Sunday, June 20, 2004
I'm struck (though not surprised) by Rather's constant attempts to explain Clinton to the audience, rather than to be adversarial (as he would undoubtedly be if he were interviewing a Republican). He raises some difficult questions (Monica, the Rich pardon), but his obvious purpose is to allow Clinton to communicate his point of view to the country, and Clinton's point of view is the final one given to the audience. There are none of the "others disagree" pronouncements that would inevitably follow, say, a Bush interview.
The low point in the entire mess--indeed, the Marianas Trench of recent broadcast journalism--is where Rather mentions that Clinton is haunted by the 18 dead on Somalia and felt it was a mistake. I'll repeat that, Rather is telling us Clinton's state of mind. Really, I have never, ever seen anything as shameless from a journalist in a free society. Never.
Among the many unintentionally revealing statements from BC: Signing the peace agreement on the White House lawn with Arafat and Rabin is "one of the greatest moments of my life." Of course it would be--even though this "peace" agreement was a total sham and led inevitably to the Second Intifada, which cost a thousand Israeli and far more Palestinian lives, and which only came to an end during the hard-line Bush and Sharon administrations.
But of course Clinton would view such a phony, hollow occasion as a moment of greatness. Even though the accords were a disaster, the signing ceremony was a magnificent photo-op where Bill got to bask in the applause and love of the entire world, and as we all know, that's all that matters.
This guy beats Nixon and Kennedy as the most wildly-disordered personality (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in this case) ever to inhabit the White House.
Hugh Hewitt pointed out something interesting on his radio show, that BC's remarks about Monica are also typical. Bill can't simply say "I did it because I'm just a horn dog"--he must say "I did it because I could." Hewitt observes that here Clinton is (presumably unintentionally)
recalling Augustine and his distinctions between the sins of Lust vs. Pride. Pride ("I did it because I could") is the worst of all sins, says Augustine; Clinton can't settle for ordinary Lust, because he's too important.
Rather asks Bill about the Marc Rich pardon and Bill evinces regrets about it, but only for the problems it caused, not for the merits of the pardon, which Bill assures us are considerable. And what might these merits be? Rather doesn't ask. (I might speculate that they would involve a combination of cash and Denise Rich's remarkable, um, persuasive powers, but I have a dirty mind. Ignore me).
And here again Bill is being revealing, for here he is vocalizing one of the core beliefs of his life: It's only regrettable if you get caught. I wanted to create a drinking game where you chug every time Bill says, when asked if he did something, "there is no evidence that I did it..." instead of "I didn't do it." Yes, I realize that I don't drink, but this interview nearly made me start again.
Bill refers to himself with that loathsome pop-psychology term "change agent." A ridiculous contention, in that Clinton--who lucked out into welfare reform, the Internet boom, and a stock market hysteria--did perhaps less to change things than any President in history.
He says that "there is no evidence" that he was offered Osama Bin Laden by the Sudanese government in 1996. But there is.
"No one could ever honestly accuse me of not believing in anything." Absolutely true--because no one could deny Bill's overwhelming belief in himself.