It might never end. Apparently, there is a chance President Clinton will run for office a congressional office following his departure from the White House next year. When asked by Katie Couric of NBC whether he would consider “pulling a John Quincy Adams and run for Congress in Arkansas?” Mr. Clinton indicated he was open to the possibility. “That might be something I ought to think about,” he said. Oy.
All of this tells us just how much of a sickness professional politics has become. The quaint idea that ordinary citizens take time from their lives to serve a few years in office, then return to the real world has all but disappeared. In its place, we have the eternal politician, who has known (and wishes to know) nothing beyond the next election cycle; a man (or woman) who has never held (or perhaps briefly held) a conventional job; someone who lives for the power and prestige of elective office though this unseemly motive is always euphemized as “public service.”
Bill Clinton has, by his own admission, thought of little else besides getting elected since his student days at Georgetown University a bizarre preoccupation when you stop to consider it. After a lifetime spent in politics, he has seemingly developed no outside interests, no hobbies no desire for anything beyond the adulation of the crowd, the endless sweaty handshakes, the ego-inflating trappings of office. These are things he will miss perhaps desperately. Caesar (or “Clintigula,” as some critics have taken to calling him) can’t retire. What else is there for him to do?
And so we have the sad, even tawdry spectacle of an end-of-the-road politician who can’t let go because he has no earthly idea how to occupy himself once divested of the robes, power and pomp that give him an identity because he has no identity as such. Without them, he is nobody literally. A vacuum. A nullity.
Bill Clinton has spent a lifetime absorbing and reflecting the moods and desires of his supporters. He is truly a selfless man.
Still relatively young at 52, the soon-to-be ex-president faces the prospect of 20-30 long years outside the spotlight, alone with himself, off the ballot and far from the minds of his countrymen. That, it appears, is a daunting thing indeed for Mr. Clinton but more daunting, perhaps, for the country that had hoped this show was coming to an end at long last. The expected respite may be delayed yet.