Bill Clinton understood a crude rule of show business – that, if you behave like a star, there are plenty of people who’ll treat you like one. The apotheosis of this theory was his interminable ambulatory entrance down mile after mile of corridor at the 2000 Democratic convention in Los Angeles, when Slick Willie finally out-Elvised Elvis – or, more accurately, out-Smarted the opening sequence of “Get Smart.”
Apparently, no one had thought to tell him to try to get within four miles of the stage before the introductory video ended. He was, by my calculations, outside the men’s room on Corridor G27, Sub-Basement Level 6 of the Staples Center. As he began the long, long, lo-oo-oo-oong televised walk to the podium the crowd watching the monitors cheered – and, 20 minutes later, after he’d strolled down the first three or four windowless tunnels of attractive luminous drywall, hung a left by the water cooler, taken the emergency stairs, cut across the stationery closet, moved smoothly through the boiler room and had still only reached the Coke machine on Sous-Mezzanine Level 4, and there was at least a mile and a half between him and the stage, and the Democratic activists out in the hall were beginning to figure they could get dinner and a movie and still be back in time for the last third of his walk-on, they were nevertheless still cheering.
In effect, President Clinton dared them not to cheer. Tom Jones wouldn’t have risked it. Engelbert Humperdinck would have balked. But, after eight years of talking the talk, Bill walked the walk. In the hall, the delegates’ hands were raw, bleeding stumps, but the Slickster knew that, even if he started his entrance in Idaho, those Dems would cheer him every step of the way.
His missus clearly thought that she could inherit some of that devotion, but the Democrats have found another magic boy, and Hillary’s like an old aunty trying to wiggle her hips as the DJ wonders how she got into this club. Poor thing.
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