Favorite

Democratic ex-president on Republican TV 


You could call it a perfect storm. From one direction came the epitome of political partisanship masquerading as journalism, meaning Fox News. From the other came a former president obsessed with his legacy, incapable of shutting up and famously temperamental, meaning Bill Clinton.

It produced what partisan Democrats cheer as Fox News’ comeuppance. It produced what partisan Republicans cite as evidence of Clinton’s megalomania, rage and loose screw. It produced what I see as both.

What it did was galvanize the polarized. It strengthened Clinton as champion to some. It strengthened Fox as champion to others. Any hope of either going away was tragically lost.

Fox got a sit-down interview with Clinton, apparently to talk first, but not exclusively, about Your Boy Bill’s noble initiatives on global climate control.

Yes, Clinton indeed is a great world leader, a noble ex-president — except for that part by which he is constitutionally incapable of letting his actions simply speak for themselves.

Why a former Democratic president wouldn’t turn down perfunctorily a Republican cable channel’s interview request is beyond me. Well, actually, it’s not beyond me at all. This particular former Democratic president craves attention and thinks he can win over anyone.

Fox dispatched Chris Wallace, one of its smarmier blenders of partisan purpose and journalistic veneer. That’s saying quite a lot considering Brit Hume.

Wallace and Hume — they’re worse than Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Wallace and Hume sound and look like reporters, just as Tony Snow sounded for Fox until the Bush White House decided to reassign him as the president’s direct, not indirect, apologist. A wolf is less dangerous if he wears a wolf’s clothing.

Not long into the interview, Wallace cited viewer interest and asked Clinton why he didn’t do a better job connecting the dots on Osama bin Laden.

You are aware that Republicans want to say that 9-11 was Clinton’s fault. You are aware that Clinton is determined to fashion a good legacy pro-actively rather than merely permit history to bestow one. You are aware that he’s worked too hard to overcome the Monica matter to let thousands of deaths get pinned on him.

So, he went off, much as he is widely known for going off in private.

He made some very good points. And at moments he resembled a madman.

He fares better in transcript than video. On paper, he impressively peppers Wallace with his Clintonesque litany of compelling detail in defense of his vigilance. He makes a compelling case that, in his administration, Dick Clarke was properly deployed as an anti-terrorism expert. He wonders why Fox hasn’t asked Bush why he demoted him. Hilariously, he actually challenges Wallace for smirking.

Clinton fares not so well when seen. He conveys an altogether pedestrian, untoward and unsettling image, something beneath his station. He spews about how he worked hard to “kill” bin Laden and came a lot closer than the current administration. He tried, darnit. He lets legacy-thirst sound like blood-thirst.

He accuses Fox of luring him for an interview about one thing, then sniping him with another. That’s mildly paranoid, or at least an overly impassioned irrationality.

I mean, this was Fox, for goodness sakes. What did he expect? And, to be honest, any journalist worth his salt and granted an interview with Clinton would want to steer the discussion to 9-11 and bin Laden.

So, can we declare a winner for the Clinton-Fox storm?

Yes, both, for their purposes. The losers were journalism and statesmanship, which got kicked while they were already down.


Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

More by Max Brantley

  • An open line for Sunday

    An open line.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

    The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

    Many football team owners have risen to the defense of players against Donald Trump criticism as yet another racially fraught issue seems likely to gain increasing heat thanks to Trump's rhetoric.
    • Sep 24, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • ASU to reap $3.69 million from estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn

    Arkansas State University announced today plans for spending an expected $3.69 million gift in the final distribution of the estate of Jim and Wanda Lee Vaughn, who died in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

September

S M T W T F S
  1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Here we see a "social scientist" who begins with an ad hominem argument, and then…

    • on September 24, 2017
  • Re: Sex on campus

    • Once again commentators blame the victim. Social scientists, of whom I am one, regularly find…

    • on September 22, 2017
  • Re: Time for a coalition

    • Shiny, nobody is saying that Hillary isn't entitled to speak. Shit, the more she talks,…

    • on September 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation