I'll give you one example of the courtesy he showed me. There is one bedroom on that plane -- a government 757. There's a kind of VIP bedroom with its own bathroom. Then the next room has two tables and eight seats. He decided ahead of time that we want President Bush to have the front room, which was heaven for me, because if I don't stretch out, lie flat, I really hurt my body these days -- spoiled -- so anyway, he was going to have the other room. Well, he got in there and he wanted to play cards at night, and the next morning I got up and stuck my head in and I found him sound asleep on the floor of the plane. We could have switched places, each getting half a night on the bed, but he deferred to me. That was a very courteous thing, very thoughtful, and that meant a great deal to me.I have very strong, negative opinions about
With time to reflect, though, I have to say that Bill Clinton was a far better man than I thought he was. I retain a perfectly negative opinion of much of his staff, especially Ms. Reno. I know, too, that many of my readers retain a wholly negative opinion of Clinton himself.
Still, I can't help but feel a certain kinship with a poker-playing Southerner who feels it is important to give up the bed to an older gentleman, and who would never think of waking that gentleman out of his sleep halfway through the night in order to improve his own comfort. It is even more impressive when remembering that Clinton is himself a heart patient who nearly died only months ago.
Courtesy and chivalry are important components of the manly virtue of honor, and they impress me when I see them. The fact that there is so much to disagree about, the fact that I was sometimes horrified by certain actions the man took as President, the unfair and tenditious speeches he gave in favor of the recent Democratic presidential candidate, these things remain.
I think we must, though, remember the new facts too: his boldly pro-American words when speaking abroad to anti-American audiences; this kindness to an old gentleman. I salute the man for what he has done well. It is the sort of thing that means a great deal to me, too.