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« The White Man's Burden, Part V: Who’s Next, or Where Do We Go From Here? | WILLisms.com | "Our Tone Should Be Crazed" »

It's All About Bill

The Democratic reaction to The Path To 9/11 backfired badly, educating a large swath of the nation about how Clinton and his administration either dropped the ball or even failed to leave the bench in trying to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. Yesterday, in attempting to vindicate himself in an interview with Chris Wallace, Clinton compounded this error by going into one of his famous morning purple rages - one of the few times, however, that the public has ever been treated to this particular phenomenon. It isn't playing well at all - Noel Sheppard for one states that the interview "could be by far the worst performance of his career." Some compare the performance unfavorably to that Tom Cruise moment. I compare it unfavorably to that Howard Dean moment.

Clinton's best assets in personal appearances are his charm, his coolness and collectedness, and his command of the space around him. All of that went out the window during yesterday's interview, and he just came off as a defensive, bitter and spiteful scold. Mr. Personality showed a truly ugly side of himself, and one wonders what other issues he has churning in rage just below that othewise calm exterior.

Bill Clinton was never much of a communicator. Oh sure, he can remain composed, affable, charismatic and in command during a press conference. To be a real communicator, however, you must at some point deliver actual substance. Clinton is an absolute master at moving his lips while saying nothing at all, and after watching the interview it is easy to see why he so often deploys this tactic - when pressed to answer a single substantive question from a interviewer who refused to fawn over him, Clinton got confused by facts and history, and started serving up whoppers such as:

  • Bush had three times longer to catch or kill Osama than Clinton did.
  • The 'neocons' complained that Clinton obsessed too much about UBL.
  • The interview was a Rupert Murdoch 'conservative hit job'.

Here are some thorough debunkings of Clinton's specious claims by AllahPundit, Ace, and Judge Napolitano.

You don't believe those punk bloggers? Try Michael Scheuer:

. . . the former president seems to be able to deny facts with impugnity. Bin Laden is alive today because Mr. Clinton, Mr. Sandy Berger, and Mr. Richard Clarke refused to kill him. That's the bottom line. And every time he says what he said to Chris Wallace on Fox, he defames the CIA especially, and the men and women who risk their lives to give his administration repeated chances to kill bin Laden."

More curious observations about this incredible interview:

Byron York scratches his head over why Bill Clinton kept insisting that everyone read Richard Clarke's book Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror. If this is the best case Clinton can point to that he was actually tough on terror, it is a damning indictment indeed of Clinton's laxity. "The worst thing about [Clinton]," according to George Stephanopolous, "is that he never makes a decision." That may well account for the lack of action on Osama.

Patterico points us to what triggered the Clinton meltdown:

“It set me off on such a tear because you didn’t formulate it in an honest way and you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side,” Clinton said.

“Sir, that is not true,” Wallace replied.

Who is right, Clinton or Wallace? According to Patterico, Wallace wins this point, as shown by these questions he asked Donald Rumsfeld in 2004:

I understand this is 20/20 hindsight, it’s more than an individual manhunt. I mean — what you ended up doing in the end was going after al Qaeda where it lived. . . . pre-9/11 should you have been thinking more about that? . . . .

What do you make of his [Richard Clarke’s] basic charge that pre-9/11 that this government, the Bush administration largely ignored the threat from al Qaeda? . . . .

Mr. Secretary, it sure sounds like fighting terrorism was not a top priority.

By comparison, Wallace was going easy on Clinton.

Drudge pointed out that Clinton's speech sounds slurred. It didn't seem obvious on the first viewing, but after Drudge brought that up, he does indeed have a point. Clinton does sound fat-tongued at times. If Clinton has problems we don't know about, would his handlers and protectors please keep him off the stage for while until he sorts them out? Our ex-presidents are supposed to conduct themselves with a certain dignity, and I frankly don't want to have to watch more unhinged displays like we did yesterday that sully the repose they should have. As much as more outbursts would help the Republicans this November, I just don't want to see more.

And please Bill, put away the wagging finger. It is indeed a tell that everything that follows is a half-truth at best.

