Oh, Jeez, for the past 6 or 7 years, I've seen a gradual decline in the quality of journalism coming out of Morning Edition. Juan Williams fellates his Bush administration interviews while Steve Inskeep bashes Rahm Emannuel over his sleepy head with pointedly aggressive questioning. Then there is the always reliable Cokyo Rose Roberts who can never criticize a Republican without also thanking God that Democrats are not in charge.
But today, Mara Liasson rolled out the Clinton narrative that we can expect to be smuggled into our collective subconscious for the next 12 months: Bill Clinton is a drag on his wife or "who are you gonna believe, me or your lying memory"?
My RealPlayer link isn't cooperating this am, so I will try to summarize. Listening to the piece is left as an exercise for the reader...
To summarize, Mara follows Bill Clinton's campaign appearances in Iowa. She also talks to Donna Brazile. The two of them seem to have come to some agreement: Even though the majority of the American people recall the Clinton years nostalgically (he still has a 65% approval rating), those years weren't all that because Al Gore couldn't run and win on them and anyway, Brazile and her buddies want Change!
Can someone please confirm whether Brazile is now consulting for the Edwards or Obama campaigns?
Donna, Donna, Donna, you did Al Gore no favors when you advised him to back away from the Clinton legacy, Good government is always in style. It's like a classic navy peacoat or a creamy cashmere sweater. It looks good on any country no matter what decade it is. But Donna seems to welcome Change! for its own sake. The rest of us are just supposed to forget the peace and prosperity we had back then.
Then Mara played the little clip of Bill's remarks after Hillary's debate "fiasco". (I happen to think she did pretty well considering). He said:
"The point I'm here to make to you is whoever you're for, this is a really big election. We saw what happened the last seven years when we made decisions in elections based on trivial matters. When we listened to people make snide comments about whether Vice President Gore was too stiff.
<bold>"And when they made dishonest claims about the things that he said that he'd done in his life. When that scandalous Swift Boat ad was run against Senator Kerry. When there was an ad that defeated Max Cleland in Georgia, a man that left half his body in Vietnam...
Why am I saying this?
"Because, I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again.</bold> Ya'll raise your hand if you're for illegal immigrants getting a driver's license. So, we then let the Republicans go ahead saying all the Democrats are against the rule of law.
"I think it's fine to discuss immigration. We should. I believe immigration needs to be discussed. And it's fine for Hillary and all the other Democrats to discuss Governor Spitzer's plan. But not in 30 seconds, yes, no, raise your hand. This is a complicated issue. This is a complicated issue.
"So do I hope you vote for my wife? You bet I do. It'd be good for America, and good for the world. But, more than that I came here to tell you today, don't you dare let them take this election away from you...Don't be diverted, don't be divided."
The segment in middle was approximately the part that Mara cited. But Mara did a double-half-caf-axle-triple-toe loop with it. She makes it sound like Bill was accusing the other Democratic candidates for attempting to "swiftboat" Hillary. Hey, they're her opponents. That's their jobs. They are supposed to take advantage of every opportunity to get her and they piled on predictably but that's not who Bill was referring to. Because even at their worst, the other candidates didn't sink to actually lying about Hillary (though Edwards negative campaign tactics do come pretty close).
No, Bill was referring to the dishonest and disgusting behavior of Tim Russert and Chris Matthews. It is these two who are trying to shape the narrative and get "cutesy". The beltway bunch are the ones who spun the "Al Gore exaggerates and wears earth tones" narrative. It was the Mara and Cokie types who couldn't find anything good about the Clintons in the 8 years that they occupied the White House. First it was Paula Jones, then TravelGate, then Whitewater, then Lewinski. It was non-stop sophomoric, giggling, "cutesy" behavior for Eight Straight Years. They didn't even let up when the Clinton's left the White House. They were accused of trashing offices and taking keyboard keys.
For all these years of this ridiculous distraction, I have never completely understood what the Mara's and Cokie's and Tweety's and Pumpkinhead's have against the Clintons. What did they ever do to you that made you react this way, relentlessly and childishly pursuing them and engaging in teenage plots that end up disrupting the actions of a president? If the Beltway bunch wanted to find real examples of deception and corruption, they need look no further than the current resident of the Oval Office but him they treat with kid gloves.
David Brock describes in detail the actions of the elves to get Clinton in his book "Blinded by the Right". I can understand why people like Laura Ingraham and Barbara Olsen became vicious harpies. They were in it for ideological reasons. But the others? The Cohens and the Kleins and the Broders? What's the deal, people? Isn't there enough material to work with on the Republican side with the Vitters and the Cunninghams and the Bushes? Does your fear of retribution trump our right to have a functioning government? Does courtier work pay that well?
You start with Clinton because picking up her narrative where you left off is easy
but you'll move on to Obama or Edwards if either of them secure the nomination. You will make mountains out of molehills and twist their words to fit some preconceived character flaw. Well, you guys might have a bigger microphone, but if you think we're going to let you get away with it this time, you are greatly mistaken. We'll continue to document the atrocities and hold you accountable for your words. There will be fewer people to buy into you crap this time and maybe that will be all we need to win in spite of you.
And when we're back in charge, I hope we clean out the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of all of the collaborators that aided the enemy from within in destroying our precious government.
*(Add-on* What IS Donna Brazile's capacity in this primary season? She is a political strategist by profession. So, who is she working for? I can't find any direct evidence that she's working for Obama but I did find this clue from an interview last year with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Q: Who has a better chance of being elected president, Democrats New York Sen. Hillary Clinton or Illinois Sen. Barack Obama?
A: I like both individuals. For me personally to speculate on the future of either one of those politicians would get me in a lot of trouble. I like them both. I love Barack Obama's spirit. I think he is a great American. He is a rare political species. I also have deep admiration and respect for Hillary Clinton. She has been an inspiration to us all. One of the most admired women in America today. Hillary Clinton has set her own path. She has reached the heights in her life because she was willing to make a difference. Hillary has what it takes to break that final glass ceiling that ultimately we will break in American politics, that is the presidency, and allowing a woman to hold that most important position
So now she's all harshin' on Hillary and she wants Change!. If she's not working directly for Obama but is working for someone like Oprah Winfrey as a consultant, shouldn't we know it? Does Mara have an obligation to tell us? Otherwise, Donna Brazile is able to put a negative ad out there for Obama and we wouldn't even know it.