For those looking to cast their eyes past the horizon of the Democratic primary battle, Todd Purdum has penned, for Vanity Fair, a fascinating piece on former President Bill Clinton which examines his successes and excesses, particularly since leaving office. “It is beyond dispute that Clinton’s foundation has done worthy work
around the world,” Purdum writes, “funneling low-cost anti-retroviral drugs to more than
a million AIDS patients, shining the singular
power of a presidential spotlight on the good work of others, and
raising millions of dollars for practical programs in places much of
the world’s power establishment never bothers with.
But it is also beyond dispute that Clinton has blended the
altruistic efforts of his philanthropy with the private business
interests of some of his biggest donors in ways that are surpassingly
sloppy, if not unseemly, for any former president.”
That means a shined light on rubbed elbows with billionaire raconteur Ron Burkle, occasional movie producer/Elizabeth Hurley impregnator Steve Bing and InfoUSA CEO Vinod Gupta, as well as smoke-if-not-fire intimations of other rubbed body parts with Gina Gershon, Barbara Streisand, Eleanor Mondale and a handful of other nameless women in positions of power, wealth and nominal fame. Purdum also ruminates in much less sexy fashion about possible mood changes and
loss of stamina in Clinton following his 2004 quadruple-bypass heart surgery. It’s not so much a firmly conclusory piece as it is an exploration of the great, inimitable shade of grey that dominantly makes up both Clinton the man and politician, but it is well written, reasonably speculative, and does provide a glimpse behind the curtain as it relates to some of the proxy campaign shortcomings of Hillary Clinton, particularly the simultaneous disbelief and disdain for Obama’s meteoric national rise.
Incidentally, it’s a no-brainer that there’s a great big screen biopic waiting to be done about Clinton. It’d be a case full of dynamite if they wanted to do it right, but Tom Hanks or maybe even John Travolta — who has the proper glad-handing charm and same gift of sartorial weight control, and previously channeled Clinton in the roman a clef Primary Colors — could do a smash-up job. Maybe Tom Wilkinson, too. Of course, you’d need to be about 20 more years removed, I guess, so who does that leave? Ed Norton and Christian Bale have shown a chameleonic ability to disappear into character. Hugh Jackman also has the right rakish charisma, if he could put on some pounds. Hopefully not Zac Efron, though, that’s all I’m saying.