Rainbow / PUSH coalition’s annual meeting carried on (and on and on, I am
sure) this week, with the most heartwarming scene coming on Tuesday, when
Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton were seen on the same stage, embracing.
One can only imagine the vibe in the room, an odd combination of good feeling
and moral superiority, mixed with a collective wish these two corrupt jackasses
could somehow merge into one Super Liberal, who would have no practical use
for the presidency because he could come to govern the people – and, we can
only hope, the world! – through the sheer force of his Good Will Toward Man.
So what was on the former president’s mind? You know, the usual.
Tax cuts are evil, insidious things: “We are going to put half-a-million
[children] out on the street, so I can get my $80,000 [tax cut].” Never
mind that he campaigned on them in 1992 and later signed them into law, and
that no rational explanation can be offered for tax cuts equaling homelessness.
He loves paying taxes: “I must be the only person in America that every time
– I pay the maximum tax rates – every time I sign that tax form, I smile.
I thank God I live in a country that gave me a chance to make the money I
do.” That he wishes the IRS would audit him: “I think they ought to
audit me and everyone in my income group every year, because if I make a
mistake, I actually think they can make some real money out of me and I want
to pay what I owe.” (Sigh; isn’t he wonderful?)
But then we come to this, the cryptic warning: the audience (there were 750
in attendance) must not to stoop to the demonizing tactics of the right-wing
talk-show hosts. “Let us never demonize or give up on those
who disagree with us. We don't want to become like the right-wing talk-show
hosts, hammering our adversaries into cartoon characters and denying their
humanity.” (The emphasis is my own.) It is important not to give
up on the Right, and to ultimately forgive them (yes, he said that as well),
because he, like most in the room he was sure, is a Baptist, and forgiveness
is their thing.
Whoa, slow down a minute. As the man who presided over an administration
that trotted out its first lady to blame its serious moral failings on a
Right-wing conspiracy, that looked the other way when James Carville went
on national television to say Paula Jones is what happens when you drag a
hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, and that claimed conservative
talk radio hosts were to blame for the Oklahoma City bombing (Rush Limbaugh
and G. Gordon Liddy were specifically named), is Bill Clinton in any position
to speak against the Right’s demonizing anyone? Is Jesse Jackson in
a position to speak against fathering bastard children, or Ted Kennedy against
killing your date while intoxicated?
We have become quick to dismiss assertions like “So-and-so is demonizing
such-and-such” as tired political banter, but close consideration should
always be paid to such things, because they so often speak to grander political
philosophies and trends. Especially when listening to Clinton, as his
is a particularly interesting disconnect with reality. If you preach
to the choir long enough, it probably slips your mind that whatever is true
among some portions of the Right is just as true among some portions of the
Left, that whenever one lowers himself to fanaticism he is doing so not because
he is either a liberal or conservative, but because he has intellectual flaws
and is incapable of expressing his alliances any other way. These are
individual character flaws Clinton is speaking of, not ideological flaws.
Besides, can it logically be said that the editorial pages of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today
have always taken up calm, steady advocacies of the various Leftist positions?
What about NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR and public television? Or
Hillary Clinton, Janeane Garofalo, Mike Farrell, Martin Sheen, Susan Sarandon,
Tim Robbins, Alec Baldwin, Bill Moyers, James Carville, Al Franken, Sidney
Blumenthal, Robert Byrd, Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, Al Sharpton, Harold Dean,
Carol Moseley-Braun, Bob Graham, Dennis Kucinich and Nancy Pelosi?
Are we now to believe these people and organizations have never been hatchet
men for the Left, or have never come to the defense of an administration
that was so often utterly indefensible?
Brian S. Wise
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