The New York Times thinks a Bill Clinton TV show is “not so much like a good idea or a bad idea as an inevitable idea.” In fact, the “idea of a former president wading into the audience with a microphone actually doesn’t seem all that shocking.” I’m not sure shocked is how I feel. How about: disgusted.
The editorial also briefly wonders if such a show will be a hit considering liberals “have never been very successful at the talk show format, a problem currently being underlined by Phil Donahue’s faltering comeback attempt on MSNBC.” I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this lately. I’ll have more to say later. But I think George Lakoff’s book, Moral Politics, provides some answers. In short (and over simplified), the cognitive metaphors that form the liberal world view make it difficult for them to take on the role of, as the NYT puts it, the “irreverent outsider.” In other words, Phil can’t do Rush. But Bill is good at Bill, and that may be enough.
UPDATE: A media column in The Boston Globe treats the Bill Show as inevitable. It includes advice on possible formats.