One of the things about the right-wing punks who dominate the radio and cable talk-space is that they never get out and actually debate anyone. They sit in the safety and sanctimony of their studio cocoons and smear, lie, exaggerate, denigrate (Dems), excuse (Bushies) and poison the political atmosphere.
For instance, after the September primaries in parts of the country, it was part of the Rove radio talking-points that the Republic party is more friendly to African-Americans because they put up Clarence Thomas-like stooges such as Ken Blackwell in Ohio (governor) and Michael Steele in Maryland (Senate), while Democrats in Maryland narrowly chose a white candidate over Kweisi Mfume for that Senate seat. I heard this on one national show and one local.
It’s the kind of point that is ridiculous on its face, but, if repeated often enough, sticks and smears and makes some who aren’t paying that much attention just more uncomfortable with Democrats. Put to the test in a real exchange of ideas, it wouldn’t last more than a minute and anyone perpetrating the idea would be laughed out of the room. But radio wing-nuts never get in those rooms with real people with real ideas. They hit-and-run and then hit again.
So in goes Fox News’ Chris Wallace to talk to Bill Clinton and he naively decides to float some of the anti-Clinton talking points about Clinton’s inability to terminate Bin Laden before he left office. Wallace, who lost all credibility by taking the Fox job after years of mediocre work for real news organizations, plays straight-man to Brit Hume and the other fire-breathers on the Sunday morning show. He has been around these clowns for so long, down probably does look like up to him.
Wallace starts wtih some stupid comment about e-mails he's received and then asks the former president why he didn’t go after Bin Laden. And Clinton properly ripped him to shreds. Clinton read him the riot act up and down about what he did and tried to do, about the fact that he did not flee Somalia after the Black Hawk Down tragedy, about how the same neo-cons that used to complain that he was too obsessed with Bin Laden now claim he did nothing, etc.
The best point Clinton made was right in Wallace’s face: You didn’t ask those other guys the same questions, did you? Wallace stammered, but he was sunk. A Foxie asking a real question to a Bushie? Why, you’d sooner see oversight from the lapdog Congress that has let Bush run amok all these years. Wallace knew he didn’t ask the same questions, but he pretended he did. And Clinton got – literally – right in his face. It was a brilliant and badly-needed performance from a great American.
Even the Bush-laden panel after the interview had to take some of Clinton’s points. The repulsive Hume and Fred Barnes, both of whom have surely claimed the opposite in the past had to admit that Clinton worked to get Bin Laden. The wingnut spin since the interview hit the internet on Friday was all about Clinton’s “purple rage” and Hume stoically spun out the old canard about Clinton being mostly concerned with his legacy, and that’s why he was so upset.
But, ultimately, the truth is the best defense, and Clinton had it all on his side. He tried and failed to get Bin Laden before 9/11. Bush just failed. At everything.