September 29, 2006

Why Clinton pushed back

E.J. Dionne in WaPo:
Bill Clinton's eruption on "Fox News Sunday" last weekend over questions about his administration's handling of terrorism was a long time coming and has political implications that go beyond this fall's elections.

By choosing to intervene in the terror debate in a way that no one could miss, Clinton forced an argument about the past that had up to now been largely a one-sided propaganda war waged by the right. The conservative movement understands the political value of controlling the interpretation of history. Now its control is finally being contested.

How long have Clinton's resentments been simmering? We remember the period immediately after Sept. 11 as a time when partisanship melted away. That is largely true, especially because Democrats rallied behind President Bush. For months after the attacks, Democrats did not raise questions about why they had happened on Bush's watch.

But not everyone was nonpartisan. On Oct. 4, 2001, a mere three weeks and a couple of days after the twin towers fell and the Pentagon was hit, there was Rush Limbaugh arguing on the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page: "If we're serious about avoiding past mistakes and improving national security, we can't duck some serious questions about Mr. Clinton's presidency."

To this day I remain astonished at Limbaugh's gall -- and at his shrewdness. Republicans were arguing simultaneously that it was treasonous finger-pointing to question what Bush did or failed to do to prevent the attacks, but patriotic to go after Clinton. Thus did they build up a mythology that cast Bush as the tough hero in confronting the terrorist threat and Clinton as the shirker. Bad history. Smart politics.
Read more.

3 Comments:

At 9/29/2006 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you kidding - Clinton staged the event so that Hillary had a valid excuse to not go on Fox as she ran for President - allowing her to dodge hardballs that Fox, but likely none of the other news stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN) will throw at her.

 
At 9/29/2006 6:37 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon, I think you need a new tinfoil hat.

 
At 9/29/2006 9:06 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I think Clinton had good intentions and I agree with Rudy Giuliani that some folks are getting a little carried away in blaming Bill Clinton. (Then again, I still struggle with the whole thing about FDR & Pearl Harbor so maybe I am a little naive)

Remember, Clinton from Day 1 was elected with a mandate to tackle domestic policy. Remember-"It's the economy stupid". So that is why foreign policy, defense, and national security was never Clinton's cup of tea or his strong suit. Even his fans will admit that. At worst, it was a case of benign neglect. I will stand by Buzz Patterson's book "Derelict of Duty" as the best source.

On a different blog a couple days ago you asked me to document all of Clinton's lies. I don't want to ignore that. I used to have a SPY magazine from about 1992 or 1993 that had a list of 100 of them. That was early in the game! The SPY article was valid because it was not part of any "propaganda mill". You can also do an internet search. I am sure it is all documented.

Off the top of my head, we all remember the "middle class tax cut". I think my favorite lie of all time was when Clinton promised Arkansas voters that if they re-elected him governor in 1990, he would NOT run for president.

Sure, politicians lie about term limits and "not running" all the time. And I think it is very wrong and unethical every time it happens. This lie is especially significant because somebody should have stayed in Arkansas and he went back on his word and ended up getting elected President.

 

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