Sunday, September 24, 2006

I watched the full-length eruption of Mt. W. Jefferson Clinton on Fox News Sunday this morning. Maybe Clinton had a point or two to make, but for my taste, he needed to do it with a less emotion and more reason. He spent most of the rant sitting on the edge of the chair and sticking his finger in the face of Chris Wallace. He constantly accussed Wallace and Fox of setting him up for a gotcha interview, claiming he agreed to appear because Wallace would interview him about some type of environmental think tank he's started.

First, Wallace played anything but gotcha with Clinton. If you watch Fox News Sunday regularly, you'll find that Wallace will ask the tough questions of any guest. If you have something controversial swirling around you, it doesn't matter if you're Richard Perle, Condi Rice, Ned Lamont or Howard Dean, Wallace will bring it up. Clinton knew that Wallace would bring up the Clinton administration's handling of the al Qaeda threat. Who brought it to the public's attention a couple of weeks ago anyway?

Next, it's hard to tell how effective or ineffective the loss of temper will be. If it was genuine emotion, a man of Clinton's stature needs to keep a check on his emotions. He spent the interview on the edge of his seat appearing ready to jump on top of the much smaller Wallace. More than once, he claimed Wallace had a smirk on his face. To Wallace's credit, he sat on the edge of his chair too, refusing to back down to Clinton's intimidating pose. If the outburst was more calculated, I guess time will tell if Clinton rallied any new support to this particular cause.

I think Brit Hume offered a good theory on Clinton's reaction in the panel disucssion following the interview. He said it was about Clinton and his legacy. Let's face it, we partied like it was 1999 throughout the '90s. If there was no 9/11, we might be riding a wave of Clinton nostalgia at high tide by now. None of us were too concerned with Osama bin Laden then. Could the Clinton administration done more? Sure. Was there a groundswell among the masses that he make the fight against terrorism a top priority? Nowhere close. While Clinton doesn't deserve high marks for his handling of terrorism, he doesn't deserve to have the majority of blame dumped in his lap either.

In the fall of '97, I remember running into a friend I hadn't seen for a couple of years. I asked him what he thought of Clinton. He said, "he makes a good Coolidge." That may be right. The roaring '20s roared during the Coolidge administration, but underlying economic problems were not addressed. Less than a year after Silent Cal left office, the bottom dropped out. (I doubt WJC will find the comparison flattering.)

Putting the legacy thing aside, let's face it, we're all in this thing together. It doesn't matter how we got here. Now that we're here, let's win.


Blogger PotatoStew said...

Great post Glenn. I didn't see the interview you're referring to, but you make some good points.

Blogger Glenn said...

Thanks PS. The story is certainly part of the early week news cycle.


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