Precinct 333

Sunday, March 06, 2005

One Reason To Respect Bill Clinton

I never thought that Bill Clinton had a sense of decency. I wished him well during his heart surgery because I would offer sucha wish to any person facing such surgery, not because I had any affection for him. I'll concede that his actions on behalf of tsunami relief have served to raise him somewhat in my esteem, but not much. On the other hand, this story makes me wonder if I haven't been too harsh on the man, and if there might be more than a remnant of human decency still lurking in his soul.

On their tour of tsunami damage in Southeast Asia, former President Bill Clinton once allowed his predecessor, former President George H.W. Bush, to sleep on the plane's only bed while he stretched out on the floor.

The government plane in which the presidents toured the disaster area had one large bedroom and another room with tables and seats, according to an interview with Bush in this week's Newsweek.

Bush, 80, said Clinton offered ahead of time to give the older former president the bedroom so he could lie flat and avoid paining his body. Clinton, 58, decided to play cards in the other room that night.

The next morning, Bush said he peeked in and saw Clinton sound asleep on the plane's floor.

"We could have switched places, each getting half a night on the bed, but he deferred to me. That was a very courteous thing, very thoughtful, and that meant a great deal to me," Bush said.

Bush said he and Clinton are not close, but have been compatible on the tour, partly because Clinton respects his age

Why do I respond this way to a story like this? Because this isn't a "for public consumption" action on his part. Who was going to find out that Clinton did the decent thing by giving Bush the bed for the entire night? The likely answer is that nobody would have known were it not for 41's recounting of the tale. That is reason enough for me to believe that his actions were based upon something other than a desire for good press.


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