Thinking Out Loud:

I spent my Sunday morning getting ready for church and watching President Clinton get red in the face on my TV screen. Some observations:

1. I had almost forgotten about the "Clinton paranoia." Everybody is out to get him. Fox News. Right-wingers. Neo-Cons. Right-wing conservative television producers. That diabolical Chris Wallace. ABC. The 911 Commission. Everybody except Richard Clarke.

2. I had almost forgotten the disdain that I felt for President Clinton from 1998 until on or about the presidential portrait unveiling in 2004 (archived here).

A note on that event in the WH: With charm and grace, President Bush attempted to rehabilitate the former President among conservatives (which was not a popular endeavor with many of my brethren). Nevertheless, President Bush modeled respect for the office and the system that investigated President Clinton and found him "not guilty." If you have never watched the ceremony, it is a must-see for students of the presidency.

Anyhow, the disdain is back. I am having flashbacks of the Clinton attack mode (grenades lobbed indiscriminately while he bemoans the "politics of personal destruction"). President Clinton is personally vicious and relentless in this state, entirely lacking the ability to see the field from outside his immediate self interest. Yesterday, his abject rudeness toward Wallace was extremely uncomfortable to watch.

3. He looked very bad. Gray, tired and craggy.

4. I am reminded that President Clinton was not the smooth operator that we often remember. He went more than a year without granting one interview during the Monica imbroglio. He proved adroit at avoiding hostile media questions, but not especially skilled in confronting or besting the press. Rather, he was insulated from the press, and expert at using them to deliver his message of the day. Without his phalanx of media advisors and operatives, he seemed much more vulnerable (even disoriented). One wonders how he would fare at this, if he had to do it for a living.

The full transcipt from Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace (from RealClearPoltics).