WaPo Gushes, PBS Host Tavis Smiley Emcees Bill Clinton Book Launch Event
Bill Clinton has a new book out titled Giving (no, it's not free), and the book launch already has loads of media help. Today's Washington Post carries a gooey article from reporter David Segal about a Harlem book launch event and panel discussion in Harlem for Clinton hosted by Tavis Smiley, the nightly PBS chat-show host. The headline on the front of the style section was "Bill Clinton's Got What It Takes for 'Giving.'" Segal can't get over how Clinton consistently sounds like a genius, and how it makes him long for the glory days:
He still has this way of presenting his ideas for reforms as simple, elegant solutions that would all but enact themselves if enough people get behind them or merely get out of their way.
He spoke, at one point, of "whittling down materials to retrofit buildings to combat global warming in Bangladesh, and whatever it means, it sure sounds like a good idea. He said the market for charitable giving was "under-organized" and "under-capitalized," and again -- it makes sense even if you're not sure about what it means.
Listening to the man think out loud again, it was hard not to pine for an era before bad news got really bad, before Sept. 11 showed up on the calendar every year as Patriot Day.
"We've gone from small 't' to capital 'T,' " said [Marxist professor] Cornel West, speaking of Trouble, as the session ended and he was getting ready to leave. "And I think there's a certain nostalgia for the commitment to the public interest on the one hand and a certain charisma on the other."
Segal professes amazement at the crowded event, and how "Sprinkled throughout was an assortment of recognizable faces so random they seem popped from a lottery machine number jumbler," from Pat O'Brien to Rachael Ray:
Same question, Pat O'Brien. Although, first, what are you doing here?
"I'm actually a commissioner in the state of California for California Volunteers," he said. "Appointed by Schwarzenegger."
"He's amazing," said O'Brien, referring to Clinton. "To me, it's a Bobby Kennedy thing. A lot of politicians have tried it and he actually made it work."
Rachael Ray -- who has her own cooking-related charity, Yum-o! -- you feeling any nostalgia for those earlier times?
You bet she is!
"There was no debt, we had hope, we were largely at peace," she gushed. "Recession shmession."