Some Thoughts on Inappropriate Language, Dignity, and Bill Clinton




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The word ‘scumbag’ should not be in the lexicon of any current or former U.S. President, living or dead.

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I was disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that former President Bill Clinton went directly into the gutter to berate Todd Purdum, the Vanity Fair reporter who wrote a thoroughly scathing article about President Clinton’s penchant for excess in the current issue of the magazine. Recognizing that President Clinton threw out the ‘Dignity’ baby with the Lewinsky bath water some years ago, it is still hard for me to believe that a man with Clinton’s vision doesn’t consider himself to remain a steward of America’s image as he defines an unprecedented public role for himself in the election of 2008. Clinton’s instantly infamous ‘scumbag interview’ will not soon be forgotten (click here for links).

As much as they are reprehensible and undignified for a former President, Clinton’s cutting remarks are also symptomatic of the American disease and reveal more about the sorry state of this country than they do about Clinton.

As we ask ourselves what it means to be an American and search for something to bind us together as citizens this pivotal election year, we need to recognize that we can only cure the American Malaise of the early 21st century if we pull our country’s image out of the “I want it all, and I want it now” hole that has swallowed former President Clinton and many others in positions of trust and leadership.

President Clinton is speaking at Radio City Music Hall on June 17 in New York as part of The Minds that Move the World Speaker Series.

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I was in a cab driving up Avenue of the Americas last Monday morning and saw the famous marquee wrapping around the Radio City Music Hall, announcing ‘Cindy Lauper’, the ‘Indigo Girls’, ‘President Bill Clinton’, and the ‘Steve Miller Band’. My big question is whether, by the time Bill Clinton is scheduled to open for Spinal Tap, will he precede or follow the Puppet Show?

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