Jonathon Alter of Newsweek interviewed Bill Clinton. I guess it's a slow news week in the war because he made the cover.
You've probably heard all of the sexy quotes — the ones that make Clinton's opponents either laugh out loud or grind their teeth, the very same ones that make Clinton die-hards, his faithful supporters, a little uncomfortable while still thinking he's right.
The sexiest quote was about the Marc Rich pardon, that he wished he hadn't done it because of what it did to his reputation.
That one is a howler. It's also bizarre because his reputation had been fairly well sleazed up way before the Rich pardon anyway.
But the thing that got me was Clinton's attitude toward this war on terror, and how the second President Bush is doing with it.
John Alter writes the following:
"Now the ex-president is contesting even that, insisting that the war on terrorism, while important, 'is not like World War II at all' and will eventually be seen in the context not of the Bush presidency but of Clinton's global achievements."
When you read the interview, you can see what Alter means, though the exact quotes from Clinton himself are not quite that blunt. In other words... I'm not sure who I should be criticizing here — Alter or Clinton — but somebody needs a reality check.
If Clinton, or his legacy supporters, actually believe that this war on terror is ultimately going to be viewed as part of Clinton's eight years of chasing Usama bin Laden when he wasn't chasing interns... I submit there is a whole lot more inhaling going on here than anybody has been willing to admit.
Look... I swore off Clinton some time ago, and I'm not going to start again. I'm really not. I took Zyban to quit smoking, and it's worked. But there's no Zyban for the bruxism I get listening to Clinton pat himself on the back, and blame right wingers for his tarnished reputation.
Let me just make the point — a relatively minor one, I guess — that what is going on right now is the triumph of definitism over relativism. Whatever else you may want to say about George W. Bush, he isn't uncertain about how to attack the problem of terror that faces him. And I think that's a good thing.
I also think of it as part of the current administration, not an extension of the Clinton one.
There. I'm done with this Clinton thing. I promise. I wont' do this again. No matter what the provocation.
That's My Word.
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