Bill Clinton As Victim: Says His Message is “99.99″ Percent Positive

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If you say something often enough (“It’s a brand new pre-owned car!” “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction!” “Why, honey, that dress doesn’t make you look fat!”) you might get others — and perhaps yourself — to believe it. Perhaps that’s what’s behind former President Clinton’s assertion that his message in the campaign has been “99.99 percent” positive.

At the end of a week in which he’s often been the center of attention, former president Bill Clinton struck a conciliatory note, admitting that he has gotten “hot” defending his wife even as he defended his campaign role.

“I have not said anything that is factually inaccurate,” he said.

But that’s not what a large number of politicians, Democrats, liberal Democrats, conservatives, political analysts and columnists who have generally supported Bill Clinton are saying.

And here is the kicker:

Clinton had some scrambled eggs and grits with supporters this morning before setting off to visit polling locations here and upstate. As he greeted voters at the Meadowlake polling station, a woman greeted him and said, “You’re doin’ good. Just watch what you say.”

“My message has been 99.9% positive for 100% of this campaign,” Clinton said to reporters later. “I think that when I think she’s being misrepresented, I have a right to try to with factual accuracy set the record straight, which is what I’ve tried to do.”

Attention Jiminy Cricket…

If Mr. Clinton’s assertions have been “99.99″ percent positive and he hasn’t said anything inaccurate, than he must be the most MISUNDERSTOOD MAN in America.

For instance, here’s New York Times’ columnist Bob Herbert, who can’t be confused with a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy or (if I believe my emails) the Moderate Who MUST Really Be A Republican So He Hates Bill Clinton (who actually voted for him, though, and defended him during impeachment):

That [previously respectful tone of the Democratic campaign] has been lost, undermined by a deliberate injection of ugliness, and it would be very difficult to make the case that the Clintons have not been primarily to blame.

Bill Clinton, in his over-the-top advocacy of his wife’s candidacy, has at times sounded like a man who’s gone off his medication. And some of the Clinton surrogates have been flat-out reprehensible.

He gives details (which we have covered extensively on this website) then writes:

Mr. Obama’s campaign was always going to be difficult, and the climb is even steeper now. There is no reason to feel sorry for him. He’s a politician out of Chicago who must have known that campaigns often degenerate into demolition derbies.

Still, it’s legitimate to ask, given the destructive developments of the last few weeks, whether the Clintons are capable of being anything but divisive. The electorate seems more polarized now than it was just a few weeks ago, and the Clintons have seemed positively gleeful in that atmosphere.

It makes one wonder whether they have any understanding or regard for the corrosive long-term effects — on their party and the nation — of pitting people bitterly and unnecessarily against one another.

What kind of people are the Clintons? What role will Bill Clinton play in a new Clinton White House? Can they look beyond winning to a wounded nation’s need for healing and unifying?

These are questions that need to be answered. Stay tuned.

Jonathan Chait, senior editor at The New Republic, doesn’t look or sound like radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, and Chait has defended and backed Bill Clinton before. Yet, in a column in the Los Angeles Times he writes:

Something strange happened the other day. All these different people — friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read — kept saying the same thing: They’ve suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we’ve reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.

The sentiment seems to be concentrated among Barack Obama supporters. Going into the campaign, most of us liked Hillary Clinton just fine, but the fact that tens of millions of Americans are seized with irrational loathing for her suggested that she might not be a good Democratic nominee. But now that loathing seems a lot less irrational. We’re not frothing Clinton haters like … well, name pretty much any conservative. We just really wish they’d go away.

The big turning point seems to be this week, when the Clintons slammed Obama for acknowledging that Ronald Reagan changed the country. Everyone knows Reagan changed the country. Bill and Hillary have said he changed the country. But they falsely claimed that Obama praised Reagan’s ideas, saying he was a better president than Clinton — something he didn’t say and surely does not believe.

Not only is it DOCUMENTED that this was patently false, but the Clinton campaign then aired an ad that repeated it again. It all depends on what the definition of “lie” and “negative campaigning” is.

