To follow up on my posting from yesterday regarding Bill Clinton’s implausible claim that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, it’s worth reading this article in today’s Washington Post. According to the Post story,
A former senior aide to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice disputed Bill Clinton‘s statement this week that he “opposed Iraq from the beginning,” saying that the former president was privately briefed by top White House officials about war planning in 2003 and that he told them he supported the invasion…. Hillary Mann Leverett, at the time the White House director of Persian Gulf affairs, said that Rice and Elliott Abrams, then National Security Council senior director for Near East and North African affairs, met with Clinton several times in the months before the March 2003 invasion to answer any questions he might have. She said she was “shocked” and “astonished” by Clinton’s remarks this week, made to voters in Iowa, because she has distinct memories of Abrams “coming back from those meetings literally glowing and boasting that ‘we have Clinton’s support.'” Leverett, a former career foreign service officer who said she is not involved in any presidential campaign, said the incident affected her because of her own doubts about the wisdom of an attack. “To hear President Clinton was supportive really silenced whatever questions I had,” she recalled.
At some point soon no one in America will be shocked and astonished by the mendacity of Bill Clinton. It is, it seems, part of his DNA. The weird thing is he has probably convinced himself that he really was opposed to the war. In that sense, he is a perfect post-modern political figure—a man for whom reality rests entirely on his own personal interpretation of events. Objective things—like, say, actual conversations and past positions—mean almost nothing at all; “relative truth” and one’s “personal narrative” are everything.
These views can be tolerable when held by Algerian-born French philosophers; they are a good deal more dangerous when held by the commander-in-chief, where words and meaning actually matter.
The memories of the Clinton years are not pretty ones—and the more Bill Clinton speaks, the more Clinton Fatigue sets in. It’s remarkable that a man of his skills and talents can prove to be a net negative to Hillary’s campaign. But that very well might be the case.
If I were Barack Obama, I might consider telling people that with the Clintons, they will be getting two for the price of one.