By Mark Lacter
Los Angeles Daily News
Bill Clinton is fast approaching what I like to call the
cringe stage. This is the point where somebody in the public eye
tries so hard to please so many that whenever he shows up on the
screen, there's a temptation to press the mute button or change
channels or just get under a blanket. Cringing doesn't so much
involve contempt for the person involved as simple
It's not such a big deal when Jerry Lewis or Sally Field gives
you a case of the cringies, but the president of the United
States is something else again. And, sad to say, Clinton's
incessant attempts to be appreciated, especially as they relate
to the economy, make him one sorry-looking fella.
By appealing to every side of a very jagged populace, the
president impresses no one _ not New Age Democrats, not old-style
liberals and not the persuadable Republicans he so desperately
His visit to Southern California encapsulates all that is
misguided about the new administration's motives and ambitions.
There's nothing wrong with getting out of town every once in a
while to press the flesh, but the recent campaign stops are no
substitute for sound, coherent leadership. He's losing his punch
and he should be wise enough to realize it.
You don't need Lincoln to be reminded about the impossibility
of pleasing all the people all the time. Just ask a movie
executive. When Arnold Schwarzenegger stars in a blockbuster
summer release, don't expect many 75-year-old women to be buying
tickets. The studio could try broadening the interest by
inserting other footage, but why dilute the film's main selling
Bill Clinton won't concede too many audiences; it's not his
style. In Los Angeles and San Diego he aimed his sights at two
distinct constituencies and delivered two very different messages
_ no doubt serving to confuse both sides.
To the mostly middle-income centrists worried about the
deficit, higher taxes and what kind of economy their children
will inherit, his themes were strictly Ross Perot. Besides
explaining the importance of reduced government spending, he
implied that the phantom middle-class tax cut may end up
happening after all.
"I've got four years," Clinton told a San Diego audience
Monday night in hinting about an eventual tax break and once
again taking on more than he can deliver.
To the largely ethnic and underserved groups he met with in
the San Fernando Valley and South Central L. …