We’ve visited a couple other presidential libraries, but none of Presidents who served within our voting lives. Of course, a familiarity with the accomplishments, political strife and various scandals of William Jefferson Clinton’s two-terms as president made the Clinton Presidential Library more intriguing, but also made the visit a tad shorter than those to Lincoln, Carter or JFK’s presidential library.
After passing through the security checkpoint, we purchased tickets and made our way to the second floor where we watched the fifteen minute film of Clinton’s life up to and following his first presidential election.
We walked through a replica of the Cabinet Room and then a year-by-year recap. After reviewing all his proudest accomplishments (enacted with a Republican Congress) – FMLA, reducing poverty and welfare reform, The Brady Bill and 22 million new jobs to name a few – Kimmer mentioned that he was struck by the revered status that placed upon our leaders at these “shrines,” but we were surprised that this particular library didn’t avoid the toughest topic of his presidency, his affair with Monica Lewinsky and subsequent impeachment.
But, this too is probably due to how recent this particular presidency was. It will be interesting to visit in 15-20 years. Perhaps it’s true that time heals all wounds, or at least makes the most tarnished metals shine again.
We longed a bit for real compromise and leadership before moving to the third level where there was a replica Oval Office (pretty standard fare for a presidential library) and a collection of significant personal and White House trinkets.
Finally, we perused displays about Bill’s childhood and other mementos from his time in the White House.
Of course our review would not be complete without suggesting that you check out the shape of the museum, and draw your own conclusion about how it’s…. uhm… erected?