Why Bill Clinton Pushed Back
The Washington Post's liberal guy, EJ Dionne, throws in his two cents, courtesy of the Daily Kos:
My canvassing of Clinton insiders suggests two things about his outburst on "Fox News Sunday." First, he did not go into the studio knowing he would do it. There was, they say, a spontaneity to his anger. But, second, he had thought long and hard about comparisons between his record on terrorism and Bush's. He had his lines down pat from private musing about how he had been turned into a punching bag by the right. Something like this, one adviser said, was bound to happen eventually.
Sober, moderate opinion will say what sober, moderate opinion always says about an episode of this sort: Tut tut, Clinton looked unpresidential, we should worry about the future, not the past, blah, blah, blah.
But sober, moderate opinion was largely silent as the right wing slashed and distorted Clinton's record on terrorism. It largely stood by as the Bush administration tried to intimidate its own critics into silence. As a result, the day-to-day political conversation was tilted toward a distorted view of the past. All the sins of omission and commission were piled onto Clinton while Bush was cast as the nation's angelic avenger. And as conservatives understand, our view of the past greatly influences what we do in the present.Click here for the rest.
Sorry to keep harping on this topic, but I see it as a major watershed event in American politics. The sober moderate opinion that Clinton threw to the wind last Sunday is the same thing that Republicans have been ignoring to their benefit for years. With the aid of the sober moderate press and a prevailing attitude among Democrats of sober moderation, the fiery pack of pit bulls known as the GOP agitated, screamed, and whined so consistently, year after year, that they successfully pulled what was once understood as the political middle well to the right. Today's moderates are, by the standards used two decades ago, actually conservative. Even Bill Clinton, who entered office in 1993 with grand plans for health care reform and inclusion of homosexuals in the military, fell victim to this shift of the middle--he never attempted anything as liberal ever again. Clearly, being nice only works if everybody's doing it; it's pure capitulation if only one side is being nice, which may be the one of the biggest reasons our country is so screwed right now.
Democrats have been bringing knives to the Republican gun fight for so long that I've essentially written them off. Finally, the one guy that all Democrats respect decided that enough is enough and sawed off his shotgun. Fuck the sober moderates. This is war. I hope to god that the rest of the party isn't as stupid as they appear to be, and take Elvis' call to arms seriously.
Maybe someday I'll be able to vote for one of them without sighing.