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Question of the Day: William Jefferson Clinton and William Jefferson

One is the former president of the United States who recently made headlines by helping free imprisoned journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee of Current Network who were being held by the North Koreans. The other is a Louisiana politician recently charged on 11 of 16 counts of charges such as racketeering and money laundering. One, once highly popular with African Americans (and in some quarters, still is), used up a lot of his good will bashing then candidate Barack Obama during his wife’s run for president. The other, also popular within the black community in Louisiana, narrowly lost his reelection and is now facing possible prison time.

The question of the day is: Can these comeback kids make comebacks? Did Clinton’s rescue of Ling and Lee, or anything he’s done post-election, change your view of Clinton? Will Jefferson follow the route of past black politicians where no matter what he does there will be a base there to support him, a la Washington, D.C.’s Marion Berry?

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22 thoughts on “Question of the Day: William Jefferson Clinton and William Jefferson

  1. Madhavi says:

    Since this story is about William Jefferson & William Jefferson Clinton surely you could have found a pic of the latter w/o President Obama in the shot. It only seems right and fair imo.

  2. miss kate says:

    I think this is definitely going to be a feather in WJC’s cap,especially among those who liked him way back when. I was honestly a little surprised at the number of "I Heart Bill Clinton!!!!" facebook status updates I saw yesterday. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he done good, but wasn’t he like the AntiChrist about a year ago? I’m wondering if he’ll be able to pull off a Jimmy-Carter style statesman-behind-the-scenes comeback over the next few years…or if his need to be THE MAN at all times will continue to get in the way. Should be interesting to watch.RE: WJ: I don’t know anything about him, so will refrain from commenting on his situation…I am, however, from The Land of the Fords and they’ve managed to get away with some fairly annoying stuff over the years and retain a very loyal voter base. Not to mention the (to me) inexplicable love people have for my city’s now former (um…I think–he threatens to retire like every 6 months) black mayor, whose shenanigans are just off the chain. So I’d say we probably can’t underestimate the racial loyalties of some black Southerners, especially for people perceived to have "done good" in some way, even if it was 30 years ago.

  3. Brandi says:

    I love how you tied these two together. I for one still like Bill Clinton. He did what he had to do to support his wife. All’s fair in love and politics, right? I don’t know the ins and outs of how these international prison releases go, but I’d guess that more people were involved in the orchestration with North Korea. Let’s face it, Kim Jong Il is insane. Was he just waiting for the right person to ask for the prisoner’s release? Perhaps Clinton was chosen so he could redeem himself in the public eye. There’s always a “powers that be” in every situation. On Jefferson. Louisiana politics is so dirty that you come to expect this from your local leader. Many people in Louisiana still love former Governor Edwin Edwards who’s been in jail for years for racketeering. Jefferson could make a comeback but he was not the loveable asshole politician type. Jefferson kept most of his corruption schemes in the family so now he’s got his whole family facing indictments – including his mother.

  4. Jefferson wasn’t charged on"11 of 16 charges"; he was convicted on 11 of the 16 counts with which he was charged. (And outside of the similarity of their names and them both being politicians, what do these two cats have in common?)

  5. NAGROM says:

    Bill Clinton still has the love. He was just supporting his wife during her candidacy. Did people expect him to be doing summersaults for Barack Obama? What is the problem with him? He is and will always be one of black peoples favorite Presidents no matter what, President Obama or not. I see we are so soon to forget though. SMH.

  6. NAGROM says:

    Brandi exactly. Ugh, do you like the man or not? If you don’t like him now then it is for not supporting Obama during his wife’s candidacy for President!!!!!LOL. Y’all are tripping. First of all Hillary was qualified, more than Obama some may even argue and she was a frontrunner. Ofcourse Clinton being the Politician that he is was upset that his wife didn’t win.

  7. NOLA says:

    @Brandi:You are so right about Edwin Edwards and Jefferson. I know tons of people who still support Jefferson and had "my heart and prayers go out to the Jefferson family" facebook statuses yesterday. Many Blacks continually support politicians like Jefferson because they feel that although he might be a little corrupt, he still has the Black community’s interests at heart.

