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GAIL WOODS With George Bush, it has become obvious that “the clothes have no emperor.” He has little interest in government, except as a backdrop for his travels, and little awareness of American life, except as presented in focus groups. The Disappearing Emperor BY JAMES MCCARTY YEAGER y OU CAN SEE the mantle of authority slipping off the shoulders of George Bush these days. Every time he tries to shrug off the economy, or the Constitution’s inconvenient provisions for legislative interference in Presidential plans, it slides a little more. What is more astonishing than the President’s wholly inevitable loss of composure is that you can see Bill Clinton visibly beginning to shoulder the burden of leadership. Gov . Clinton is practicing being President on a daily basis, and starting to look better at it than the office’s disdainful titular occupant. President Bush has two modes: frantic and bored, which he evidently mistakes for “energized” and “calm.” Boredom has sufficed for most of his term, but, to his evident chagrin, no longer does so. Now he’s frantic, and surprised that the public is not noticeably reassured by it. Meanwhile, Clinton proceeds methodically and cheerfully to propound the limited amounts of change the Democrats have been able to agree upon; and, desperate as is the nation’s plight, so little almost seems like enough. Clinton has learned how to turn aside the opposition’s barbs. He doeS not employ the sneer which nowadays seems so much the natural expression of Bush and Quayle that you wonder how they ever found time for self-righteousness. Instead, Clinton ripostes always with a light remark, varied occasionally with dismayed disbelief at the depths of deceit his opponents are evidently determined not only to plumb but to extend. Clinton seems to be earning the Presidency the old-fashioned way: by providing the electorate with some notion of how he would govern, a task clearly beyond his opponent’s attainments or desires. Although his early September education policy speech in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Rockville, Md., was overshadowed by the media frenzy over his draft record, Clinton spoke with emotion and conviction about the need for combining the structure of the GI Bill with the service ethic of the Peace Corps as a means of financing post-high school education for a larger proportion of the population. Speaking at a county junior college that despite being funded by the state’s richest county, has undergone $4 million in budget cutbacks over the last two years, Clinton pushed education, including job retraining, as the James McCarty Yeager, who lived in Houston when George Bush was a pro-choice Republican congressman, now edits Minority Business Report in Bethesda, Maryland. 8 OCTOBER 2, 1992