In 2001, in the opening months of his ex-presidency, Bill Clinton confided to an aide that he had decided on his dream job for the next chapter of his life: secretary general of the United Nations.
The goal may not be realistic, he acknowledged, but he then went on to analyze all the factors in minute detail, as though he were preparing for a political campaign: whether a U.S. president would ever see fit to back him, for one, and what it would take to persuade other nations to bend the long-standing tradition that the top job does not go to someone from a country with permanent status on the U.N. Security Council.
His ambition, as the aide described it, was both breathtaking and entirely logical for a natural-born politician who had reached the top of the American political ladder: "president of the world."
Four years later, say several associates who have spoken with him in recent months, Clinton regards his dream of leading the United Nations as something more than a flight of fancy and something less than a serious prospect. Already, however, he has succeeded to a surprising degree in fashioning his ex-presidency to make himself a dominant player on the world stage.
What is the high pitched whining sound I hear? Oh, that must be the collective conscious of the wingnut hive getting ready to explode.