Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bill Clinton's political capital

Former President Bill Clinton was Larry King's guest last night. Transcript here.

There are at least ten things I'd like to say about that interview and about Mr. Clinton, but time constrains me to just a few:

Content aside, it's good to see a president who can articulate (keyword: articulate)ideas from something other than a continuous-loop pre-determined package.

Clearly Clinton has decided to spend some of his considerable and very real national and international "political capital" to literally change the world through his Clinton Global Initiative. The caveat of this summit is

each of the attendees is required to commit to doing something to improve the world.

"This is more than a photo op, more than business as usual," Clinton said as he opened the session. "All of us come to meetings, we study issues, we say what we think, and too often we complain when the governments that we seek to influence ignore what we think is our sound advice."

So every person attending is required to make a commitment in writing. More than 50 commitments have been made, totaling more than $300 million. Clinton announced four specific commitments -- signed on the spot for the cameras -- which included a $100 million Africa investment fund and a plan to fight HIV-AIDS through micro-enterprise development. One commitment was made by the Clinton initiative itself -- a pledge that all of its activities would be "carbon neutral," promising to mitigate the effects of plane travel and conference preparation by financing renewable energy projects that replace fossil-fuel energy sources.
What is striking here is that Clinton no longer sits in "the" seat of power. The power he holds today is his own, intrinsic power. He created it; he earned it.

Maybe it was the library and the health issues. I don't know what took Clinton so long, but as the world seems to disintegrate daily, it's a relief to see someone step up and show some real leadership.

No comments: