Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’
July 19th, 2010 at 2:21 pm
More Wisdom from Across the Pond
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As CFIF’s own Ashton Ellis chronicled last week, we’re living in an era where developments in British politics hold many salient lessons for those of us slogging it out in the new world.

But whereas Brother Ellis found inspiration for the Tea Party Movement in the Cameron-Clegg coalition, the UK Telegraph’s Janet Daley sees a more insidious trend heading stateside: the unity of liberalism with class snobbery. In a few brilliant passages:

What is [startling] is the growth in America of precisely the sort of political alignment which we have known for many years in Britain: an electoral alliance of the educated, self-consciously (or self-deceivingly, depending on your point of view) “enlightened” class with the poor and deprived.

America, in other words, has discovered bourgeois guilt. A country without a hereditary nobility has embraced noblesse oblige. Now, there is nothing inherently strange or perverse about people who lead successful, secure lives feeling a sense of responsibility toward those who are disadvantaged. What is peculiar in American terms is that this sentiment is taking on precisely the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene.

Liberal politics is now – over there as much as here – a form of social snobbery. To express concern about mass immigration, or reservations about the Obama healthcare plan, is unacceptable in bien-pensant circles because this is simply not the way educated people are supposed to think. It follows that those who do think (and talk) this way are small-minded bigots, rednecks, oiks, or whatever your local code word is for “not the right sort”.

Ms. Daley’s analysis is as accurate as it is insightful. Among the many lessons Barack Obama has failed to take from Bill Clinton, this may be among the most politically relevant: alienate the middle class, scoff at its sensibilities, and kiss your mandate goodbye. And that’s what will happen if the Democrats don’t manage to break free of the grip of the Berkeley-Cambridge wing of their party.

July 17th, 2010 at 3:16 pm
Another Leftist Fantasy Film Depicts a Conservative Leader as Mentally Deficient

Seemingly, there is no end to the vitriol – subtle and otherwise – that leftist filmmakers are able to conjure up for movies about conservative political leaders.  In the latter half of his presidency George W. Bush was the depicted as a mentally unstable frat boy in the movie W and as an assassination target in Death of a President.

Now, Britain’s most consequential (and best) statesman since Winston Churchill will be portrayed as suffering from dementia while regretting her political career.  Not content to let former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s legacy be ignored by nearly all leaders in modern British politics, the people behind the film The Iron Lady are getting Meryl Streep to help create a storyline that isn’t true.  Yes, Thatcher is declining mentally, and I’m sure she regrets the fact that her party lacked the courage to maintain her defense of free markets and traditional British culture.  But that’s a far cry from regretting the very ideas that made her successful.

Is this kind of character assassination the only kind of creativity the film industry is capable of anymore when it comes to political figures?  If so, where’s the movie about an elderly version of Bill Clinton recounting all his life’s missed opportunities and wasted moments of self-indulgence?  Where is the TV mini-series about the epic match-up of egos between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?  They could call it The Plastic Lady v. The Gen-X Candidate.  The series could explore all the psychological problems propelling the main characters to forsake healthy family relationships and a normal life for the chance to run everyone else’s.

But maybe those stories would be too boring.  After all, there’d be almost no suspense.

For now, I’ll sit back and hope that Streep’s Iron Lady is at least as insightful as Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen.  As Mirren’s Academy Award for Best Actress demonstrates, even Oscar likes a performance that advances more than just a political agenda.

July 3rd, 2010 at 8:51 pm
Did Bill Clinton Eulogize Himself?

That’s the contention of Slate’s Steve Kornacki, who heard more than an aw-shucks defense of the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) from the former president.  Byrd was a former Klansman who Clinton seems to think rode the changing tides of racial (in)tolerance to an unbroken 51 year Senate career.

But to hear Clinton tell it, Byrd’s Klan membership — and, more broadly, the ghastly record on racial issues that marked his first three decades in Congress — was more the product of a cynical career calculation. He knew it was wrong but figured it would help him get ahead, and then, when he finally did establish himself in Washington, he tried to make up for it by using his power for good. (A similar portrait of LBJ emerges in Robert Caro’s exhaustive biographical series.)

Watching Clinton today, I couldn’t help thinking that the former president, intentionally or not, was also talking about himself and his own approach to politics. Like LBJ, Clinton never really saw the point in making principled-but-unpopular stands in election years. The important thing, he seemed to believe, was to be in office and to make as many right decisions then as politics would allow.

Ah, the courage to be conniving.  Thanks to Kornacki’s insight, Americans can relearn a lesson they’d probably prefer to forget: When it comes to rationalizing bad behavior by politicians, Bill Clinton is the undisputed master.

June 2nd, 2010 at 6:49 pm
White House Admits to Attempting to Bribe Another Senate Candidate
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Apparently trying to contain the damage from last week’s blowup over allegations that the White House used President Clinton as the middleman in an attempt to bribe Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania senate race, the Obama Administration is now leaking that they did something similar in Colorado. From the AP:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration dangled the possibility of a government job for former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff last year in hopes he would forgo a challenge to Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, officials said Wednesday, just days after the White House admitted orchestrating a job offer in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

These officials declined to specify the job that was floated or the name of the administration official who approached Romanoff, and said no formal offer was ever made. They spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were not cleared to discuss private conversations.

Romanoff is mounting a primary challenge to Senator Michael Bennet in the Centennial State’s Democratic primary, which won’t be held until August 10. By leaking this information now, the Obama Administration looks to be cynically trying to avoid a repeat of the Sestak controversy as the Colorado race progresses. With two months left and a candidate who has thus far been more tight-lipped than Sestak, the odds are against them. And while this may feed widespread notions of administration corruption, it also has the potential to divide Democrats who resent the White House choosing sides within the Democratic Party. Stay tuned: this could get interesting.

May 29th, 2010 at 11:28 am
Bubba Backs Blanche

Fresh off revelations over his involvement in Sestak-gate, former president Bill Clinton pounded the podium yesterday in support of a fellow member of the Democratic Party’s endangered species: moderates.  Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) is facing a tough run-off against the sitting Lt. Governor who is allied with a vast leftwing conspiracy to make an example out of the on again, off again liberal.

And Bill Clinton doesn’t like it.

Playing on both local pride and a wariness of outside influence, he suggested voters would be mere pawns for an agenda of party purification if they opposed Lincoln.

“If you want to be used that way, have at it,’ he said to about 200 Democrats at Philander Smith College, speaking without notes for 20 minutes

With a detailed recitation of Lincoln’s work on behalf of Arkansas down to the jobs she saved at a manufacturer in Ft. Smith, Clinton exhorted voters to not direct their discontent at her.

Good luck with that.  Of all the endangered political species this election cycle, none seems as likely for a population reduction than “moderate” Democrats.  Liberals, like conservatives, like politicians who take a consistent ideological stand for issues.  Too often being a “moderate” is just code for policymaking as situational ethics.  If Clinton fails to push Lincoln over the 50% mark, he’ll be on the hook for letting down yet another female senator seeking federal office (his wife Hillary being the other).  With Obama 0-for-3 in hotly contested races, that means Democrats running for reelection in 2010 will have to look to someone other than the two most recent Democratic presidents to gin up enough support to get a win on Election Day.

Is Jimmy Carter available?

H/T: Politico

January 6th, 2010 at 5:44 pm
North Korea Provides Another Cautionary Tale to the Naive
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In 1994, North Korea placated the Clinton Administration by agreeing to discontinue its nuclear program.

Jimmy Carter trumpeted this supposed achievement of peaceful negotiation.  Bill Clinton sang its praises.

Since that date, of course, we have endured the “Groundhog Day” style cycle of North Korean troublemaking, hollow admonitions from the “community of nations,” more “peaceful negotiations,” and ultimately successful North Korean nuclear blasts.

In other words, as conservatives and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton have often pointed out to an unwelcoming mainstream media, the popular process of toothless negotiations with incorrigible rogues was again proven pointless.

But chilling news from the Korean peninsula suggests that it was even more dangerously naive than we realized.  According to South Korea’s foreign minister, North Korea resumed its nuclear program almost as soon as it agreed to the 1994 accord.  In other words, Kim Jong Il never intended to respect his obligations, and made dupes out of Carter, Clinton and liberal non-confrontationalists.  Instead, it was all merely another maneuver in his endless game of squeezing largess out of all-too-willing negotiators, a process that continues today with both North Korea and Iran.

It all puts Carter’s Nobel Peace Prize in a different light, doesn’t it?

November 16th, 2009 at 4:31 pm
Fear & Loathing in the West Wing

It may be that Barack Obama’s time in office serves to enhance Bill Clinton’s (personal) legacy among Democratic operatives.  For all his faults, The Man from Hope at least made many people he spoke to and worked with feel better about themselves.  Obama is a different cat.  During his campaign for president, several reporters who had worked around both men remarked that Clinton sees a person the way that person wants to be seen; Obama sees a person the way that person is.

And when it comes to working in the Obama White House, loyalty runs in only one direction.  The curious case of soon-to-be-former White House Counsel Gregory Craig is the most recent example.  Last Friday, the early supporter (and bridge builder to the Kennedy family) was forced to resign because of his apparent inability to close down immediately the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.  You know, the same site filled with terrorists no other country wants, including America?

Maybe the only thing different if this had occurred in the Clinton White House would be the inclusion of a teary-eyed hug on the way out the door.  Now that Craig is moving back to his white shoe D.C. law firm, maybe he’d appreciate knowing the president he helped elect still thinks he’s an effective lawyer.  While Craig separates his aspiration from his reality, he’s got plenty of company among those listing the ending date of Obama-related work on their resumes.