Monday, September 25, 2006

Bill Clinton, his own worst defender

It's an interesting idea but I don't think Bill Clinton "planned his tantrum" as Lynn Woolley writes in Human Events.

I am not convinced for two reasons: For one, his performance was so wildly unflattering that I can't believe he or anyone else thought it was helpful in reassuring liberals or useful in convincing moderates. Even the wild eyed Lefty ravers in the Democrat party for whom, like Howling Howard Dean, verbal assault is a preferred dialogue, Clinton looked particularly inept because he did not look quite in control and he scored no points. It's okay for Howling Howard to look maniacal and even Al Gore ("HE PLAYED ON OUR FEARS!") but you don't expect an ex-President to act like a loon, especially, most especially, not when he's raising billions to save the planet. Would you trust your billions to a guy who can't handle himself in a one-on-one interview?

The other reason I don't think the tantrum was planned was because it accomplished nothing. It relegated his Save The Planet campaign to a secondary concern, and it inconveniently reaffirmed the opinion of those who dislike Hillary that Bill will always be a liability to her ambitions because He. Just. Can't. Shut. Up.

The fact is that Bill Clinton has always been his own worst defense. In the black hole of modern journalism that kind of thing would have disappeared forever. It would be only distantly repeated, vaguely remembered - like Rhwanda. That's no longer true. The fraudulent Dan Rather story with faked memos about GW Bush's National Guard duty did not disappear into oblivion. Plamegate didn't flush down the black hole and swirl away when the media lost the advantage and the truth emerged. Bill Clinton's infamous "It depends upon what your definition of 'is' is." can be found somewhere in the ether.

I once told a cabbie in London when he asked what I thought of Clinton right after his first election victory. I said then and I still maintain, that he was our first and last media president. They and Clinton just haven't caught on yet.

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