Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Clinton, politics, and the exploitation of death

Byron York reminds us of the political calculation that guided Bill Clinton's response to the OKC terror attack:

How Clinton exploited Oklahoma City for political gain

It was a political strategy crafted while rescue and recovery efforts were still underway in Oklahoma City. And it worked better than Clinton or Morris could have predicted. In the months after the bombing, Clinton regained the upper hand over Republicans, eventually winning battles over issues far removed from the attack. The next year, 1996, he went on to re-election. None of that might have happened had Clinton, along with Morris, not found a way to wring as much political advantage as possible out of the deaths in Oklahoma City. And that is the story you're not hearing in all the anniversary discussions.

The cynical exploitation of tragedy was one of the defining characteristics of the Clinton style. It was not just OKC.

The White House blamed Vince Foster's suicide on those who demanded answers to Travelgate and Waco. Normal politics and vigorous journalism became a "bloodsport" that drove good men to their graves.

Later, Clinton happily poured fuel on the fire when the press created a hysteria over racially-motivated church burnings. (Michael Fumento's great work demonstrated that the MSM got almost everything wrong on this story.)

Clinton's sank to his lowest when he dragged out his dead mother to explain away the Lincoln Bedroom fundraising scandal:

We've had a lot of work going on in Washington and we've had, both of us had lost a parent, and we just hadn't kept in touch with people like we should have.

As Ann Coulter put it:

Classic Clinton. He needed to start selling the Lincoln Bedroom because both he and Hillary had 'lost a parent" that year.

High Crimes and Misdemeanors

An interesting sidelight-- Howard Kurtz takes time out from his press critic gig to spin for Clinton. He wrote this as part of his "reporting" in York's piece:

Okay, but the fact that a political adviser offered political advice doesn't mean the president was thinking just about his poll numbers. Keep in mind that 168 people had just died. Was George W. Bush thinking only about his poll numbers with his aggressive response to 9/11?

I like how he dismisses the evidence that York presents and equates it to the hypothetical calculations of Bush after 9/11. York cites the memo Dick Morris wrote for Clinton. Where is the Rove memo explaining how Republicans could tie Democrats to bin Laden? Until Kurtz produces said document, he looks like nothing more than a dishonest partisan.

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