My jet-lagged overnight wakefulness included lots of reading on Bill Clinton
, ever with us.
There's Frank Bruni, in the New York Times
, who finds — gee — Bill Clinton loves politics. Bruni finds it a passion missing in the current president.
Bruni notes Clinton's recent campaigning in Arkansas
— and elsewhere — for Democratic candidates. He doubts Clinton's help can preserve Mark Pryor's
seat in the Senate. The weight of the polling generally, if not unanimously, supports that view. It's still something of a mystery to me that a sour political extremist with a superiority complex like Tom Cotton
enjoys such warmth from media reviewers and voters. Bill Clinton sees it as a "scam," this GOP peddling of pols like Cotton on Obama hatred. But voters have been scammed before.
Then there's the autodidact non-political Bill Clinton, given great print acreage in an extensive interview with The Atlantic's James Bennet
. It's about the life Clinton has made for himself as leader of a foundation and global initiative that is producing all manner of what Clinton calls "bite-sized" improvements in the quality of life for people around the globe. Private money — not government money — is helping the Third World get access to banking, clean water, sustainable agriculture and dozens more worthy projects.
Again: I'm biased on the subject of the Clinton Foundation's work. My daughter left the world of finance several years ago to work there. She took off yesterday for Myanmar and an agricultural development project. Her past work has included grants for HIV clinics in African countries and sustainable farming in Malawi.
Yes, the foundation work comes amid periodic press reports on chaotic management; the uneasy confluence of politics and big-money contributors; suspicion about use of the endeavor to continue the family political dynasty; the celebrity-seeking that accompanies the big CGI summits. All fair game for media. But my bite-sized direct knowledge is this: Thanks to rain Bill Clinton made fall, one native Arkie dear to me is doing unglamorous work in the interest of people in places like Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Myanmar. The Atlantic article is an illustration of how much he loves it. Get him talking about how cell phones have empowered Indonesian fishermen or the intricacies of transitioning an African woman from tobacco farming to tending four acres of soybeans. No, make that get him to STOP talking about it.
He makes a strong case that he's built an organization that doesn't just talk about things, but DOES things.