“The man knows how to build a crowd," former president Bill Clinton said of Pope John Paul II.
Well, so much for thoughtful commentary on the late Pope John Paul II from that particular source. Not that I had expected much better. Bill Clinton is incapable of analyzing any situation objectively. Regardless of how momentous the circumstances, the bottom line must always relate to him and his personal world view.
Clinton stated that John Paul II had “played a role in hastening the end of communism in central Europe.” Oh, yes, maybe just a little! He also called John Paul "a consistent voice for human dignity in the face of political oppression and modern materialism." Not bad, I can give that statement a couple of points. But he went on to say that the pontiff "centralized authority in the papacy again and enforced a very conservative theological doctrine that there will be debates about."
Okay, there may be debates, but this isn’t the Senate floor, Bill. In the final analysis, John Paul II had only One constituent to keep content. He made it his mission to fulfill that commitment on a daily basis.
"He's like all of us. He may have a mixed legacy.” Clinton mused.
Excuse me, Bill, but I don’t think so. I don’t believe that Pope John Paull II was “like all of us.” In fact, I’m hard pressed to find any similarity between these two men, except perhaps some minor correlation in the area of personal charisma. Even in popular appeal, a Clinton trademark, John Paul II leaves him in the dust. “A mixed legacy” such as Clinton’s is the result of deceit and dishonesty, reflected clearly in the surprisingly low attendance levels at the Clinton Library. But the millions of people flooding Rome to bid farewell to John Paul II knew exactly where he stood on every issue of his time, and they loved and respected him for that.
By characterizing John Paul II as just another good ol’ boy, Clinton may allow himself to feel more of an equal to John Paul II. The former president may take comfort in projecting his own faults and deficiencies onto the late pontiff. But these self-serving remarks merely display further examples of Clinton’s relentless narcissism.
“I found him a very complete person," Clinton added. Oh, Bill, if you only knew.