September 25, 2006
-- by Dave Johnson
Arianna Huffington, in Bill Clinton's Bipartisan Love-In Blows Up in His Face writes,
Hooray! Good for Bill Clinton. He finally called Fox News and the right-wing on their BS, right? Well, sort of.There is a fundamental point here. I, and many others, think that the Democratic leadership has profoundly misjudged the nature and intentions of the conservative movement. John Dean, in his book Conservatives Without Conscience, warns that we are witnessing the rise of an authoritarian government, and Kevin Phillips, in American Theocracy, warns that the current Republican leadership is intent on bringing about a theocracy. This is not politics-as-usual. THIS is what the bloggers are so shrill about.
... I'm glad the Chris Wallace interview is flying all over the internet, but I really hope that one person who will watch it over and over again is Bill Clinton. And that on the fifth or sixth viewing it might occur to him that the more cover he gives Bush and his cronies, the more they're able to increase and entrench their power. Power they use to destroy everything that Clinton purports to stand for.
In March I wrote,
Maybe, just maybe, they mean the things they are saying. And I think this warning about the extreme things the Right is saying is a big part of what political blogging is about.
... So political bloggers are more likely than others to be visiting websites and forums where right-wingers more openly discuss their ideas, or are more likely to be listening to Limbaugh and others on the radio. And what we are reading and hearing is frightening. The things they are saying to each other are DIFFERENT from what they are saying to the public. The things they are writing and saying are extreme and violent and subversive. It is not like what we as Americans are used to reading and hearing.The signs are all around us -- take it seriously.
The things the Republicans are saying and doing are so extreme that regular people refuse to believe it when you try to warn them about what is happening.
... Bloggers are trying to warn the public that what is going on in America is DIFFERENT from politics-as-usual. The bloggers have been trying to get the Democratic leadership and the media to understand this. We are seeing something new to America forming, something dangerous to democracy. The "pendulum" is not swinging back.
... When will the Democratic leadership begin to realize that the extreme things the Republicans are saying might be what they mean to do?
Watch your backs.
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I'm not sure I follow the logic here. So what's wrong with what Clinton said on Fox News? Seems to me he gave them a pretty good blast. Why shouldn't he have done that?
I think Huffington's dead wrong in her attitude towards what Clinton's doing. He is not catering to the right wing, and he's not fooled by what they're up to. She is. The more shrill the rhetoric, the more divided the country, the more power we give them. Frankly, I think Clinton's doing an elegantly subversive job here -- I watched C-SPAN this morning. They had a strange, mind-blowing interview with, among others, Rupert Murdoch, who has suddenly "discovered" that it's good for business to have his various businesses, uh, Go Green! Yeah, a lot of this stuff is, actually "good for business," a top conservative Republican value, and it certainly undercuts the ideology the Bush bunch is pushing. I think Clinton's subversive successes are not only hilarious but more successful than simply standing back and throwing equally shrill invectives at the Far Right.
Arianna is saying that in the past Clinton has tried so hard to be bipartisan that they took advantage of him. What he did on Fox was great.
Posted by: Dave Johnson at September 25, 2006 2:27 PM
"The more shrill the rhetoric, the more divided the country, the more power we give them."
I disagree. By ceding the battlefield to them, they ran unopposed. The entire experiment of not being "shrill" or directly opposing their harsh rhetoric, historical revisionism, finger pointing, subversion of the media, infiltration of think tanks, etc., failed. That was called the 90's.
As for the "elegantly subversive job" you speak of, I would point out that a) the American public has long since embraced the idea, so it shouldn't be subversive, b) Gore pushed this agenda for years, c) the science has long since called for this, d) environmentalists have long since promoted this idea, and e) the Republicans are the dinosaurs when it comes to this. Oh, and world opinion on this matter has long since solidified in the pro-green category.
Rupert Murdoch's interview is a product of many outside forces, not just Clinton's "subversiveness." In fact, I'd argue quite the opposite. During Clinton's tenure as President with his "third way," Republican opposition to environmental causes only deepened.
I know that we have a minor candidate here who really gets it, she usually tells people that she does not recognize that God who ignores poverty and condones torture, but she has gone so far as to tell people that it is not her job to legislate religion for people who can't find God on their own.
Damn wild eyed radical telling people that their religion is their own responsibility.
Posted by: grannyinsanity at September 26, 2006 2:17 AM
I'm not arguing that Clinton is in any way "perfect" or up for sainthood. In fact, visiting Arkansas, I was shocked by the way he neglected environmental controls when he was governor. There's no reason why paper mills should stink and pollute; they didn't in New England even in the 40s. And the pollution caused by those gigantic chicken farms is legendary -- downright mythical -- in Arkansas. I'm not kidding. All sorts of myths have sprung up about diseases being caused by things like ground chicken feathers. You can smell these things for miles. I could barely breathe in beautiful, mountainous Arkansas, where the air should be pure and lovely, and that's Clinton's fault. At least we didn't run into any hog farms, legendary for their stink in the rest of the south. The argument from the citizens was that these establishments provide desperately needed jobs, that would vanish if there were any regulations. They see it as a choice between breathing and starving.
So maybe Clinton's learned something by being first governor then president, and maybe not. Maybe it's all just political maneuvering, maybe not. I still think persuading someone like that villainous bastard Murdoch to pledge to spend a few billion to fight global warming and to admit it publicly is somewhere close to a political miracle since the Bush crowd is so opposed to this kind of thinking and it subverts their intentions. The same goes for Wal Mart (and now Target) buying drugs in bulk to sell at a price lower than most insurance co-pays when Medicare is forbidden to do that. This too is truly subversive coming from those who would be taken for granted as followers of the Bush party line. It may be just hacking away at the edges of the Bush ideology, but at least it's a start. And will have genuine effects.
First of all, a more in-depth look at the Wal Mart bulk drug buying situation indicates that despite the superficial differences, Wal Mart and big pharmaceuticals actually do have the same goals as far as Medicare, and thus the same goals as the Republicans. To begin with, Target and Wal Mart buying in bulk and selling at low prices to leverage suppliers and competitors is standard operating procedure. Especially for Wal Mart. Now, Medicare is Wal Mart's competitor for selling drugs. So Wal Mart wants Medicare to be as crippled as possible, and thus wants to prevent Medicare from bargaining and buying in bulk. Big pharma wants the same. Republicans agree. No subversiveness or contradictions there.
Second of all, again, the underlying forces (a.k.a. reality) pushing businesses to "leftist" policies go well beyond Clinton's initiatives. This runs not only to global warming and "green" business, but extends into healthcare policy as well.
Third, I do agree that Bill Clinton, as the springboard for these investments, is very subversive to the worldview of the right-wingers out there. Definitely a worthy cause. But sadly, to do that, Clinton wasn't out there on the forefront kicking ass and taking names. Honestly, I feel he could've done more good if he had confronted the crap (FOX, administration spin, etc.) earlier. Here, though, would be a very legitimate difference in opinion. I am open to arguments to the contrary.
I would love to take it all seriously but I really can't do it without a pretty darn good reason now. It's a good thing that Bill finally decided to speak up, but he's gotten pretty cozy with the Bush clan during the last four or five years when we really needed him to be making some noise.
My inner skeptic understands how convenient it would be to slap on a new coat of spin and shift the whole thing over so I will just watch to see how it goes.
Posted by: grannyinsanity at September 26, 2006 10:16 PM
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