28.8.08

"Don't Stop, Monica Lewinsky."

I remember being in Cincinnati during late Summer, 1998. Along with several dozen other engineering new-hires at Procter & Gamble, I ventured out to corporate HQ for 2 sessions (10 weeks in total) of "Process Engineering School".

Basically, it amounted to a bunch of 22-year-olds, fresh out of college, sent away to a corporate networking summer camp, where we had to sit through several hours of "classes" and work on "projects" each day, and enjoy Cincinnati by night, complete with rental car and corporate AMEX for meals and expenses. AND, by the way, we were being paid our normal salary all the while. It was a dream come true.

As far as the academic side of things, probably the most useful thing I learned: in German, you ask wie bitte when you didn't hear someone's response, and need to know what he/she said. So that means in an American city heavily settled by German immigrants (like Cincinnati), people ask "please?" when they would like you to repeat your response to a question.

Ignorance of this etymology leads to some interesting who's-on-first moments for the rest of foreigners. For example, here was me in a supermarket, after buying some groceries:
Cashier: Would you like paper or plastic?
Me: Plastic would be fine.
Cashier: Please?
Me (thinking, jeez, these Cincinnatians are real sticklers for good manners!): I'm sorry, please.
Cashier: I said please.
Me: I know, and I responded.
Cashier: Yes, but would you like paper or plastic?
Me: Like I already told you, plastic!
Now, remember that the period of time when all these priceless life lessons were being absorbed by 22-year-old me coincided with the Lewinsky scandal in full swing. Driving to "work" one day with my friend Ben Lustig, an Indiana native and Notre Dame graduate who is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, a parody of Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" came on the local classic rock station, with the lyrics changed to Don't Stop, Monica Lewinsky. Ben nearly drove off the road he was laughing so hard, and even more so when I explained how clever the station was for using Clinton's song of choice to mock him.

The point is, after hearing the house band play Fleetwood Mac after Bill Clinton's speech from last night, all I could think of were the carefree days of P&G Process Engineering School, which should never be confused with nostalgia for Slick Willy's presidency.

However, as far as Clinton's speech from last night, I do have to say it was the best delivery I've yet heard at the Democrats' convention. The content was mostly distasteful, but Clinton did a very good job of putting the issues into perspective, instead of stringing together a bunch of forced platitudes like the others have done. I must admit, his blasting the GOP for royally screwing things up when we finally got control of the Executive and Legislative Branches, was on point (of course, I'd argue that the people responsible for that abominable agenda showed little allegiance to the conservative principles that should be guiding the Republican Party).

But Clinton's was much more natural a speech, warmed up by nearly 3.5 minutes of applause. I'll be interested to see if my party gives the same rousing welcome to Mr. open-borders-Harriet-Miers-you're-doing-a-great-job-Brownie next week.

That being said, readers of this blog know that I'm no fan of Clinton at all, and I found his speech chock full of do as I say, not as I do hypocrisy.

Among Clinton's lines:

"Restoring the American Dream..."
You mean like voting the Democrats out of control of Congress thanks to your wife's ridiculous socialized medicine program?
"America's leadership in the world has been weakened..."
Sitting idly by while millions of innocents were slaughtered in Rwanda, while pulling out all the stops to bully Serbia - that's American leadership?
"Perilous dependence on foreign oil..."
How much more "perilous" is it than when you were President, Bill? When you became President we imported only about 40%, when you left office, the figure was over 50%. Are there independent variables that affect this figure that relax the blame attributed to you? Of course. But then, don't use this as an example - it's intellectually dishonest.
"His family heritage and his life experiences have given him a unique capacity to lead our increasingly diverse nation in an ever more interdependent world..."
You'd know, you were the 1st black president!
"Revitalize the international institutions which help to share the cost of the world's problems..."
So, you're advising Obama to expand NATO? Our nation should never share the cost of backing idiots like Mikhail Saakashvili.
"People abroad have always been more impressed with the power of our example than with the example of our power..."
power of our example = ignoring genocide in Rwanda
example of our power = bombing Serbia
"Going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities..."
What do you mean, the Republic of Georgia sent 2,000 troops to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks, Randy Scheunemann!
That's Clinton's America for you - a place called Nope.

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