Posted by Ken McCracken · 25 September 2006 09:13 PM


Sooooo, what is up with the thick tongue, lisp touchy thing? ...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 26, 2006 05:35 AM

Giacomo from Joust the facts is a doctor. Should we ask the doctor??? Something is really wierd-er-er than usual. Thilly...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 26, 2006 05:40 AM

I don't know Zsa Zsa, I don't even want to know what his problem is. I just wish the guy would go away.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at September 26, 2006 08:27 AM

I wish, your wish would be granted! Plus his old hag wife too...

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 26, 2006 08:54 AM

Bill Clinton really did have a Comprehensive plan to fight the war on terror world wide. Unfortunately this was developed in the last days of his presidency and extensive plans for the arrival of Dubya had already been made. The Bush administration misplaced the plan as it was titled. Comprehensive Plan to Fight The ar On Terror orld ide. Perfectly understandable.

Posted by: Rodney Dill at September 26, 2006 09:23 AM

Tarrerrrrr orrld ide!

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at September 26, 2006 11:09 AM

Har har, I heard that the thing about removing the W from all the keyboards was only a myth!

Or . . . was that yet another Clinton coverup?!?

Posted by: Ken McCracken at September 26, 2006 11:47 AM

clinton pushed the same authoritarian buttons that bush does to get results. his delivery may have seemed a little over the top to you or I, but people bought it. that's the impression i get. plus, on substance he was largely right. the stuff you quote isn't exactly damning. plus, some of it is byron york and people like that. not pulitzer prize winners or something. bin laden really was full of it on that "paper tiger " thing. he had nothing to do with bakchawk down and we didn't leave till a full 6 months and a handover to the UN. sorry, you work at FOX news your gonna take your lumps from pissed off people.

Posted by: lester at September 26, 2006 01:26 PM

Lester, you have no idea what you are talking about. This is from the federal indictment of bin Laden -

* ...At various times from at least as early as 1989, the defendant USAMA BIN LADEN, and others known and unknown, provided training camps and guesthouses in various areas, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sudan, Somalia and Kenya for the use of al Qaeda and its affiliated groups.

Sorry that I don't have a Pulitzer Prize, Lester. I guess that means that both you and I have no right to speak about anything, according to your 'logic'.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at September 26, 2006 02:42 PM

when was that indictment? bro, you can look at the statements republicans made in 1993 regarding somalia. they spouted the same anti war stuff you here from the left now and that you heard from them in the run up to kosovo. and there was no mention of bin laden.

CLinton isn't saying that bin laden didn't exist in 1993 or 1989. he's saying he hadn't made a name for himself. I remember reading laurie mylroies " a study of revenge", it was a best seller that said SADDAM was behind the first wtc attack. it had accoloates from perle and wolfowitz on the back. this was in like 1997. obviously no one believes that anymore, but it's 2006.

also, somalia was a dumb idea and it was smart of us to leave. I actually agree with the republicans more than clinton.

double also, we got 9/11 in no small part because al queda and co hated our foreign policy in the middle east. it wasn't a security issue alone. they would have done somethin eventually.

Posted by: lester at September 26, 2006 04:20 PM

Lester, unless you have a Pulitzer Prize, you have no right whatsoever to comment on any of this.

Your rules, not mine.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at September 26, 2006 10:36 PM

KO is the WORST!
He should be counting the days since he jumped the shark instead of days since Mission Complete.
Any journalist worth their salt would Google "Mission Complete" and beside military references you would find: NASA, Sports & Business references, YouTube, BART, and finally "dishes done, mission complete". When Corps of Discovery completed their mission, the Louisiana Purchase was not fully explored. Idiot! With all that education, one assumes he knows better but has made it his shtick. This alone says a lot about his loyal followers.
KO is living proof that if you send idiots to fancy schools you only get educated idiots.
Speaking of idiot, MSNBC is depriving more than one village of their's, but KO is the most obvious.
KO is bravely going where no one has gone before – and no one wants to follow. If you don’t believe me, check the ratings.
My task is done and I humbly submit my mission is complete.

Posted by: JG at September 27, 2006 11:03 AM