squared
11/09/00: A Middle East legacy
11/06/00: Filling in the dots at campaign's end
11/02/00: His own man in full
10/30/00: The Oval Office, through a glass brightly
10/23/00: There'll always be an England. Maybe.
10/19/00: The celebrity candidate
10/16/00: 'Ladies night' at the second debate
10/12/00: Gore vs. Bush: Volvo vs. Maserati
10/10/00: We weep for Rami for he is dead
10/05/00: Looking at Lieberman from inside the 'ghetto'
10/02/00: Campaigns, candidates, and kissy-face
09/28/00: Laughing and crying over Joe Lieberman
09/21/00: Targeting teenagers for money
09/21/00: Sexual politics in New York
09/18/00: Surviving the stereotypes and debates
09/14/00: Gloria Steinem runs cheerfully into captivity
09/12/00: Sex in the eye of the partisan
09/07/00: 'Sex and death' on the college campus
09/05/00: Joe Lieberman as a 'Menorah Man'
08/31/00: Rising suns of the conventions
08/17/00: Changing icons: From Loretta Young to Hillary Clinton
08/14/00: The Creator returns to the public square
08/10/00: Bursting with pride, but caution too
08/07/00: Brains, beauty and beastly politics
08/03/00: A candidate with a superego
07/31/00: The sizzling Lynne Cheney
07/27/00: The party of the aging Playboys
07/24/00 Hillary drives the Jewish wagon into a ditch
07/20/00 Conservatives gone fishin'
07/17/00: Snoop Doggy Dogg was a founding father, wasn't he?
07/13/00: When a teenager doesn't need a prime minister
07/10/00: Abortion as cruel and unusual punishment
07/06/00: Surviving 'survivor' TV
07/03/00: Independence Day with Norman Rockwell
06/29/00: Here comes 'something old'
06/26/00: Waiting too long for the baby
06/22/00: Good teachers, curious students and oxymorons
06/19/00: Wanted: Some ants for Gore's pants
06/15/00: Like father, like daughter
06/12/00: Culture wars and conservative warriors
06/08/00: Return of the housewife
06/05/00: Hillary and Al -- playing against type
05/31/00: The sexual revolution confronts the SUV
05/25/00: Waiting for the movie
05/22/00: Pistol packin' mamas
05/18/00: Journalists and the 'new time' religion
05/15/00: There's nothing like a (military) dame
05/11/00: 'The Human Stain' on campus
05/09/00: We've come a long way, Betty Friedan
05/04/00: From George Washington to Mansa Masu
05/01/00: Gore's ruthless doublespeak
04/28/00: Doing it Castro's way
04/24/00: Women's studies beget narrow minds
04/17/00: The slippery slope of anti-Semitism
04/13/00: A villain larger than life
04/10/00: When mourning becomes an economic tragedy
04/03/00: The last permissible bigotry
03/30/00: Seeking the political Oscar
03/23/00: The gaying of America
03/20/00: Pointy-eared quadrupeds on campus
03/16/00: The shocking art of the establishment
03/13/00: Sawdust on the campaign trail
03/10/00: Campaign rhetoric of manhood
03/06/00: The Amphetamine of the People
03/02/00: Elegy for Amadou
02/29/00: With only a million, what's a poor girl to do?
02/24/00: The changing politics of change
02/16/00: Tip from Hillary: 'Let 'em eat eggs'
02/10/00: No seances with Eleanor
02/07/00: Campaigning like our founding fathers
02/03/00: When neo-Nazis have short memories
01/31/00: George W. -- 'Ladies man' and 'man's man'
01/27/00: Dead white males and live white politicians
01/25/00: Smarting over presidential smarts
01/21/00: A post-modern song for `The Sopranos'
01/19/00: When personality is a long-distance plus
01/13/00: French lessons in amour --- and marriage
01/10/00: Reaching for the Big Golden Apple
01/07/00: Liddy Dole as the face of feminism
01/04/00: Hillary: From victim to victor
12/30/99: 'Dream catchers' for the millennium
12/27/99: In search of a candidate with strength and eloquence
12/21/99: The president as First Lady
12/16/99: Columbine with blurred hindsight
12/09/99: Homeless deserve discriminating attention
12/07/99: Casual censors and deadly know-nothings
12/02/99: Why mom didn't make general: A reality tale
11/30/99: Potholes on the road to the Promised Land
11/25/99: A feast for the spirit and the stomach
11/23/99: Fathers need to say 'I (can) do'
11/18/99: Adventures of a conservative pundit
11/15/99: Traveling with Jefferson on the information highway
11/11/99: Wanted: 'Foliage of forbiddinness' for the oval office
11/09/99: Eggs, art and rotten commerce
11/05/99: Al Gore, 'Alpha Male'. Bow wow.
11/01/99: Gay love
10/28/99: Lose one Dole, lose two
10/26/99: Rebels with a violent cause
10/21/99: Reforming parents, reforming schools
10/19/99: The male mystique -- he shops
10/13/99:The campaign of the Teletubbies
10/08/99: Money is in the eye of the art dealer
10/01/99: Lincoln's 'Almost Chosen People'
09/29/99: Introducing Bill and Hillary Bickerson
09/27/99: Must we wait for the next massacre?
09/24/99: Miss America meets Miss'd America
09/21/99: Princeton's 'professor death'
09/16/99: The Cisneros lesson
09/13/99: No clemency for personal politics
09/08/99: M-M-M is for manhood
08/30/99: Blocking the schoolhouse door
08/27/99: No kick from cocaine
08/23/99: Movies don't kill people
08/19/99: A rude awakening
08/16/99: Dubyah and that 'language' thing
08/09/99: Chauvinist sows -- oink oink

©1999, Suzanne Fields. Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate