February 26, 2006


Power to the people: now everyone can make a difference: Democracy, the internet and NGOs are fuelling a global empowerment of ordinary citizens (Bill Clinton, 2/24/06, Sydney Morning Herald)

THREE things have happened since the end of the Cold War to give private citizens an unprecedented capacity to do public good.

One is the right of democracy.

More than half the people in the world live with governments they voted in. I think that's a good thing.

I think it's good to see the election of a president in Iran and in Bolivia and the election of a Hamas government in Palestine, because the democratic process gives us a chance for resolving problems in all these places - because these elections mean the people have more power.

And the people want the benefits of democratic society.

You can't read this essay and come away with the opinion that Bill Clinton is particularly intelligent, even though he's generally right in what he says. The quality of the writing is just stunningly awful.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 26, 2006 10:54 AM

I doubt Clinton would waste his precious time trying to write something himself. Some flunky must have written it.

Too bad he doesn't have more hi-brow groupies like Kennedy had, so he could win a Pulitzer prize too.

Posted by: erp at February 26, 2006 11:43 AM

I still remember the AP story from April of 1994 when an unnamed Clinton aide was berating the press for not acknowleging the boss' superior intllect enough, and was quoted as saying Clinton was the smartest president since Thomas Jefferson. While the press corps may be liberal at heart, that was a line of hubris even the AP couldn't resist reporting, for the attitude it showed (and this was in the middle of the health care fiasco).

Posted by: John at February 26, 2006 12:41 PM

It seems more likely to me that he simply dictated it.

It has the cadence of one of his "I feel your pain" spoken-word poems.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at February 26, 2006 12:42 PM

Written by an intern. It's difficult to be fluent on one's knees.

Posted by: ghostcat at February 26, 2006 1:23 PM

There's no way an intern would have written this badly. That kind of prose only comes from someone who hasn't had to communicate via his own writing for a decade.

One of the first rules of opinion writing post-jr high is "never use the phrase 'I think'." It makes you appear wishy-washy--and Clinton's 3rd sentence there is the best example of that I've ever seen.

Posted by: Timothy at February 26, 2006 2:57 PM

Uh guys, H.D. Nailed it.
"Bill Clinton was the US president from 1993 until 2001. This is an edited version of a speech he gave at the Global Business Forum held in Sydney this week."

Try reading verbatim interviews and you may find most worst than this edited speech which was probably not read but delivered "off the cuff."

OJ, "he's generally right in what he says..." If he really was generally right, I would add: Generally for the wrong reasons.

Posted by: Genecis at February 26, 2006 3:25 PM

"I think it's good to see the election of a president in Iran ..." Just to remind him that there were elections in Iraq too. Tell the Iraqis that "... these elections mean the people have more power."

Posted by: ic at February 26, 2006 4:03 PM

Democracy in Palestine and Iran has truly has redounded to our advantage.

It is most desireable that that the final battle be joined sooner rather than later. Our relationship with Israel will yet preserve us from deferring matters to our disadvantage.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 26, 2006 7:48 PM

Remind anyone of Harriet Miers? And remember, Clinton (supposedly) went to Yale.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 26, 2006 9:48 PM