But Chait is not done yet. Here’s just part of it:

I crossed the Clinton Rubicon a couple of weeks ago when, in the course of introducing Hillary, Clinton supporter and Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson invoked Obama’s youthful drug use. This was disgusting on its own terms, but worse still if you know anything about Johnson. I do — I once wrote a long profile of him. He has a sleazy habit of appropriating the logic of civil rights for his own financial gain. He also has a habit of aiding conservative crusades to eliminate the estate tax and privatize Social Security by falsely claiming they redistribute wealth from African Americans to whites. The episode reminded me of the Clintons’ habit of surrounding themselves with the most egregious characters: Dick Morris, Marc Rich and so on.

And:

Am I starting to sound like a Clinton hater? It’s a scary thought. Of course, to conservatives, it’s a delicious thought. The Wall Street Journal published a gloating editorial noting that liberals had suddenly learned “what everyone else already knows about the Clintons.” (By “everyone,” it means Republicans.)

It made me wonder: Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along? Maybe not right to set up a perjury trap so they could impeach him, but right about the Clintons’ essential nature? Fortunately, the Journal’s attempt to convince us that the Clintons have always been unscrupulous liars seemed to prove the opposite. Its examples of Clintonian lies were their claims that Bob Dole wanted to cut Medicare, that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy, that Paula Jones was “trailer trash” and that Kenneth Starr was a partisan.

His final question:

If Hillary wins the nomination, most of us will probably vote for her because the alternative is likely to be worse. But what happens if she’s embroiled in another scandal? Will liberals rally behind her, or will they remember the Democratic primary?

Why don’t people GET IT — about how positive Bill’s message has been and how he has been 99.99 percent accurate, too? Bill Clinton is a victim — he’s misunderstood.

Another person who seems sadly confused and mistaken about Bill Clinton’s positive, uplifting and inspiring appearances in what some pundits now call the Billary campaign (a unofficial campaign to essentially have a couple basically serving as co-Presidents with an official Vice President under them) is Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King whose column MUST be read in full because he lists specific items that Mr. Clinton apparently forgot.

Here’s how King ends his piece:

Item: Billary loves to whine about the “politics of personal destruction.” But Billary’s campaign has taken to the low road, running ads falsely accusing Obama of supporting federal deficits and private Social Security accounts, and distorting his position on hot-button issues such as abortion. Newark Mayor Corey Booker, who branded the attacks “outrageous” and “dishonest,” told Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter: “We’re trying to offer an alternative to the Republicans’ fear and smear campaigns, and now we’re being dragged down to their level by the Clintons.”

One thing’s for sure: A Clinton administration will be a four-year co-presidency with all of the drama that Billary has managed to bring to every undertaking.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start worrying about tomorrow. Billary gives us enough to worry about today.

He, too, would normally support the Clintons.

So is Bill Clinton is the most MISUNDERSTOOD man in America?

No…actually:

He’s the most UNDERSTOOD MAN in America.

UPDATE: Exit polls show Bill Clinton did NOT do his wife any favors in South Carolina.

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  • TerryOtt

    Joe,
    Thanks for refreshing and reinforcing my gut feeling. Y'know I did something 15 years ago that I'll not forget. I voted for a guy I had bad vibes about. I was hoping then that I'd be proven wrong about WJClinton, and that my vote would turn out to be the right one. Actually, I was so “on the fence” at the time that I may have voted for Bill simply because I'd found myself next to Bill at a urinal EARLY in campaign time at a hotel, and had a two sentence conversation — him: “I've been looking forward to this moment for the last half hour”; me: “funny how urgent such a routine thing can become, huh?” Or something equally inane.

    I never despised Bill, later on, so much as I grew tired of him and his theatrics — and I admit to having been sorry for him; you know, the psychologically affected victim of his upbringing and all like that. I'm big on “benefit of the doubt”.

    But now? Not a chance. “Just say no” has a new meaning for me: I will NOT have electoral sex with that man (or his wife) again.

  • http://stubbornfacts.us/ Tully

    Somewhat of a fitting result for the tenth anniversary of the “I did not have sex with that woman” speech.

  • dalporto

    I think Clinton's strategy of attacking Obama not only drew party but also voter ire, and that's what backfired in the South Carolina primary. Mr. Obama's call for a more civilized campaign and press scrutiny of Mr Clinton's dubious claims seems to have resonated with voters. The beginning of a new era in politics?

