Only in America can one go from self-destructive scoundrel to respected elder statesman in less than a lifetime. Alexis de Tocqueville talked about the sloughing off of "skin" that America does, forever renewing itself from old to young, in contrast to what other cultures do.
What private energies and what public yearnings produce a creature like this and a national appetite for him? We are a people obsessed with such transformations and are always eager to be watching when such heros revert to type. It's as if we want to teach ourselves trite lessons derived from our own silly preoccupation with the rise and fall of humans, and from our need for reaffirmation of the fallibility of all and any.
I think the funniest thing I ever read about his appearance (and I wish I could recall whose words they were) was that "He doesn't have a head. He has a container for a head." Now my question is how does anyone end up with forehead furrows that go in both directions. Like plaid. Extraordinary.
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