Your Mail: Clinton Conquered in FOX Interview

Your responses to my article on Bill Clinton demonstrate it’s no surprise his FOX News appearance generated the ratings that it did -- everyone has an opinion about this man.

While your opinions mostly differed with mine, we all agreed some new leadership from the Democratic Party would be a nice surprise.

Dan Callahan of Centennial, Colo., writes:

“I’m a Republican, Susan, but you are right on in your analysis. I’m not a Bill Clinton fan, but I admire his political ability, particularly in triangulating issues. He was an expert in this in office. He certainly took the fight to the Republicans in his appearance on FOX as to whether or not he really was aggressive against bin Laden. (Personally, I don’t think he was.)

He also skillfully played off Richard Clarke’s book against the National Intelligence Report, which I don’t think personally was well done or seriously injured the Bush administration, and the TV fantasy version of events.

It was classic Clinton: a bravo performance. Unfortunately Democrats didn’t pick up on it. Speaks poorly of Howard Dean and his leadership.”

SRE: Maybe -- we’ll see if the excitement it generated will help carry the base through the elections.

Dave Christine writes:

“Wouldn’t it be better to excite the base with new ideas and approaches to solving the problems we face instead of “would, coulda, shoulda?”

SRE: A good point, although maybe the former president has served his role.

Mark Hammerton writes:

Bill Clinton disgraced himself with his Fox appearance. He went ballistic over a simple, straightforward question. Instead of defending his record in a dignified, presidential manner, he offered weird conspiracy theories and insults for his interviewer. Unbelievable. If this excites Democrats, they have lost their capacity for reason.

SRE: I think the question was rightly quite personal to Clinton, but thanks for weighing in -- many agreed with you.

Rusty Glover writes:

”You are right on point in that the Democrats don't have any new leaders. And the one that is taking all the attention is Bill who can’t be reelected -- campaigning against a president that can't be reelected.”

SRE: I agree it’s a little sad that a former president has taken hold of the debate -- I’m glad Condi and Hillary weighed in and am looking for more as well.

Daniel Neja writes:

You stated an excellent synopsis of the political landscape. Bill Clinton, for better or worse, has just dwarfed any other Democratic candidate out there -- with the possible exception of Hillary, who wisely weighed in. Other than from Sen. Clinton, there has been an amazingly strange silence from the potential 2008 contenders.

Where are they? Where have they been? They have been standing on the sidelines since the Geneva Convention debate within the GOP, at which point they lost control of the national debate. Bill Clinton grabbed the issue by the horns, and at the same time he showed how lacking for strength of leadership the potential presidential crop of Democrats is. It will be interesting to see who -- if anyone -- has the political guts to grab the reins from Bill.

SRE: Thanks, agreed!

Susan Estrich is currently the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Southern California and a member of the Board of Contributors of USA Today. She writes the "Portia" column for American Lawyer Media and is a contributing editor of The Los Angeles Times. She was appointed by the president to serve on the National Holocaust Council and by the mayor of the City of Los Angeles to serve on that city's Ethics Commission.

A woman of firsts, she was the first woman president of the Harvard Law Review and the first woman to head a national presidential campaign (Dukakis). Estrich is committed to paving the way for women to assume positions of leadership.

Books by Estrich include "Real Rape," "Getting Away with Murder: How Politics is Destroying the Criminal Justice System" and "Dealing with Dangerous Offenders." Her book "Making the Case for Yourself: A Diet Book for Smart Women," is a departure from her other works, encouraging women to take care of themselves by engaging the mind to fight for a healthy body. Her latest book, The Los Angeles Times bestseller, "Sex & Power," takes an impassioned look at the division of power between men and women in the American workforce, proving that the idea of gender equality is still just an idea.