    Check out more thoughts at: http://www.fixourpolicies.com

  • TerryOtt

    dalporto: One can HOPE it is the beginning of a new era in politics, and appropriately your comment is presented as a question. I'm not a student of political history, and so I may not be very qualified to speculate on this. BUT, if a candidate can get nominated by articulating a more consistently positive vision and repudiating (and not get sucked into) the “slash and burn” mode, then that IS worth celebrating — irrespective of that person's political orientation.

    But it is still, as they say, “early days”, and some things still have to happen:
    1. Obama or someone else has to pass all the way through the campaign territory without being “exposed” as a fraud in terms of walking the talk, then
    2. That person needs to be nominated;
    3. Then, that person has to be elected by still following the higher road; and THEN,
    4. The actual practice of more open and conciliatory and respectful governance and leadership has to happen.

    So, I'd put the odds at about 20:80 or 10:90 right now. But that's better than nothing!

  • Jakey

    If you want my honest opinion, I think we all of have to chill and cool down.

    I have said this time and time again. This election in November is for us Democrats to loose. If we are not very careful, with our division and partisanship, we will loose it.

    We have to remember people that at the end of the day, it is a question of all of us electing a DEMOCRAT into the White House.

    The Reps know how to play the divide and rule game through the media and we are playing into their hands.

    Bill Clinton may have been a little aggresive in campaigning for his wife, but quite frankly I think his role in the South Carolina was largely miscontrued and misrepresented.

    We have to realise that no matter how you passionate you feel about your candidate so are other people about theirs. That is what we've got to remember. This is what we quickly forget.

    The competition in the primary process is good, but honestly let's keep in touch with the fact that Hillary and Barrack are both Democrats and we should not pour vitriole on either one of them.

    This is one thing the GOP never do to their own no matter what. It's this kind of petty bickering and squabbling in our ranks that has resulted in us being outsmarted time and time again in past elections.

    Please let's stay focused on getting a Democrat into the White House whether it is Hillary or Barrack that is eventually chosen as the nominee. Otherwise in our folly, we could be hearing “Four more years” to our utter shock in November.

  • TerryOtt

    I guess what I'm saying, Jakey, is that it will come as something OTHER than “utter shock” if the Democrats fail to take the White House.

    I think it is still accurate to say, as I saw weeks ago, the person with the highest % of “would never vote for him/her under any circumstances” — is Hillary. That MAY change. but I doubt it will because it is a widely held judgment and the aversion is deep indeed.

    Her competiton will probably be Oback up to the convention, if it is anyone. He has a shot in the general election, but she does not. It surprises me that there are so many who delude themselves into thinking otherwise.

  • dgb

    I voted for Bill Clinton twice, defended him during impeachment, nodding in agreement when Hillary went on about the vast right wing blah. Now, I am registered an Independent because I can't bring myself to identify with either party.

    I also realized just a while back that when the Clintons were rousing the troops with an us-against-them frontal attack, they weren't talking about Democrats and Republicans, or liberals and conservatives, but the Clintons and everybody else.

    I have my problems with Obama's proposals, and I think that he is spectacularly wrong on some issues, but I can't keep myself from being inspired by him and is candidacy. His could become a generational presidency, like Kennedy's or Reagan's.

    Robert Heinlein once said that if you can't find someone to vote for you must find someone to vote against, which is just as vital an activity. So I think that I will re-register as a Democrat, not because I pine for the land of my birth, but because I feel compelled to vote against Hillary. And who knows? There might be a Republican to vote against in November.

  • TallDave

    If you say something often enough (“Iraq has weapons of mass destruction!” ) you might get others — and perhaps yourself — to believe it.

    Or if it's, you know, the consensus of the world's intelligence agencies. Sometimes people believe that, too.

    Frankly, it's pretty hilarious seeing the left suddenly discovering that the Clintons are shameless liars who will say absolutely anything, totally without regard to the truth, to benefit themselves. Apparently they missed that whole episode where Bill very angrily and emphatically denied he had ever had sexual relations with Monica, and said the whole scandal was just distracting him from serving America.

