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Analysis: Let's Hear It For Seclusion

By Craig Staats/AllPolitics

WASHINGTON (Aug. 28) -- After President Bill Clinton admitted lying to the American people about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, he went into seclusion on Martha's Vineyard.

The vacation was a time for healing, as the first family hunkered down, presumbably to contemplate Bill's breaktakingly dumb, pathologically risky behavior.

Now, though, he thinks it's time to change the subject.

First, the Clintons emerged to take a ride on a yacht, smiling and waving for the cameras.

Then it was on to Worcester, Mass., Thursday, where the president reminded Americans that safe schools are good and crime and violence are bad.

Friday he emerged again to remember the 1963 civil rights march on Washington. Again, a stirring message: the interdependence of people around the world and a vague reference to "having to become quite an expert in this business of asking for forgiveness."

Sadly, Clinton appears to be under the illusion that his words still mean something. He doesn't realize he has forfeited the bully pulpit by poking his finger at us and lying so enthusiastically back in January.

Novelist Mark Helprin put it this way in a Wall Street Journal column earlier this week: "Presidents do not speak to Americans with such seething disrespect."

So, here's a modest proposal for Clinton: Go back into seclusion. Lay low for a while. Put a lid on pathetic pseudo-news "events" like the Worcester speech. Forget the photo opportunities with your wife, daughter and Buddy.

The less Americans see of you right now, the better. Each time you venture out, telling them what to do or what to believe, it's an embarrassment, a reminder of what damaged goods you are.

Some of Clinton's supporters talk about "fair-weather friends" and "moving on" and "redemption." The problem, though, is the public doesn't yet know how deep the falsehoods go.

The best way for Clinton to get through the next 2 1/2 years -- assuming he only lied about the sex and not the alleged obstruction of justice or subornation of perjury -- is to act like a mid-manager in a large bureaucracy. Take care of business, but don't try to spin us, inspire or exhort us.

Does he really think anyone is listening to him anymore?

In Other News

Friday, August 28, 1998

Clinton Alludes To His Personal Problems
Sources: Currie Testified Lewinsky Directed Gift Return
Republicans Try To Build Support For Tax Cut
Transcript: Larry King Live Interview With Roger Clinton
Clinton Committed To U.S.-Russia Summit


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