PBS is running a two-night, four-hour American Experience film focusing on Bill Clinton's presidency. It's a fascinating program.
It's easy sometimes to forget how challenged Clinton's political career actually was given his current popularity.
Today, Clinton carries himself like an elder statesman, someone whose combination of charm and smarts can cut through any issue, problem or challenge.
His work with the Clinton Foundation, in Haiti, brokering a deal with North Korea for the release of captured American journalists, and in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina have made him one of the most widely admired people in the world.
That Bill Clinton is on view on PBS...but so is the man who consistently stumbled.
Despite major gifts as a politician, Clinton also had serious flaws. He was viewed widely as a reckless womanizer. Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinski are apparently just three of hundreds of women Bill Clinton was alleged to be involved with outside of his marriage.
The cost of his dalliances?
His marriage to Hillary was strained to the breaking point. Clinton became only the second president in history to be impeached. Whether you believe the Starr investigation was a witch hunt or not, the four investigations cost U.S. taxpayers almost $80 billion according to CNN.
The moral of the story is giftedness and character are not mutually exculsive. Stay tuned for Part Two of the series, tonight on PBS.
© Patrick O’Neill 2012. All rights reserved.