The enigma that is Bill Clinton breezed through his Utah ski vacation in just slightly less than 48 hours, and he didn't even ski. Just sat in Jeffrey Katzenberg's Deer Valley estate and admired the view.
Then, just when you start thinking maybe you don't like this guy, this "lodge skier dude" who doesn't inhale and doesn't downhill, he goes into Dolly's on Park City's Main Street, selects the latest Grisham novel, lays it down on the counter and gets his credit card rejected.Hey, Mr. President, they told him. You're money's no good here, and they meant it.
This man, I found myself thinking once again, is not all bad.
Lots of people, they get their credit card rejected, they're embarrassed, they're flustered, they start digging through their pockets, they start looking for the exit, they ask the clerk to help the person in back of them. They do not handle it well.
Yes, I am speaking from experience.
Although whenever it's happened to me, I haven't had a backup plan. Like Clinton.
He had cash.
Or at least he had access to cash, needing to borrow just a few bucks from an aide. That is not all bad, either. Now there's one more person with extra incentive for you to keep your job. And when the American Express bill comes, no charges from Park City.
I can understand a president not carrying much cash. What does he need it for? Rental car. Paid for. Airline ticket. Already taken care of. Chelsea. Long gone back to Stanford.
Isn't that Clinton's brilliance -- his resilience? His total lack of losing composure, no matter what?
Bill Clinton walked out of Dolly's with more verve than when he walked in. Unflustered, unruffled, upbeat. And not a hint of "Don't they know who I am?!"
Somebody in the crowd baited him, asking why he decided to vacation in Utah, a place where he's finished third and second in the last two elections, a land where Democrats go to join the black-footed ferret on the endangered species list, and he answered, "It's a great place to be."
The kind of year Clinton's had, you'd think he'd be walking down Main Street with a permanent facial tic. You'd think he'd be talking to nobody but lawyers. His. You'd think he'd be snapping at people asking questions or wanting autographs, like Latrell Sprewell or somebody.
Come to think of it, you wouldn't think he'd be walking down Park City Main Street at all, since it is in the political district of Rep. Chris Cannon, a man who for the past six months has been bent on Bill Clinton's demise.
In the heart of Cannon Country, and Clinton walked down the street like he owned the place.
Maybe you don't like the tone of this. Maybe you think Bill Clinton is the devil himself, that he should have been driven from office at spear point, getting a nice tar shampoo as a going-away present.
Maybe you think he drops bombs, literally, when he's backed into a corner. Maybe you agree with Juanita and Paula and Kathleen and Gennifer and Linda. Maybe you think he's got his nerve.
Maybe you're right.
But for 48 hours he visited the not-too-sure, and it was us, and he spent time with his wife and daughter, on her birthday, and he strolled Main Street and complimented us and was friendly to us and shared a nice breath of Rocky Mountain February air with us.
It was a short pit stop, fitted in between Juanita Broaddrick last Thursday night on "Dateline" and Monica Lewinsky tonight on "20-20."
But I thought he looked very presidential, didn't you?
Lee Benson accepts faxes at 801-237-2527 and e-mail at [email protected] His column runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday.