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Thursday, April 30, 2009
My Dinner With Bill Clinton--Well, Not Exactly
I was excited when I received an e-mail with the subject heading, "President Clinton Dinner - May 1st." When I opened the e-mail, I discovered it was the real deal; I invited to have dinner, cocktails, and discussion with Bill Clinton to benefit The Clinton Foundation at the home of Rica and Jon Orszag, an LA couple who had worked with Bill Clinton in the White House.
The e-mail and the invitation attachment didn't specify a minimum amount that an attendee so I thought that I might be able to slide in with a nominal contribution (before you accuse me of being a giant sponge, think about it: a guy who has gotten over $40 million in speaking fees since leaving the White House is asking me for money). It was only a few days later that I found out that it was a big fake-out--I read the other attachment that came the e-mail that informed me that dinner attendees had to contribute $5000 just to get in the door. Fuck that noise. The Clinton Foundation is a good cause and I was willing to contribute four figure amount to a good cause. The only problem was that two of the figures are behind the decimal point.
It's just as well. An event like that would totally not be my scene. In fact, last Monday night, I attended a Hollywood event to benefit the World Food Programme (see addendum) and met Rica Orszag; I asked her why a guy like me would be invited to have dinner with Clinton.
I don't want to give Bill Clinton any money, but I did prepare some good advice for the discussion portion of the evening. Since I can't get through the door, I am writing an open letter for President Clinton's benefit:
An Open Letter to Bill Clinton
Dear President Clinton,
I am honored to have been invited to have dinner with you on May 1 in Los Angeles. I am unable to attend dinner with you because I don't have the bread; perhaps in the future, you can have some kind of sliding scale.
I thought in lieu of a contribution, I could give you some advice. My main piece of advice is this: learn from your past. During your presidency, there were people who lied in order to discredit you. These people included Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes (now the CEO of Fox News), Richard Mellon Scaife, and Sun Myung Moon's media empire. These people exploited the tragic death of Vince Foster to score political points; unfortunately, none of these entities have paid a price for their actions. On my blog, I have discussed why the people in your administration did a horrendous job of addressing these attacks here.
It's one thing to have failed to mount an effective counter-attack. It's quite another to not learn from these costly mistakes. It certainly didn't benefit you when you reached out to Josette Sheeran, one of Sun Myung Moon's operatives; in fact, it was an unmitigated disaster: not only did it not stem the attacks from the cult leader's media apparatus but it gave the cult's media apparatus legitimacy that money couldn't buy. It certainly didn't help when you appeared on Rush Limbaugh's radio program last year. It didn't help when Hillary sat down with Scaife and the editorial staff of his vanity newspaper. It didn't help when prominent members of Hillary's 2008 campaign legitimized Ailes' Fox News. It doesn't help when Hillary recently endorsed Sun Myung Moon's Universal Peace Federation. I recently wrote a far-from-exhaustive post, "Notes of a Former Clinton Defender," on how you and your people have befriended the very people who have smeared you and Vince Foster's memory and who continue with the politics of personal destruction. It is folly to befriend them; they need to be discredited and defeated.
I hope my comments are of value to you.
Addendum: On April 27th, I attended a Hollywood event co-hosted by MPAA CEO Dan Glickman and the Creative Artists Agency that benefited the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP). There was a reception followed by a discussion with Drew Barrymore, Arianna Huffington, and WFP director Josette Sheeran. For those of you familiar with my Sun Myung Moon blog know that I have written extensively about Sheeran, who was a longtime member of the Unification movement and editor of Moon's Washington Times (here and here are two informative posts on Sheerhan). My guest, a fellow indie filmmaker, didn't want to go and rub elbows with Glickman because the MPAA shills for Hollywood and sticks it to the indies--especially with movie ratings. My guest and I had a blast. We ate, drank, and met people at the reception; the discussion was thought-provoking.