There are rare days when I have a real “wait a minute” reaction to the commentary of Wretchard at The Belmont Club. In the middle of a rumination about how George W. Bush will be regarded by history came this comment on Bill Clinton:
I think the central problem that Bill Clinton’s biographers must grapple with is how so much talent could become (in my mind at least) so inconsequential.
The undergirding premise of Clinton having “so much talent” is what I dispute, not that he did so little with it.
If the guy at the appliance store who never lets a customer get back out the door without at least selling him a toaster is said to have “so much talent,” then Bill Clinton had a talent. Everyone left Clinton’s store with at least a toaster; some left with a big screen liquid crystal TV (while others stayed in the store inside a basement freezer, like the venison of eternity).
My point here is that Bill Clinton had the talent of a slack-jawed piker cum carnival barker, skilled at selling himself. He also had talents for intimidating people who asked him questions he didn’t like, fixing admirers in his presence with his gaze, lying even when there was no need for it, creating chaos around him, and ruining the lives of those who were closest to him. And when it came to getting himself a toaster, Bill Clinton’s talent was to get it out the door under his overcoat.