Thursday, April 24, 2008
YouTube is Sending Bill Clinton the Way of the Dinosaur!
Bill Clinton’s political success has been largely based on a supreme ability to say anything with a straight face and a charmingly likeable demeanor. It never mattered if what he said one day was the exact opposite of what he had said the day before, because he always seemed to believe, deep in his heart of hearts, that everything that he was saying was absolutely true.
All Bill Clinton had to do was suggest that he “knew it in his bones,” no matter what it was, and even if he had previously said it wasn’t, and the masses would believe him. Not everyone, of course, but enough to make him an icon in the Democratic Party, giving him the ability to command huge fees for speaking engagements, and creating such interest in his books that he was able to accumulate $109 million in income since leaving the White House.
But Bill Clinton was always one to say whatever he needed to say, true or not, to get what he wanted. People believed him, not because of the facts, but because of his political skill and likability. And because it wasn’t easy to put the conflicting things he had said side by side to show much of it was self-serving bullshit!
Yet here is a perfect example of how the age of YouTube is unveiling Clinton for being the manipulator he’s always been. On one day, Clinton accuses Barack Obama of “playing the race card” against him, and on the very next day, he says he never said it!
Ten years ago, he might have been able to get away with such a tactic. He would have smiled and said something like “You know me! Y’all know I wouldn’t really say that. I have an office in Harlem, you know,” and people would willingly accept that the original statement had never happened.
Now, it’s in front of them, plain as day, and Bill Clinton merely looks like a liar!
The ironic thing is that Barack Obama has the same kind of political skills as Bill Clinton. Take a look at the end of this clip from his appearance on The Daily Show:
Tell me that you wouldn’t be excited and hopeful about seeing Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, even if Obama had told you the day before that Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians didn’t exist!
The difference between Clinton and Obama is that Obama understands that the new information age prohibits using the skills of persuasive charm and natural likability to spread lies. It isn’t enough to sound compelling, when the facts are immediately available at everyone’s fingertips.
That’s why you won’t see Obama saying one thing to appeal to liberals, and another conflicting thing to appeal to moderates and independents. He knows that the information age requires that he use his political skills to advance a consistent understanding of what he truly believes, and to inspire everyone to get on board. In today’s world, as a public figure, the only way not to get caught lying is to tell the truth or keep your mouth shut!
But Bill Clinton is from an era that is increasingly incompatible with the modern world. In today’s world, if you don’t use the political skills of charm and natural likability for good - to advance what is real and honest - being charming and likeable is about as valuable as having razor sharp teeth and large spikes on your tail while trying to survive a meteor shower!