  • TallDave

    BTW, I think Obama has a very good chance of garnering centrists in the general, if he campaigns as a moderate (i.e., no huge tax hikes, won't abandon Iraq). I would probably vote for him over Romney and maybe McCain.

    A lot of people in the middle would very much like to see an African-American take the Presidency. It would say a lot about how meritocratic this country has become.

  • cosmoetica

    Jakey: 'We have to remember people that at the end of the day, it is a question of all of us electing a DEMOCRAT into the White House. '

    Uh, no. It's a question of getting the best person in the White House. This year it's Edwards, but Obama'd be a good 2nd choice. However, if the D's are dumb enough to send another hack like Hillary (Kerry, Gore….) then let's hope Bloomberg gets in.

  • G_Hendricks

    cosmo: Exactly!

  • cosmoetica

    Tall Dave: 'If you say something often enough (“Iraq has weapons of mass destruction!” ) you might get others — and perhaps yourself — to believe it.

    Or if it's, you know, the consensus of the world's intelligence agencies. Sometimes people believe that, too.'

    Uh, well, it wasn't even the consensus within the CIA, if we want to remain in the real world. That Bushco cherrypicked what it believed and not is not really disputable.

  • TallDave

    Uh, well, it wasn't even the consensus within the CIA

    It was a slam-dunk case! Reality? Please.

    Yes, there was dissent about what certain tubes were being used for and whether Official A was trying buy WMD component B in country C. No, the overall conclusion was never doubted. Not under Clinton, not under Bush, not under Bush Sr. Never. It was assumed, quite reasonably,.that Saddam would not have gone to war over fighting inspections for WMD he didn't have — and remember, even into 2003 he could have decided to cooperate and prevented his ouster and eventual execution.

    That Bushco cherrypicked what it believed and not is not really disputable.

    I'm sure they did, just like Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he bombed Iraq. You're missing the point.

    Every. Intelligence. Agency. In. The. World.

    You do realize there are thousands of dead Kurds in Halabja killed by Saddam's WMD? Bush didn't invent them. Saddam refused to account for them, and everyone assumed he had still had them.

    Oh well, say hi to Fox Mulder in your wacky conspiracy world.

  • TallDave

    BTW, we now know why everyone thought Saddam had WMD: according to his interrogator, that's what Saddam wanted everyone to think. It was a deliberate pretense because he was worried about Iran, and apparently believed no U.S. President would have the cojones to actually invade and overthrow him. He bet wrong.

  • cosmoetica

    TallDave:

    Reality Check: Even many in Bush's inner circle doubted the WMDs. Gimme a break. Get your head out of Bushco's butt.

    Also, there was almost a general consensus against Iraq being behind 9/11.

    And by that I mean 1 a: general agreement : unanimity <the consensus of their opinion, based on reports…from the border — John Hersey> b: the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned <the consensus was to go ahead>2: group solidarity in sentiment and belief

    One shd know what words mean when they utter them.

    I.e.- when you type 'the consensus of the world's intelligence agencies' it means most thought, which is not so. A few US lackeys, and a few US agencies, officially, so as to not make W & Cheney look like total asses, kept their mouths shut when the lies were uttered.

    'I'm sure they did, just like Bill Clinton did in the 1990s when he bombed Iraq. You're missing the point. '

    No, that is the point, when the cherrypicking, as you admit, utterly deflates the claim of 'consensus.

    It's. Called. Logic.

    'You do realize there are thousands of dead Kurds in Halabja killed by Saddam's WMD? Bush didn't invent them. Saddam refused to account for them, and everyone assumed he had still had them.
    Oh well, say hi to Fox Mulder in your wacky conspiracy world.'

    That was years before the invasion. It's not conspiracy. It's reality.

    'BTW, we now know why everyone thought Saddam had WMD: according to his interrogator, that's what Saddam wanted everyone to think. It was a deliberate pretense because he was worried about Iran, and apparently believed no U.S. President would have the cojones to actually invade and overthrow him. He bet wrong.'

    Yes. So you think it was a good thing to start a needless war on false pretenses. At least you're honest about your idiocy. More than can be said for W.