Posted by Michael Hiteshew on December 25th, 2004 (All posts by Michael Hiteshew)
As president, Clinton sold burial plots in Arlington Cemetery and liberals shrugged it off. What really gets their goat is the autopen. Evidently, the important thing was that every one of those pardons Clinton sold for cash on his last day in office was signed by Bill Clinton personally.
This is a good example of a basic tactic in politics: when you’re in the opposition, the strategy is always “Attack!” It doesn’t matter what issue you’re attacking on because in the end, although most will fail to get real traction, some attacks will stick and do damage. It’s death by a thousand cuts. Attrition warfare.
The papers know this is a silly, non-issue. It doesn’t matter, nor does it stop them. It’s an attack, that’s the point. It’s one more pinprick that draws blood. Heap on the occassional body blow and your opponent, weakened finally to the point of exhaustion, stumbles and (hopefully) falls. We win.
Of course, had Donald Rumsfeld actually taken hours out his schedule each week to write and personally sign each letter of condolence, that would be a microscandal and point of attack as well. Imagine the story line, ‘Rumsfeld whiles away hours personally signing fallen soldiers’ death notices while commanders await important decisions.’ Or how about ‘Bush has SecDef do his dirty work.’ The possibilities are endless. Mind numbing too. The media elites wonder why so many Americans tune out 90% of what they say.
For the record, the sword cuts the other way as well. For all the things you could legitimately criticize Bill Clinton over, Monica-gate was an absurdity. I’m not endorsing adultery – far from it, I’m against it – but to tie up the US government in a months-long impeachment, to waste that much time and money over a matter that rightly belongs between Bill and Hillary and Monica, was ridiculus in the extreme. There’s been marital infidelity among presidents from Jefferson to JFK. Monica-gate was scandal mongering at its absolute worst. It was a national circus. Nothing like a touch of licentiousness to sell papers though. Or dead soldiers. One’s as good as the other. And either can advance your agenda. That’s all that matters.