A successful politician?
By Charles Bloomer
The talking points have been distributed. Having failed to make any headway developing a legitimate legacy, Clinton supporters are trying to put some kind of positive spin on Bill Clinton's reputation. The chattering class in the liberal, mainstream press has responded and has been repeating the assertion that President Clinton is the most successful politician of our time. Real politicians should be offended.
The truth is that Bill Clinton is one of the most successful confidence men of our time. He just happened to choose politics as his medium.
As president, Clinton actually accomplished nothing worthwhile. He wasted his eight years in the White House. In his first two years, when he had a congress controlled by his own party, his most spectacular accomplishment was to have his idea of government takeover of the health care industry resoundingly rejected. Whatever successes that have come out of the past eight years have not been Clinton's doing. The "booming economy" is actually Reagan's achievement, and influenced more by Alan Greenspan than by the president. Welfare reform was a Republican idea that Clinton twice rejected before finally acquiescing to the poll numbers.
If we are to believe the pundits, success must have some interesting definitions. Are we to understand that the "most successful politician" is one that managed to be the only elected president ever to be impeached? Or that success is measured by the depths of degradation to which Clinton has dragged the presidency?
Would any other politician who had an affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter be called successful? Especially when his sexual escapades took place in the Oval Office?
Can a politician who lies under oath, obstructs justice, and lies to the American people be considered successful?
Is a president who, as commander-in-chief, presided over the demoralization of the military and the reduction of the nation's ability to defend its interests considered a great politician?
Would any other American that sells out his country by failing to prevent the largest, most damaging espionage effort against our nation's nuclear capability, while at the same time accepting illegal campaign contributions from the offending country be called successful? One who has squandered America's foreign policy accomplishments of the past 20 years, including the winning of the Cold War, by actively appeasing the brutal communist dictatorships of China and Cuba?
What politician of our time, or any other time, would be called a success after tacitly admitting to the sexual harassment of Paula Jones? Or after being credibly accused of sexual assault by Kathleen Willey and of rape by Juanita Broaddrick?
Is a successful politician one who abuses the power of his office by bringing to bear the overwhelming resources of the FBI, IRS, Justice Department, and INS against American citizens and 6-year-old boys that happen to be in his way? One who abuses the power of his office by gathering 900 FBI files in order to engage in attacks on the personal lives of his opponents? One who not only seeks revenge, but actively and aggressively seeks to destroy those that disagree with him?
Should we consider successful a president who will say anything, anytime, anywhere if he thinks it will suit his purposes? A president who has never lead, but follows the polls religiously? A president whose every action, every utterance, every facial expression is the result of the reaction of focus groups?
Is this president successful because he managed to convince his own party to blindly support his obnoxious behavior? Because he got his cabinet members to repeat his lies and dismiss his misconduct? Or because, on the day he was impeached, his sycophants rallied around him and called him a "great president"?
Is a successful American president one who blatantly ignores the Constitution of the United States by issuing executive orders that bypass the legislative prerogatives of Congress and violate the private property rights of citizens? Or one who uses recess appointments to illegally appoint judges and other officials who cannot be confirmed in the Senate?
But then, maybe the talking heads and inky wretches that espouse this definition of success only mean that Clinton is successful because he has managed to get away with all these things. After all, he hasn't been indicted (yet). After impeachment, he avoided being removed from office thanks to a lock-step vote for acquittal by every Democrat in the senate. Despite all the bad news about his behavior during his first term, he got re-elected. The pundits are using a simple definition for political success - get away with your misdeeds and get re-elected.
This distortion of the meaning of success is revealing. It reveals the bias and sycophancy of the mainstream press. They cannot bring themselves to admit that the candidate they voted for is a slick talking con-man selling political snake oil. They refuse to admit that they have been suckered. They desperately need to find some redemption in their support of Bill Clinton despite the abject failure of the Clinton presidency.
If Bill Clinton, the leader of the most unethical administration in American history is their definition of success, then we should hope we never see another "successful" politician.
Charles Bloomer is a senior writer for Enter Stage Right. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. (c) 2001 Charles Bloomer
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