Monday, November 19, 2007

Presidential Laddie Candidate, The Only

A few weeks ago, right before Hillary Clinton came out to speak, the announcer gave out a teaser by saying that someone even more exciting was coming the next week. At the time, I couldn't imagine who would be more exciting than the top-ranked democrat and first woman with a serious chance at becoming president, until I found out...her husband! Overall, I was definitely impressed with Bill. He is indeed the great speaker that everyone makes him out to be, especially when he starts in on one of his anecdotes - he is a wonderful storyteller and can really weave the story into the message he's trying to get out. His speech to us focused mostly on giving and the environment, and made a few key points:
  1. Giving is growing - there's been explosive growth in NGOS - with 1,070,000 NGOS in the US, half of which were created since 2000.
  2. Giving is getting easier with technology - he told a charming story about what he called his one duty as husband of a senator - going to the NY State Fair. He was there a few months after the Tsunami and a woman came up to him and gave him some cash for his charity. She worked at the state fair and told him that she'd prefer to give online but that she didn't have time to get to a computer, so she was giving him the money directly. He said the fact that even someone without much education and money preferred to give online made it clear that this was the way to go.
  3. Environmental change is only going to happen if you make it economically advantageous - which it already is. All the countries that signed and are sticking to the Kyoto treaty have had their economies improve relative to countries that haven't. (He argued that this was because many new jobs were created by working on environmentally friendly solutions, although I don't know that you can assume that this was really what made the economies better.)
  4. When Jeb Bush was in town (I promise I'm working on my write up - really! I know I have a lot of catching up to do) he spent his whole talk on leadership and never said one thing that was interesting. Bill Clinton was asked what distinguishes a great leader. He responded that great leaders understand where their people are in the sweep of history, can paint a picture of where they want to be and convince people that they should try to get there, and who lived what they believed. He gave only three examples - Rabin, Mandela, and Muhammad Yunus (last year's peace prize winner for micro-loans, who Bill said he campaigned for for years - apparently when Yunus won he told Bill that the head of the peace prize committee told him, "at least that Bill Clinton fellow will stop calling me now)
  5. Someone asked him if he could be appointed Secretary of State. I loved his response - it made me remember that at one point we actually had a president who was smarter than me. Boy I miss those days! Anyway, he immediately explained that a law was passed in the 1960's to prevent a president from appointing a family member to a cabinet post. He explained the history of the law (Congress was responding to JFK's brother being so influential on his cabinet, although he was one of the best Attorney Generals there were according to Bill) and got in a jab at the Republicans (saying the Dems had passed the law because it was the right thing to do even though it wasn't great for them, something the Republicans wouldn't have done). He also said that he shouldn't be appointed because no one should be on the cabinet who the president cannot fire. He actually joked, "I know she could fire me, but the country doesn't".
  6. He ended on a hopeful note talking about African countries which have a large Muslim population still being very pro-American because they see us a preferring diplomacy to unilateral action because of the work we've done to save their kids from AIDS, malaria, etc. He said it won't be rocket science to change our global image once we get a new administration - we just have to prove to these and other countries that America is back.
*As an aside - I found out that Bill was planning to head to UCLA the next day where my little sister would be seeing him, and I considered baking cookies and asking him to be a courier for me, but I thought that might be a bit forward. E wanted me to try to seduce him so that he could show up and get a picture with Bill, but I said no to that one too. Don't want to cause a scandal and hurt Hillary's rankings!

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