Joy-Ann Reid

Joy-Ann Reid
Pembroke Pines, Florida, USA
December 08
Journalist and talk radio personality in South Florida. Also blogging daily at


Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 5, 2009 10:19AM

Great job, Bill Clinton

Rate: 10 Flag

I was tough on Bill Clinton (and Hillary Clinton) during the 2008 campaign, on my blog and on the radio. Like many African-Americans, I had what you might call a disharmonious divergence from my former status as a "Clinton Democrat," due to the harshness of the primary campaign with Barack Obama. So I think it's only fair that I be equally effusive in praising the former president when he does good. Well, Bill Clinton, you "done good."

According to NBC's Andrea Mitchell (on MSNBC this morning), Clinton stepped in when negotiations being worked through by his former vice president, Current TV chief Al Gore, went as far as they could go -- North Korea didn't want Gore to come and retrieve the detained journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who had been held since March. They wanted the former president. And so, this time according to CNN, after "due dilligence" and a briefing by the Obama administration, the husband of our secretary of state flew to North Korea, gave the wacky NK dictator his photo op, and brought the two women home to their families. I'm sure more details of the dramatic rescue mission will unfold (journalists love this stuff, and I'm sure the made-for-TV movie, books and feature films are already being cooked up in the minds of New York and Hollywood...) but for now, what we know is that a coordinated mission between three once disparate factions of the Democratic Party -- the Gore, Clinton and Obama wings -- came together with a phenomenal result:



I'm sure right wingers won't be able to bring themselves to be happy for the families of these women, or to join the rest of the nation in thanking the former president on behalf of all decent members of the human family. But no matter. Who needs them. Thank you, President Clinton, and congratulations on a job well done.

Once again, I think we've established that Republicans may make a lot more noise, but Democrats actually get things done.

Cross-posted at The Reid Report.

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While I do agree that Mr. Clinton closed the negotiations, Mrs. Clint is the real hero here. Her diplomacy put it all together; the N. Koreans wanted a media event and she organized it. My congratulations go to her.
Joy-Ann, I agree that former President Clinton did a great thing. His work around the world since he left office has been phenomenal. And despite the difficult primary, The Clintons & President Obama have formed a great alliance that will bring about many good diplomatic results around the world.

The lesson here that the world should learn is - diplomacy works and it can be done at many levels - all achieving peaceful results.

- rated
Chalk another well reasoned solution up to diplomacy. I hope the Afghanistan captors are watching with regard to the "hikers" there, and the missing soldier. Reasonable adults are back in charge in America. Cooperate while the nuts are poring over fake birth certificates.
Not yet seen Hillary not try her best and work her hardest at whatever she picks to do. And that is all that one CAN do. As a fellow fighter in life, I say she is one hell of a woman!

Kudos to her! her husband who is an absolute leader and Kudos to President Obama and administration for the fantastic work done so discreetly and SO-O well.
Well done indeed!
While it's good to see the two women free, I don't think we should go overboard here. As diplomacy goes, this was probably a pretty easy case: "You send us Clinton for photo-op, we give you the prisoners."

The real issues with North Korea will be harder nuts to crack. This thing was always mostly kabuki (though not for the two women, of course).
I hadn't realized Al Gore's role here, and truth be told, he is an unsung hero as well. What I mean is that he apparently put his ego aside and brought in the big gun. I used to wonder why Bush didn't bring Jimmy Carter on board during his supposed diplomacy efforts with Saddam Hussein--he claimed, after all, that he had exhausted all efforts. But of course he would never have let someone overshadow him that way, especially someone from the other party. I think Gore has always been in Clinton's shadow and it seems that he was here too. I'm glad he prioritized the journalists and their families.
Can you imagine being Laura and Euna in all of this? Having no idea what was taking place and being told they were going to a "meeting" with no further instruction, only to have Bill Clinton walk through that door? I can only imagine how surreal, yet euphoric that moment must have been. Kudos to the whole team for a job well done.
Whoever stepped on the stage and put on the show; or wrote and directed the play, I am just glad to see the return of diplomacy and intelligence to our dealings with intractable situations in other countries.

North Korea, however, did this as a bargaining ploy, and I want to know what bargain was struck. There will be more detained individuals, since N. Korea has a history of using detainees to extract agreements.
Zum - you're right. On the other hand, I was interested and amused to see Bill end up where he always wanted to go and now had the freedom to go because he wasn't "constrained" by touchy official government negotiations.

Oh, to be a Korean-speaking fly on THAT wall!
If it is not a game, although I am glad they are back.
i'm surprised they let him near to young women who had reason to feel grateful. probably had closed circuit ty on him the whole time.

slick willy is my hero, a politician, yes, but one whose failings were relatively forgivable since personal. he didn't start wars for fun, and tried to bring health cover to all. even obl just got a few cruise missiles, not a death rain spreading hatred throughout afghanistan.

america will come to regard his reign as last of the golden age of empire.
Bill Beck's comment says it all: "Reasonable adults are back in charge in America. "

Makes a hard assed agnostic like me wanna say, "Thank GOD!"
Don't be so quick to judge us "right-wingers," please. I cried for joy in the middle of a car dealership waiting room this morning watching the reunions, and I am grateful to President Clinton and VP Gore. I never liked them when they were in office (duh), but today I looked at them and thought, "Democrat, Republican, Martian . . . today they're being true American statesmen, and God bless them."

I haven't felt this warm and fuzzy toward President Clinton since my deep concern for him during his heart operation.

I think of it as Top Gun-style bi-partisanship. On a day-to-day basis, Democrats and Republicans engage in a tug-of-war for the future direction of the country. But when push comes to shove, when it's USA against the world, "We're all on the same team out there."

Throwing in cheap shots against "right-wingers," as if we don't appreciate others' love for their families, is just mean and unnecessary in this context.
SEE! I *told* them he was a gooden! I always liked Bill, even when everybody else hated him.
Clinton did a great job of closing the deal. A lot of people bashed this man, but the truth is he did a lot of good for this country as President and is doing a lot of good in the world after his Presidency. Look at what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are doing now - hiding. I'd love to see the Clinton's back in the White House after Obama is maxed out by term limits.
Chalk up one for the good guys

My issues with the Clenis go back further. He signed DOMA and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." For this, I wrote Clinton off and never forgave him. His antics during the campaign were blatantly racist and yet, I wasn't surprised, since I have a lowly opinion of him anyway.

But, his work winning the release of these two American women was truly stellar. I think President Obama may have chosen the wrong Clinton for Secretary of State.