Convenient lies of the Clintons

Rich Lowry:

While Al Gore was winning an Oscar for his film An Inconvenient Truth, the people he once inhabited the White House with were showing the power of the convenient lie.

When Hillary Clinton’s talented spokesman Howard Wolfson reacted to Hollywood mogul David Geffen’s attacks on the Clintons last week, his initial statement calling on Barack Obama to apologize described Geffen as Obama’s “campaign finance chair.” This could only have been a calculated dishonesty, since everyone knows that Geffen has no formal role in the Obama campaign, even if he was hosting a Hollywood fundraiser for the Illinois senator. But nakedly mischaracterizing Geffen’s role served the purpose of more closely associating Obama with his remarks.

It was a convenient lie, and it just might have worked. Much of the punditocracy declared Hillary the winner of the bout over Geffen, since the Wolfson statement baited Obama’s above-the-fray campaign into responding in kind. Thus, the flap itself showed the merit in Geffen’s original criticism of the Clintons: “Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

One of the points of the Clinton campaign’s harsh counterattack was to keep anything related to Bill Clinton’s misconduct in office off-limits. (Geffen noted Bill’s recklessness in the Monica Lewinsky affair and his appalling pardon of international fugitive Marc Rich.) At the time, the Clintons labeled impeachment “the politics of personal destruction,” and now even alluding to it as Geffen did is also the politics of personal destruction. This is defining destruction downward. Soon enough, even watching a Geffen-produced movie will be an out-of-bounds personal attack.

Distasteful though it might be, Democrats would be well-advised to revisit Bill Clinton’s personal scandals from the 1990s, not for what they say about Bill (we already know all that), but for what they say about the political character of Hillary....

If the Democrats attacked our foreign enemies with the ferocity they attack their political opponents it is unlikely that 9-11 would have happened the way it did. The Pentagon could learn something from their war room tactics in the fight against the al Qaeda PR campaign that is half of the war on terror.


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