Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Unpassion of the UStians

Just as the Dems are maybe, kind of, sort of showing some barely visible signs of momentum, along comes a past leader to show the left how to conduct itself. How does the left react? By playing right into the hands of right-wing spinmeisters and treating the event as if it were DeanScream II.

And you know what? The first DeanScream was nothing but a manufactured move to take the spotlight away from an early charismatic possible candidate. The fact that the move was made by the Dems themselves, makes the whole thing all the more deplorable. Howard Dean was merely expressing excitement at his early success, and rallying the troops with essentially a pep rally speech.

Now this.

Bill Clinton goes to the lion's den, FOXNews, under the auspices of interviewing with Chris Wallace (why did this formerly respectable journalist take a contract with these fuckers?) about the successful close of the three-day Clinton Global Initiative* conference, and instead gets asked about the latest right-wing charges that he did not do enough to prevent 9/11.

Given that the right-wing has been promoting this view of history for the last few months, including foundless allegations that he was too distracted by Lewinskigate to do the right thing regarding Osama bin Laden (compeletely not true), Clinton reacted with more than a little heat. Expectedly so. (Here's the vidclip of the exchange.)

Right-wing spinmeisters did what they could with it, and now it's being parroted by all their pundits as a loss of face for the former president. Even some left-wingers are picking up on it, though it's too early to say whether or not it's going to become a tidal wave or if the anti-Clinton movement will be reversed. I truly don't get this. Left-wingers should be heeding this as a clarion call for further indignance at what has become of this country; as a momentum builder instead of something to hurriedly cover up and distance themselves from.

PalJoe sets up a typically brilliant gag, regarding this event, with the statement "I don't think Clinton did himself any favors by getting so riled up." I use this not as an example of a left winger admonishing Clinton, but of the kind of thing that's being said out there.

Perhaps this will better illustrate my point: Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, while being interviewed by Keith Olbermann**, said "I‘ve had Clinton lose his temper in interviews with me. And they called them purple fits in the Clinton White House....It‘s just part of his personality...He‘s got so many appealing qualities. This is one of his less-appealing." [Emphasis mine. - TBO]

Are you fucking kidding me?

You know what Clinton and Dean dared to do in front of a national audience? Become demonstrably passionate.

When the hell did it become a faux pas to be passionate? Or sincere, for that matter, but that's another entry.

Their line of offense is very simply stated, and quite subversive in its ability to instill doubt where there shouldn't be: "Do you want someone this close to being out of control to have his finger on the button?" You know, because a logician makes much better sense under these circumstances. I'd rather have someone who gave a shit about the world around them steering the big ship than not.

But I veer away from the point here, in that the examples of Dean and Clinton being "out of control" are nothing of the sort. That just because they reveal themselves to be human, for fuck's sake, is not three steps away from seeing them yell "kill the fuckers, rape their babies, DIE! DIE! DIE!"

In this age of perma-access to anything and everything a politician does and says, it's easy to forget that even the most popular presidents of ages past had their fits of passion, be they positive, negative, defensive or offensive. The ideal of a cool and collected leader who is able to keep his shit together while crisis after crisis present themselves is a fantasy on a level not seen since Hubbard released Dianetics.

Besides, the cold and logical approach does not work for the left. Thus far, it has gotten us two candidates whose ideas are worthy, but do not translate to overwhelming success and approval. I'm thinking of the line of well-intentioned presidential candidates the Dems have given us starting with Mondale, and continued with Dukakis, etc.

Far better to stoke our passion for a better reality, in my opinion. Let's not be scared into thinking otherwise.

Meanwhile, I trust you've heard about this whole NIE fiasco, right? This guy has. The finding inspires one of the loudest "no shit, Sherlock" I can imagine. Unsurprisingly, the move to discuss it has been voted down.

*for example, Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin enterprise, committed the corporate profits of Virgin Airlines and Rail for the next 10 years to the CGI. The CGI's purpose? Merely to alleviate poverty, disease, and religious and ethnic conflict while cooling off global warming. Lofty, sure, mayhaps a little naive, but tell me who else is doing something about these problems...

**Mr. Olbermann shows more than a little of his own passion in
his reaction to the Clinton Backlash. Worthy of a good look and listen. I know people are starting to criticize Olbermann for his lengthy, erudite manner and his lifting of Ed Murrow's signature line (something he's been doing for a while); but until he starts frothing at the mouth, I find his input to be more than bracing and encouraging in this apathetic climate we find ourselves in.


At 4:23 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Ed? So, you guys were fishin' buddies?

Edward R., please.

Sheesh have some fuckin' respect. You'll be calling him Eddie M next.

At 5:21 PM, Anonymous Matski said...

Great post. The left has needed some salsa and cojones for a long time now ... too many focus groups, too much "would you like some vanilla with your bland." That sorta works to put together the Big Tent, but now it's time for spice. The Kulturkampf is on ... we win it or we lose it, and we must not lose.

Thanks. Loved the Olberman bit, hadn't seen that.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

JJ, "it's the truly insightful comments that make blogging all worth it."

Matski, I wanted to drop you a line thanking you for your comment, but alas and alack. Please consider a substitute to a personal note: Thanks for dropping by!

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous flamingbanjo said...

Whatever. If a guy's dispassionate they attack him for being boring, if he's righteously indignant (as was Clinton -- there was no "Dean screaming" going on here, just bullshit-calling) they attack him for being out of control, if he's smart they attack him for being snobby, if he didn't serve in Vietnam they attack him for being a draft-dodger if he did they attack him for surviving the war. That's how it works. There's no point in trying to avoid unfair criticism, it's an inevitable part of the process.

Maybe the Democrats would do well to notice that Clinton, the only Dem to actually win the motherfucking presidencey in the last twenty-five years, doesn't appear to have a problem of going toe-to-toe with a hostile interviewer and telling him to get his facts straight.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

This is just another of the many ways the Right tries to reframe the debate, just like how they always pair a rabid neo-con fundie Rep against a milktoasty right-centrist Dem, in order pull the so-called "middle ground" between them somewhere just to the left of Ghengis Khan, as their way of showing "balance".


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