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September 22, 2005

Gag me with a spoon

Tina Brown, pining for the good old days when the "intellectual elite" ruled the roost.

The White House doesn't seem to realize it yet, but we are entering a post-spin era in public life. The shift has long been underway in the business world, propelled by the Enron catastrophe and the collapse of the dot-com bubble. Process, not perception, is king in boardrooms today. After so much corporate malfeasance it all got too dire to put up with fake CEOs anymore.

Now after the Iraq debacle, the ballooning deficit and the aftermath of Katrina, Americans are pining for grounded leaders in public office, too -- leaders who have moral conviction, yes, but also the gnarly, dexterous ability to think things through.

The irony is that no one would have believed that Clinton -- the king of spin, who went out under a cloud of indecency five years ago -- could climb back to such credibility. Monica is fading and he's backlit now by his disciplined handling of the economy, the unsought comparisons of how well FEMA used to perform under his watch and the enlightened nature of his global activism.

A weird reputational exchange has taken place between Clinton and President Bush. After so much dishonest reasoning it's the vaunted "CEO president" who begins to look like the callow, fumbling adolescent. And it's the sexually incontinent, burger-guzzling, late-night-gabbing Bubba who is emerging as a great CEO of America.

"We are so arrogant because we are obsessed with the present," he told his guests at the conference's end. "I've reached an age now where it doesn't matter whatever happens to me. I just don't want anybody to die before their time anymore."

Now that MoDo is on pay-per-view, maybe Tina is making her move.

September 22, 2005 at 10:59 PM | Permalink


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