Written by Frank Li
I published an article about President Bill Clinton almost two years ago. I just re-read that article (The Myth of The Bill Clinton Presidency) – not a single word needs to be changed. Yes, Bill Clinton still is “the luckiest American President“, so far!
This post was triggered by a recent news story: Bill Clinton raked in $100M in speeches over last decade. Allow me to expound on him specifically, and the American Presidency in general …
Is there anything wrong for an American to make a lot of money by giving speeches? Of course not!
Is there anything wrong for a former American President to make a lot of money by giving speeches? Of course not, either, unless it’s just a “hide the money” cover for peddling political favors! Beyond skin deep, I see three serious problems with our system:
Many American Presidents are too young (i.e. too inexperienced).
They make serious mistakes while in office, largely due to their lack of wisdom, on top of “getting re-elected ad nauseam.”
They enrich themselves during and after leaving office, to the detriment of the U.S., especially when foreign money is mixed with politics (Clinton Foundation).
Let me elaborate on each.
1. Most American Presidents are too young
2. Too many bad American Presidents
Because this post is specifically about President Clinton, let me repeat his “two costly mistakes” while in office (The Myth of The Bill Clinton Presidency):
He amended the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) to its final, and lethal, form, thus contributing to a spectacular housing bubble that burst in 2008. For more, read: How the CRA Fueled the Housing Bubble.
He failed to significantly adjust U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War. As a result, America actually became a major source of instability around the world, especially in the Middle East (U.S. Middle East Policy: What’s Wrong?). A strong case in point: The seeds for the 9/11 tragedy were sowed on President Clinton’s watch. For example, President Clinton actually refused Sudan’s offer to turn Osama Bin Laden over to the U.S.! Ron Paul was right on this (read: Ron Paul on 9/11: Ask the right questions and face the truth)!
For more on America’s failure after the Cold War, read: Three New Kingdoms.
Pursuant to the US Constitution, the American Presidency was an unpaid position at the start of the republic and it remained so for a long time. That ensured that you had to succeed first (i.e. being financially independent), then you served with honor for a few years, and finally you returned home after doing your duty to your country.
Over time, the job was changed from unpaid to paid. For example, President Clinton was paid $200,000 a year while in office. Yet, the Clintons left the White House “dead broke” (Clintons ‘dead broke’ after White House). So they had to find a way to make some money, big money!
For an excellent example of a former American President, Harry Truman, read: Barack Obama vs. Harry Truman. Here is a quote:
Times have indeed changed from the presidency of Harry Truman to Bill Clinton and to Barack Obama!
Ideally, the job of the American Presidency should be given to one of the most experienced Americans in both domestic policy and foreign affairs. But that’s not the case in America today.
Ideally, the American President should serve America, not just himself or his own party. But that’s not the case in America today!
Ideally, a former American President should be a senior statesman, staying far above partisan politics! But that’s not the case in America today!
Sad, isn’t it? For more, read: The American Presidency: Let’s Redefine It, Now!
America is changing for the worse, right at the top, and it’s infectious … Still wondering why many American politicians, especially a sitting President, pander to both the rich and the poor? Wonder not! They need the money of the rich to buy the votes of the poor! Oh, very importantly, they need to build bridges to a fat cat retirement!
In contrast, China is also changing, in the opposite direction! Here is an example:
Does “Saving America, Chinese Style” make more sense to you now than, say, 10 minutes ago?
Bill Clinton is not only the luckiest American President, but also the luckiest former American President in terms of becoming super-rich after leaving office!
Now, if you think former President Clinton is bad, wait after President Obama leaves office …