Bill & Barry

Two public figures brought low by scandals of their own making, both outed in politically motivated trials (let’s not forget John Ashcroft’s role in the BALCO prosecution), their legacies tarnished. Of course we’re thinking of Bill Clinton and Barry Bonds. Their stories parallel. We all knew about Bill’s philandering, just as we suspected Barry might be using performace enhancers. So what do we do now? Bill Clinton has a new presidential library, a handsome building devoted almost exclusively to his accomplishments, his scandals whitewashed. How his story is integrated into the greater American story is yet to be determined, but we hope the focus will be on the positive, with a healthy examination of the disgraceful right-wing political smearing that has done so much damage to our nation. In similar vein, we hope the future will celebrate Bonds’s spectacular achievements without hiding his flaws or ostracizing him to a cathedral of his own making, but the more crucial issue will be how the game deals with the nasty problem of steroid abuse. We’ll be watching.

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  • Wow, that’s a determined stretch, by any measure. Clinton and Bonds hardly demand any kind of equivalency – Clinton cheated on his wife and then was impeached in a witchhunt that began with an investigation that cost 50M bucks and proved nothing, whereas Bonds has admitted to taking steroids (knowingly or unknowingly, believe what you will) that are now a confirmed smear on the game of baseball, and inidicative of a systemic cancer. Clinton’s sexual foibles did nothing to prove the flawed nature of the presidency, whereas Bonds and Giambi expose that the entire game might be rotting from within.
    The difference is that Bonds accompishments are smeared indelibly, and rightfully so, unlike Clinton’s. Why should we remember the “great accomplishments” of Bonds when it’s clear he wouldn’t have been so great without cheating? Clinton was great despite his cheating. There’s an enormous difference.

    SF December 4, 2004, 1:27 pm
  • Bond’s accomplishments would have been great, the question is just how great. Sadly, we will forever be stuck asking ourselves this.
    As for Bonds and Clinton, I do not mean to assert a moral equivalency, but simply to note their similar trajectories.

    YF December 6, 2004, 12:51 am
  • Bonds was a tremendous player pre-steroids, but the accomplishments of the last 5 years that have put him into the pantheon of baseball gods have all been due to the impact of the steroids. So he was a great talent, yes, but a totally different type of talent, now he’s an artificially enhanced one.

    SF December 6, 2004, 7:20 am