I have returned from Atlanta, but down with a cold or something equally debilitating. I flatter myself in repeating what Leonato says to Antonia in Much Ado About Nothing: "There was never yet philosopher/That could endure the tootache patiently." Im going home in a few minutes, after a visit to the doctor (Vicki thinks I have pnemounia). The two paragraphs below were sent to me by a significant person, whom I shall call Bolingbroke. It is both perceptive and well written and, alas, seems true.
I have been watching television. I have seen Clinton in operation at an event in Iowa? with Harkin and some Demo candidates for president and then at Los Angeless AME something or other Church with Gray Davis present (live on Sunday). The man is rolling. He is better than he has ever been. He is utterly confident--disgustingly so, to one of certian persuasions, of course--more drawlingly folksy than ever, full of hogs and swill imagery, brilliantly and viciously partisan, painting the Democrats as pragmatic middle of the roaders favoring prosperity for everybody, and Republicans as captives of Big Business, a self-conscious celebrity, the obviously most important person in the room--or in the field--offering gratitude to everyone who had ever been associated with him--that is everyone--stirring energy and confidence in the crowd, as no one present could do. He alone is proof of the potency of the Democrat challenge; he will be everywhere, in California and elsewhere, where Democrats regroup in the coming months.
And I saw Donald Rumsfeld, in a tape of a September 10 or thereabouts national press club gig. The man has aged. He appears an old man as he never has, not in his appearance so obviously, as in the public workings of his famous mind. Self-doubt has crept in, as it should do in those who recognize that their faculties, on which they have relied confidently all their lives, are beginning to fail them. Private prediction--he has already put in for retirement and is waiting for the first graceful opportunity to effect it. Quiverings of uncertainty will shimmer throughout the administration and the public and will be readily recognized by our enemies. Handling his replacement will be a delicate and important part of the next stage of the administrations ensuring all concerned that it is a ship on an even keel.