Slick Willie Rides Again

Everyone expects a political campaign to become tough, but there is a line between criticizing one’s opponent and outright lying. For many observers of this year’s race, the Clintons have crossed this line as their campaign has become based upon lying about what Obama has said and about his positions. William Greider, writing in The Nation differentiates between tough fights which educate us about the candidates, and dishonest campaigns which do the opposite. A tough campaign where the Clintons demonstrated real policy differences with Obama would be educational. In running a campaign based upon lying about what Obama has said we learn nothing of substance about their differences on policy. What we do learn is a disturbing lesson on the lack of ethics of the Clintons. Greider writes:

Slick Willie Rides Again

The Clintons play dirty when they feel threatened. But we knew that, didn’t we?

The recent roughing-up of Barack Obama was in the trademark style of the Clinton years in the White House. High-minded and self-important on the surface, smarmily duplicitous underneath, meanwhile jabbing hard to the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package. The nation is at fair risk of getting them back in the White House for four more years. The thought makes me queasy.

The problem is not Hillary Clinton per se or the sharp exchanges and personal accusations that squeamish political reporters deplore. That’s what politics is always about. Tough, even nasty conflict is educational, also entertaining. Politics ain’t beanbag, as Mark Shields likes to say.

The one-two style of Clintons, however, is as informative as low-life street fighters. Mr. Bill punches Obama in the kidney and from the rear. When Obama whirls around to strike back, there stands Mrs. Clinton, looking like a prim Sunday School teacher and citing goody-goody lessons she learned from her 135 years in government.

I thought Obama did quite well in response, looked strong and stayed in character. But we shall see. He was compelled to play defense and to hope the audience recognized foul play. It’s possible the Clintons won on points, simply by making Obama look like a confused young man who had to keep repeating what he had actually said.

The style is very familiar to official Washington, not just among the Clintons’ partisan adversaries, but among their supporters. The man lied to his friends. All the time. They got used to it. They came expect it. I observe a good many old hands among the Senate Democrats are getting behind Obama. It would be good to know more about why they declined to make the more obvious choice of endorsing the power couple.

We are sure to see more of Mr. Bill’s intrusions because the former president is pathological about preserving his own place in the spotlight. He can’t stand it when he is not the story and, one way or another, he will make himself the story. I used to be sympathetic toward Mrs. Clinton on this point. No longer.

She is using her egocentric husband to do the low-road hits for her campaign. He is good at it–a real charmer if you’ve never seen his act before. Or is Mrs. Clinton’s husband using her? People can ask that question without disturbing the principles of feminism.

Evidently, many of the mainstream party faithful want the Clinton team as their presidential nominee. It’s their choice, of course. But does the rest of the country really deserve this?

No, the country does not deserve this. Voters deserve to be able to choose a candidate based upon an honest comparison of the views of the candidates. Even more importantly, the country does not deserve this because a candidate who campaigns this dishonestly is bound to be similarly dishonest when governing. We will only have honest government if the voters demand honesty from their leaders, and not when they look the other way when the dishonesty comes from their own party. We can hardly condemn the Republicans for what they have done to this country while supporting a candidate who is ethically no better than George Bush.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    capt says:

    We will only have honest government if the voters demand honesty from their leaders, and not when they look the other way when the dishonesty comes from their own party.

    It is up to us. I know we can do better. I hope all the politicians get the message.

    The “winning at any cost” and “the ends justify the means” should be retired.

    If this kind of crud is allowed we will deserve what we get in the way of poor politicians on every level from all parties.

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” ~ H. L. Mencken

  2. 2
    battlebob says:

    Bubba back in the WH…
    So many interns, so little time….

  3. 3
    Antonia says:

    Has everyone in this country forgotten the Clinton years in the White House? Whitewater? People in prison for the Clintons? All of his affairs? His impeachment? Why hasn’t any of this been brought out lately? Their actions against Obama are deplorable and I don’t know how to make the average American see what this “two-headed monster” is all about. P.S. I’m a Republican who just changed parties so I could vote for Obama in a caucus. He seems like a refreshing change in politics.

  4. 4
    SO says:

    The clintons are “dirty politics” there is no doubt in my mind…….
    They claim they are for the African Americans but will do and say anything to get into the white house that want. Rather than see a new change in history and let an African American make history in this country!
    That is what I don’t understand…

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