  8. swiv says:

    Bill Clinton is the best President this country has had in the last 50 years. My opinion of him will always be high. he doesn’t need to come back. obama should hope to have even be comparable to clinton when his time is up. and if you look at the tale of the tape between hills and barry, hills was the better candidate on paper. barry was just a little more charismatic in getting voters. most people will be woo’d by great speeches in lieu of great leadership.

  9. dkan71 says:

    Hill and Bill both earned some pretty serious demerits during the campaign for the level of race-baiting shadiness in which they engaged. Shadiness that I don’t even think was authentic for them, merely opportunistic. I’m not sure which is worse. In terms of their rehabilitation, they made their biggest leaps for me, when the delivered big time at the Democratic Convention last year. Since then, they’ve both proved that they can be valuable and trusted team players, more so than I gave them credit for during the election season. I respect them enormously for what they bring to the table in terms of competency, intellect, political connections and plain hard work. That said, the love sure ain’t what is used to be, and it’s likely that won’t return. Which is fine, really, because I’m fairly certain they’re not staying up nights fretting over that anyway.

  10. Monie says:

    Bill Clinton is a race-baiter when it suits him. I’ve never seen a major politician throw an entire voting block under the bus the way Bill and Hillary did when they became desperate. That’s something I won’t forget.

  11. Brandi says:

    @ NAGROM The way black folk loved Bill Clinton the only reason to not like him now is b/c of the way he came at Obama during the primary elections. I still like him eventhough I too had a WTF moment during the primaries. And, I was one of those who thought Hillary was more qualified than Obama. Hillary had/has too many enemies and she doesn’t work well across party lines. I really think that politics is all a big game and they are all friends in their private lives.

  12. B.Y. says:

    @TheSnob Why you have to drag Marion into this with that last sentence? You coulda said Kwame K. Or even David P. I ain’t a fan of any of those charlatans but at least as a D.C. native, I know what Marion did for me. If it wasn’t for his Summerworks program, which pays the summer salaries of thousands of teens annually to work in law firms and public agencies, I would probably be someone’s mama right now. I got my first taste of the better life and the rewards of higher education at 12 as a summer secretary’s assistant at a law firm and the next year I clerked for the Congressional Black Caucus. For all his crazy, cracked up, non taxpaying, hypocritical bull — at least I know I’m living proof of the good he has accomplished in his life. So for me, Snob, can we just let him be?

  13. willet784 says:

    I don’t think Hillary and Bill have a racist bone in there bodies. Bill tried to make his administration reflect America and black people did relatively well under him. I remember before the primaries started that Bill gave an interview on Nightline in Africa and the reporter asked him why was he so interested in Africa and Bill gave him this "What the hell, what do you mean by ‘Why I’m interested in Africa?’ People are sick and I want to help so I am helping you moran." But what he said was that the little girls there, who were suffering from tuberculosis and malaria, reminded him of his daughter and that’s why he was so interested in helping in Africa. And I just loved him for that because you could tell he really cared. Which is why the hateration he unleashed on Barack was incomprehensible to me save for the fact that it was opportunistic, which made it even worse. They knew better and didn’t do better. Also, it was a dumb strategy to do after Obama based on race after O had won Iowa and the next primaries were going to be in Southern states where the Democrats are mostly black and Michelle had people and knew how to advocate for her husband. The whole ‘whitey,’ really proud of my country attacks came because they saw that Michelle was a great advocate and a potential political force herself ir she desires. What Bill and Hill should have done was rekindle to good feelings that Black people had for them–Bill nominated so many black people for posts during his administration…and Hillary did great work in the Senate. Going after Barack in such a personal way was petty. Bill and Hill did it because they felt it would get them low-information white votes and to me, to sacrifice all the good will they had with black people to get ignorant white folks just said demonstrated to me a lack of character that they would do anything for power. One of the things I admired about Obama was that he could have went there personally on Hill and McCain and he did not and people admired him for it. Obama could have won Arizona but said told the team not to go too harsh there b/c that was McCain’s home state. And he only lost by 5% points. You can’t tell me if McCain could have won in Illinois he would have had mercy on O. And to me, to have that sort of restraint tells me there are just some things you will not do. And I want someone who has limits in the White House. And the race baiting they did was a prelude to what McCain and Palin tried to pull. If Hillary hadn’t done, I don’t think McCain would have went there.But I do sympathize with Bill defending Hillary. I think Bill he went to bat so much because I think he felt getting her elected would make up for how he embarrassed her with Jennifer Flowers, Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky. And I think to make up for that guilt he had he would have cut anyone in the way and Barack was in the way–he had opposed the war from the beginning, was charismatic and knew how to win people over. I also think that he saw in Barack the sexual restraint and discipline Obama has and was jealous because if Bill just knew how to keep it in his pants, he would have been a really great president. You can even see right now when you see pictures of PBO and Hillary she obviously admires him and sees a lot of the same character traits in him that made Bill great without the sexual promiscuity. I think Maureen Dowd said Hill finally got the man of her dreams in PBO. So, I will always respect Bill for what he did for black folks but I have to wonder if he had knocked his head on a nightstand right after that Nightline interview before the primaries started.

