Meredith Carroll: Meredith Pro Tem
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
It has become regrettably apparent that you have something in common with an oil company (BP), a soccer player (Landon Donovan), and Mel Gibson: You all seem to be having a very, very bad summer (although to be fair, Mel actually just seems to be having a bad life).
In less than a month’s time you racked up the announcement of your divorce from Tipper, followed by reports that you had an extramarital affair with a prominent environmental activist, and then came the accusations that you attempted to receive a seriously deep tissue massage in an Oregon hotel a few years back.
Since few people (apart from Tony Hayward) are genuinely this deplorable (the divorce doesn’t make you deplorable, by the way, just American), I’m starting to think the timing of the aforementioned might neither be accidents nor coincidences. After all, sex scandals have helped many before you. Just ask your former boss. No, really, ask him. He’s much better at making hay while the sun shines (and where it doesn’t) than you.
Bill Clinton is still taking an inexplicable victory lap 10 years after being pried from the Oval Office – sex scandals, grand juries, impeachment, civil lawsuits and grandstanding be damned. But while you, too, have had more than your fair share of high-profile embarrassments, you’re somehow still not managing to fail upward.
In addition to your personal misfortunes of late, in the past several years you’ve racked up a presidential bid gone wrong horribly, terribly wrong (losing to one of the dimmest men on the planet, I might add), a TV network gone irrelevant (which would actually incorrectly imply that it was once relevant), and a radio network gone belly up (OK, so Air America wasn’t yours, but it just feels so easy right now to blame you for everything that’s gone wrong with the Left over the past decade).
While what Bill did with Gennifer, Paula and Monica was naughty, at least he managed to translate his misdeeds into a two-term presidency. “Go big or go home” is a motto that seems to work in his favor. (Sorry, Monica – no pun intended.)
But you couldn’t even get one of the journalists from your very own TV network – who you helped rescue from hard labor in North Korea – to name her daughter after you. She gave that honor to Bill. (If you’re looking for someone to commiserate with about that, I would start with our secretary of state.)
Plus, there’s no sugar coating the fact you came off looking like a jackass when everyone who went on the record speculating about whether you had an affair with Laurie David laughed out loud – loudly. That it seemed so ludicrous that someone would want to be with you, that Laurie David preferred to be linked to her day laborer than a Nobel Peace Prize winner, doesn’t bode well for your Q rating.
And I’m quite certain being called a crazed sex poodle by the woman accusing you of inappropriateness in Portland is not to your advantage. A brazen bullmastiff, saucy Great Dane, frisky Rottweiler or even a cheeky Chihuahua would have been more flattering than a breed most associated with tutus, rhinestone collars and yapping.
By the way – a hotel masseuse? Seriously? You know that the vast majority of massage therapists are legitimate, right? You know when Eliot Spitzer got his “massages” he didn’t actually call the concierge in the lobby, right? And while I’m sure the Hotel Lucia is lovely, if you were trying to get busted, you needed to have done it somewhere outside of the Northwest, where it takes four years for news to travel to the rest of the world (apparently). What’s next, getting caught on a security camera squeezing organic melons in the produce aisle of Whole Foods? I mean, come on.
Speaking of Eliot Spitzer, while Client No. 9 might not be a governor anymore, getting down and dirty with his socks on didn’t damage his reputation permanently (just ask CNN). You, on the other hand, are going to need to work overtime for folks to move past the image of you in a bathrobe eating a box of Moonstruck chocolates while asking the massage therapist to listen to Pink sing “Dear Mr. President” on your iPod.
It’d just be heartwarming to see you use all of this negative attention to your advantage, unless you feel like this Charlie Brown thing is working for you (and if so, you might be the only one). Give me a call when you’re ready to plot and scheme. There’s no reason why we can’t get you on top again (or for the first time).
Love (because if I didn’t love you, then I wouldn’t say anything. But let me just be clear – the kind of “love” I’m talking about will not result in me visiting your room for a “massage”),
More at meredithcarroll.com.
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Teachers are underpaid. They can’t find housing. Turnover is unacceptably high. If you are a teacher in Aspen today, you face losing your entire current work group five years hence.