Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Bubba Blew it on Fox. Wallace, the Right Wing Prince of Nepotism, Got the Best of Him. Wake Up Democrats, this is War
The Fox News Sunday interview with Bill Clinton was a disgrace. To being with, it was a classic right-wing set-up by host Chris Wallace, who obviously has learned the tricks of ambush television from the master--his mentor, benefactor and dad, 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace. The former president was in the studio to presumably discuss his Global Initiative, which has raised $7-billion to help fund the fight against global warming. But it quickly became clear that Wallace, behind the thick dark veil of Fox's conservative bias, was more interested in attacking Clinton's record of fighting global terrorism. Kudos to Wallace. Another great ReTHUGlican bait and switch.
With a smirk on his face (which Clinton called him on) and a general smarminess that detracted from his credentials as a supposed legitimate journalist, Wallace started the fracas by asking, "Why didn't you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President." Rightly so, Clinton's reaction was animated and harsh, and he ultimately accused Wallace and Fox News of perpetrating a hatchet job on him while treating the Bush administration with kid gloves.
"...I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked why didn't you do anything about the Cole. I want to know how many you asked why did you fire Dick Clarke." He was referring to terrorism czar Richard Clarke, who had served under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush.
Let me be clear about one thing: I think Clinton is one of the greatest presidents this country has ever had. Truly brilliant, and a master communicator. The most passionate, charismatic and articulate politician in modern history. But he made a big mistake Sunday. Once it became obvious what Wallace was doing, Clinton justifiably grew agitated and came at Wallace hard in defense of his and his administration's policies and actions in fighting terrorism, and his efforts to find and kill Osama bin Laden. This initially lasted a few minutes. And then it should've stopped. But it didn't.
Clinton soon appeared undignified and very un-Clinton-like. He should've dressed-down the nepotism-engorged, right wing journo-punk Wallace for about five minutes and then, in a commanding authoritative voice said, "Now that we've established exactly how my administration did more to kill bin Laden and fight terrorism than any other, let's move on to the Clinton Global Initiative and the $7-billion we've raised to combat global warming." Instead, Clinton relentlessly pursued the topic even after Wallace smugly and sarcastically suggested three times, to no avail, that they shift the conversation to the Global Initiative. Clinton just kept pleading his case. His tone, body language and agitated state said one thing to Wallace: "You hurt me." It was highly uncomfortable to watch. I found myself squirming. Score another one for Fox News and the bad guys.
Following this charade, Secretary of State Condi Rice on Monday criticized and refuted Clinton's assertions about his administration's efforts in fighting bin Laden and terrorism, as well as his contention that he did more than Bush.
"What we did in the eight months (before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks) was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice said. She added that the Bush administration was "not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al-Qaeda" when Clinton left office.
Well, she's flat out wrong, but I won't get into just how inept Rice, Rummy, Cheney and Bush have been in fighting terrorism. The new National Intelligence Estimate makes that perfectly clear. But as Clinton said, anyone who wants to truly understand what he and Bush did or didn't do, and what the Clinton administration did or did not leave the Busheviks with in January 2001, should read Clarke's book "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror."
Said Clinton: "He (Clarke) has a variety of opinion and loyalties now but let's look at the facts. He worked for Ronald Reagan. He was loyal to him. He worked for George Herbert Walker Bush and he was loyal to him. He worked for me and he was loyal to me. He worked for President Bush; he was loyal to him. They downgraded him and the terrorist operation. Now, look what he said, read his book and read his factual assertions, not opinions, assertions."
The biggest lesson to be learned from Sunday's sham interview is that Democrats better understand the war they're in and start knowing how to fight back. Between now and November 7th there'll be plenty more biased interviews with lots more Chris Wallace's. These guys are very, very good at what they do. They're all graduates of Rove University. They excel at effectively framing an issue to make Democrats appear in the most negative light. They don't come any smoother than Bill Clinton...and look what happened. They've deftly played the terrorism card once again. Wake up, Democrats.