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Showing posts from February 21, 2011

TV review: MSNBC's 'President of the World,' basking in Bill Clinton's afterglow

Valentine's Day was a week ago, but MSNBC's Chris Matthews has belatedly gifted a particular former president with a mash note - strike that, a one-hour special called "President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon," airing on the cable news channel Monday night.
Why? Because it's Presidents' Day. Also because it's been a full decade since Clinton left office, embarking on an epic quest to remain at the forefront of the celebripoliticomedia hive mind. Or, as Matthews reminds us much more than once: He is Everywhere.
"Bill Clinton's position in the world continues to grow. He's part dignitary, part humanitarian, part politician, part international statesman, and somehow, greater than them all," he intones.
For much of the hour, you'll wonder if you're watching one of Robert Smigel's old "X-Presidents" cartoon parodies for "Saturday Night Live." Matthews, aided by the likes of Terry McAuliff…

Five myths about Ronald Reagan

By Edmund Morris Friday, February 4, 2011; 5:00 PM

It has been argued that Ronald Reagan was a myth himself, a construct of his own and other people's imaginings, rather than an extraordinary American about whom some untruths are told. The sentimental colossus his acolytes are trying to erect today, with gilded pecs, red-painted smile and an NRA-approved pistol in each manly fist, bears no resemblance to the man I knew: in private a person of no ego and little charisma, in public a statesman of formidable purpose.

1. He was a bad actor.
Well, yes and no. Most of the movies he made as a Warner Bros. contract player are unwatchable by persons of sound mind. When he was president, it was easy to laugh at them. The spectacle of the leader of the free world, a.k.a. Secret Service agent Brass Bancroft, deploying an enormous ray gun against an airborne armada was especially hilarious in 1983, the year he announced the Strategic Defense Initiative, that vaporizer of foreign nuc…