From One Amateurish President to Another
In his bestseller, The Amateur, Edward Klein reports Bill Clinton saying, "Obama doesn't know how to be president. He doesn't know how the world works. He's incompetent. He's an amateur!"
Today's quick history remembers Bill Clinton as a successful president whose tenure was marred only by his sexual peccadilloes. Not so fast. In reality, the hallmark of the Clinton White House was its utter disorganization. In his memoirs, aide George Stephanopoulos called its atmosphere "dysfunctional." In his book, The Choice, Robert Woodward described a White House that "teetered on the edge of management chaos." Labor Secretary Robert Reich talked about a "chronically undisciplined president" and a "wildly disorganized White House."
In fact, there may be no more damning account of Clinton's presidency than Reich's memoir Locked in the Cabinet. He documented in painful detail Clinton's ongoing slouch to compromise. "To the extent B [Bill Clinton] relies on [Dick Morris]," observed Reich in his contemporaneous notes, "B will utter no word that challenges America, no thought that pricks the nation's conscience, no idea that causes us to reexamine old assumptions or grapple with issues we'd rather ignore."
But other than these failures and, of course, Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Cattlegate, the bimbo eruptions, the Vince Foster cover-up, the Ron Brown cover-up, John Huang, the Riadys, the Webb Hubbell scandal, Waco, Pardongate, Johnny ("The White House is like a subway: You have to put in coins to open the gates") Chung, and the sale of high end technology to China for campaign cash, a campaign that Senator Fred Thompson would call "the most corrupt political campaign in modern history," the presidency was a roaring success.