Joseph Sobran recently put to us the question of the incredible, shrinking ex-president and his vanishingly small figure on the political landscape.
As Scottish Correspondent to LRC, I can exclusively reveal to our readers that Mr. Clinton was spotted only last week in Bonnie Scotland. And, rather than being miniscule to the sight, he was clearly visible to the naked eye as he embarked on a grand tour of Great Britain on a series of speaking engagements across this sceptred isle.
Now, sightings of Bill Clinton in Scotland are as rare as sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and are to be seized upon zealously when they happen. Moreover, if any of our readers are confused over how to distinguish the two creatures, a test is readily at hand. If it does not ask for a fee when putting in a fleeting appearance, then it is assuredly Scotland’s famous denizen of the deep.
But we must move swiftly on as Mr. Clinton’s entourage heads off for their first venue which is a bracing round of golf at Turnberry on the west coast of Scotland which is no doubt followed by a further round or two in the clubhouse bar. Whether Mr. Clinton improved upon his golf handicap of twelve strokes, we are not told. But, thus lubricated, the former president duly heads north to Glasgow for his first speaking engagement.
At this point, seasoned observers may have noted that Mr. Clinton entered the Glasgow Hilton Hotel still wearing his golfing clothes and may be wondering whether he was paying more attention to the drams than the clock in the clubhouse. But, let concerned Clintonites be comforted by my observation that there was more of the swagger than the stagger about his gait as he crossed the nation's TV screens.
But we must make haste. Mr Clinton assumes the lectern for his first oration which is on the Middle East problem and is delivered to the patrons of the Jewish National Fund who pay a ransom for the privilege of listening to a man who failed to solve said problem. Meanwhile, a notable crowd of Palestinian sympathisers has gathered outside not to praise Caesar but to vilify him for addressing such an organisation.
May I venture a word on Mr. Clinton’s behalf? Who cares, they’re paying the going rate! Nevertheless, nostalgia wells up in an evocative manner for our ex-president as the crowd predictably burns an effigy of him. Memories of trying to bomb Bin Laden in Sudan spring to mind as the speech draws to an end and Mr. Clinton’s bank account swells just that little bit more.
All in a day’s work, but we must press on. Onto London and Mr. Clinton bids a fond farewell to Scotland as I follow him with journalistic zeal from the comfort of my Internet connection.
It may interest our regular readers to know that in Mr. Clinton’s busy schedule he finds time to be the chairman of the advisory board of the International Aids Trust; and, in that capacity, he now delivers the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Lecture on Aids, to another fleeced audience. A vital topic, you will agree, and Mr. Clinton is a man who seems to know a bit about the meaning of the term u201Csexual relationsu201D.
But I hesitate, our man is off again! Giddyup, modem!
Your correspondent is pleased to announce that as a final encore, Mr. Clinton delivered a speech to the prestigious Richard Dimbledy Lecture on the fourteenth day of December. But I must confess that I was unable to attend this event because I made absolutely no effort to do so. But, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, our own BBC televised the oration a few days later.
Clinton observers would have again noted that instead of the old introduction "Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States of America", Mr. Clinton was presented thusly: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the 42nd President of the Unite States of America". It is to be noted that those four little characters "42nd" makes a lot of difference.
Moreover, slight concern was raised when Mr. Clinton began to address his audience with a croaky voice. Can we speculate that Mr. Clinton is being overzealous in his speaking engagements? Not very likely. Or can we surmise that a combination of a stiff Atlantic breeze and a series of stiffer drinks at Turnberry got the better of our man? Quite possibly.
Undaunted, and showing a deft diversity of subject matter, Mr. Clinton launches into his subject of "The Struggle For The Soul of The 21st Century" which covers such subjects as international terrorism and technological change. After a few minutes, your correspondent’s face muscles began to contort and I had an overwhelming desire to draw deep breaths; but having concluded the yawn, I decided to give the rest of Mr. Clinton’s speech a miss and move onto other things.
Interested readers may access his speech at this uniform resource locator.
And so Mr. Clinton bids sayonara to Great Britain as he heads off to his next round of pressing engagements. Will we ever see him in Britain again? Only if you are willing to pay the fees. Will we ever see him on the first tee of Scotland’s major golf courses again? Undoubtedly.
As a final observation, readers may be wondering what Mr. Clinton earned from his week in Britain. One can only speculate but it is noted that former Prime Minster, Margaret Thatcher, earns up to $75,000 on the lecture circuit in the USA. As a more prestigious personality, one can easily assume that Mr. Clinton took home upwards of $300,000 this week past but we may never know.
And, so, as the Yuletide season beckons, may your Scottish correspondent take this opportunity to wish all the patrons of Lew Rockwell’s website a very Merry Christmas.
December 21 , 2001