The World Economic Forum in Davos, which attracts the world’s wealthiest and windiest bloviators, wrapped up this weekend. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt turned up, along with Michael Douglas, Peter Gabriel, retired tennis player Monica Seles, and other We Are The World Hollywood celebrity-types. (See here for embarrassingly star-struck slavering from an official World Economic Forum blogger).
But the most popular attraction was America’s biggest bloviator, William Jefferson Clinton, who charmed the audience with a same-sex marriage joke involving John McCain. More on that in a moment.
Clinton refrained from any Eason Jordan-esque musings, but kindled the fires of the Euro-pointy heads with lots of gooey “global society” talk–including ranking “climate change” and global inequality ahead of terrorism as the world’s most serious threats and making insipid pronouncements about how “people basically want to know that we’re on their side, that we wish them well, that we want the best for them, that we’re pulling for them.”
Still clueless after all these years.
Many skipped lunch to attend Clinton’s more than one-hour discussion with the forum’s founded, Klaus Schwab. “It’s as inspiring as always, it’s brilliant,” [corporate titan Richard] Branson said. Sheikh Fawzi El Zafzaf, president of the Permanent Committee for Dialogue among Monotheistic Religions at Alazhar Al-Sharif in Egypt, said he admired Clinton “very much.”
“The world needs this message because he calls for all people to work together for a better humanity, regardless of their differences,” he said.
“He lights up the room,” said Kendall Powell, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis, Minn.-based food and beverage company.
…Clinton was supposed to leave right after the session but he stood around, mobbed by Davos participants. Outside the hall, the photographers and forum staff waited patiently for a glimpse.
An International Herald Tribune reporter blogged:
He may be long out of office but the Masters of the Universe gathered here still got starry-eyed when Bill Clinton was interviewed in an auditorium packed to capacity. Looking haggard, with bags under his eyes, and wearing a multicolored African-style bracelet, Clinton nevertheless ranged eloquently on subjects from global warming to the future of Iraq, the election of Hamas and how to tame Iran…
…Many in the audience contrasted Clinton’s oratory prowess to his successor’s, and some waxed nostalgic for the days when he occupied the Oval Office. “He is just brilliant,’ said a British spectator. “Monica Lewinsky or not, when he was President, you just wanted to plant a flag on the White House lawn saying ‘ a real person lives here.”
Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans was listening. “He’s a great performer and then he’s got the greatest convening power of anyone now in the world, I think, and the greatest capacity to articulate things that matter,” said Evans, who now heads the International Crisis Group, a think tank.
At the end of the discussion, Klaus Schwab, the forum’s founder and organizer, asked Clinton what advice he would give the next U.S. president, noting that the next president might either be married to Clinton or listening in the audience–an apparent reference to Sen. John McCain, seated in the first row along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates and other invitees.
“In this world full of culturally charged issues I think we should make it clear that Senator McCain and I are not married,” Clinton joked. The audience burst into laughter. The cameras cut away to a chuckling Michael Douglas. As the global elite roared, Clinton guffawed: “Oooh, we’ll be on the news with that tonight!”
John McCain reveled in the attention of his good buddy, reported Newsday:
The comment earned Clinton a slap on the back from the Arizona Republican, who fought a crowd to get to the former president after the event.
“Interesting talk,” said the beaming possible 2008 presidential contender. “You got us both in trouble!”
And with that, the global elite retired after an exhausting week of saving the world by generating more hot air than any of the industrial sources they’re fighting so hard to curtail.
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