Did anyone else get chills when they saw the Bill Clinton/Ed Wallace interview last week? It was like watching a great hockey fight- completely out of line, but really satisfying to watch. In politics and in business, folks are called upn to keep a straight face, respect their opponents. When you blink, get mad, get opinionated, people label you as uncontrollable. However there was something about Clinton’s interview that gave me pause.
This was not like the various tirades against Bush by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or by the legions of protesters around the world.
I’ve been reading some of the conservative op-ed pieces. They attack the veracity of the claims, the idea that it may have been calculated, most strangely the idea that it was a tactic to smear the hard-hitting fox news network as a conservative mouthpiece (which is hardly disputed)
However, Clinton was not forced to come on Ed Wallace’s show. He could have easily avoided confrontation by sticking to liberal-friendly programs like the Daily Show. Fox News was conversely not forced into having Clinton Appear. I would wager that Clinton was quite prepared for Wallace’s question, and responded in kind.
What fox news tends to pass off as “hard-hitting” journlism amounts to questions along the lines of “Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?”. This took the form of “Why didn’t you do more to catch Osama Bin Laden?”
To ask that question is to imply that Clinton is to blame for Bin Laden’s freedom. Clinton waited until that exact moment to strike back, and I think he should be commended for it.
We can only hope that this is a preview of the kind of rhetoric that Democrats will use in the coming mid-term and Presidential elections. Democrats lost the ability to go on the offensive when they started to treat the voting public like a marketing demographic. Human beings have emotions. There is a big difference between appealing to voters and actually connecting to them.
That is exactly what Bill Clinton did in this interview. Conservatives may hate him, Liberals may love him, but the fact is he annexed a piece of the American consciousness right there on national television.