  14. bruthaman1 says:

    i live in new orleans right now and the politics here are no more dirty than anywhere else. jefferson more than likely is a crook. but that does not change the fact this was a selective prosecution by karl roves dept. of justice. if any of you followed the case (which i doubt) you would have seen that the gov’ts case was flimsy at best. at the last minute the gov’t decided that they could not put their star witness on the stand. this is the lady they built their case around. how long is obama going to keep roves politically positioned U.S. attorneys in power. is jefferson going to get the same treatment of ted stevens of alaska. probally not. its sad to say but alot of black people hitched their wagon onto obama and it looks like its just the same ole same ole white power structure in america.

  15. Brandi says:

    I know enough about the Jefferson case to comfortably say that this was not a witch hunt featuring the innocent black man. I remember when Jefferson first hit the political scene, he was good. But, years of governmental corruption have maybe forced him to behave in a certain way. Don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry for him and his family and I know from personal experience how this feels. In Louisiana politics, specifically N.O. politics, it is almost impossible to not get caught up in nefarious dealings. Those who take the high road are often shut out of lucrative deals. It’s the nature of the beast. Here’s the sad part. When whites ruled the world of N.O. politics it was the same dirty game but without consequences. Now that blacks are in on it, the Feds want to crack down. Bottom line is, no mater what color you are, if you’ve broken the law you’re subject to punnishment if you are caught.

  16. Scott says:

    I voted for WJC the first time but he lost by the end of the first term and by the end of the second I was disgusted with him. I can only hope that WJC becomes like Cater a better ex-pres than he was as a pres.B.Y:The comparison b/t Jefferson and Barry is quite accurate and warranted. On second thought maybe not, b/c Jefferson was only taking bribes as far as we know and not smoking crack with hookers. But either way there were those voters that stuck with them both out of what I can only assume was some misguided sense of racial loyalty. Barry and those voters turned my hometown into a punchline for comics and seemed to confirm to everyone why D.C. wasn’t fit to govern itself. Let’s also not forget what that incident did to Effi Barry and the family.

  17. Robert M says:

    I have never liked the clintons period. the obvious obseqeousness of them was to much to take. You must like me, I will make you like me no matter what was always cover for it is just about me. President Obama will rue the day he let that nest of vipers back into the WH.Greed is Rep Jeffersons downfall. At his age he may have nothing to come back to when he is released from jail but he will be his own man.

  18. dkan71 says:

    @ Robert M….sugar lumpkin, honey-baby-darlin’-sugar pie….you can’t use a $10 word like obsequiousness, spell it incorrectly and then miss the extra ‘o’ on ‘too’ to boot. That is a pseudo-intellectual fail of the highest order. *said with affection*

  19. BluTopaz says:

    monie said: I’ve never seen a major politician throw an entire voting block under the bus the way Bill and Hillary did when they became desperate. ITA: II liked the Clintons a lot too, but ‘ll never forget Bubba’s "well Jesse Jackson won South Carolina too" sentiment during the campaign, and Hillary’s implication that Obama could be assassinated like Kennedy comment. Clinton was a good president and deserves respect for his leadership, but I have never understood the undying love and devotion he has from many Black Americans, esp after this last campaign. And it was like Hillary said fukk it, we’ll pander to the Hispanic vote instead this time.

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