Last Wednesday evening at Fleming’s Prime Steak House in Sarasota, Florida, Bill Clinton received yet another impromptu standing ovation from a group of restaurant patrons. This time at the close of a day’s worth of golf playing and speech-making sponsored by the parents of Doug and Roger Band, close confidants who accompanied the President on his trip to North Korea.
It was the latest vivid reminder of just how dramatically the conclusion brought about by Clinton to the arrest of Laura Ling and Euna Lee on March 17th, 2009 has eclipsed the stain of the Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp mess unleashed by Matt Drudge on January 17th, 1998.
The great Op Ed piece that has yet to be written about the Ling–Lee saga is not a rehash of those early morning China–North Korea border events by fleeing cameraman-producer Mitchell Koss, but rather a rumination about the big picture developments that have followed by Lewinsky herself, who now holds a Masters Degree in Social Psychology. It would be fascinating to get random-woman Lewinsky’s take on how two subsequent random-women have completely remade the personal reputation of the 39th President.
Separately, the last-minute decision by Ling, Lee, Koss and their guide to venture into Tumen River territory has triggered a new awareness of the North Korean refugee crisis and sparked some carefully choreographed Hermit Kingdom momentum towards new bilateral and six-party discussions. (It’s also added a new dimension to @lisaling’s feature news reporting.) But for now, the most jaw-dropping tangential turnaround brought about by the @current gals is the realignment of William Jefferson Clinton with the nomenclature of a William Jefferson.
No matter what your definition of is, is, the Clinton comeback IS nothing short of a modern PR miracle. So on this, the two-month anniversary of Bill’s August 4th rescue of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, he owes them an equal debt of gratitude for giving him back his dignity.