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The Politics of Personal Destruction, as Practiced by Pros; a Party of Victims; Why Am I Angry?


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Jonah Goldberg

THE POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION, AS PRACTICED BY PROS
In April, 1996 I wrote in the Wall Street Journal that:

“[A] conservative culture, if there is to be one, should try to diminish the relevance of political allegiances, not exaggerate them. If wanting to reform welfare and Medicaid doesn’t make you some cruel “Gingrich who Stole Christmas,” then defending them shouldn’t imply you’re Hillary Clinton with a migraine. It has been a mistaken tenet of liberalism that one’s political affiliation is a window to one’s soul.”

While I am certainly not above mindless egotism, I offer the citation to demonstrate that I am aiming for consistency. In my heart of hearts I still believe that, with some obvious exceptions, you cannot judge someone’s moral worth by their political posture alone. Nevertheless, after watching the mendacity, the sanctimony, and above all, the arrogant shabbiness of the House Democrats and their incarnate dashboard-Saint Bill Clinton, I am sorely strained not to question my convictions.

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Conservatism as a political philosophy is offended by what Edmund Burke called “arbitrary power” — be it by French Jacobin, English Monarch or even soulless conglomerates like the British East India Company. As a moral or, in these less judgmental times, a personal philosophy, conservatism is not silent, but it holds its tongue more than its critics think. It is, to be sure, less Romantic about the future than liberalism. Conservatism, Oakeshott said, preferred “present laughter to Utopian bliss.” In short, conservatives prefer a society free from as much government as possible but constrained by such antiquated notions as community, duty, honor, self-restraint, spiritual and intellectual humility and respect for others.

I have always considered myself prouder to be a conservative than a Republican. Not today. The Grand Old Party in direct defiance of public opinion, political advantage, and myriad personal ambitions did the right thing and for the right reasons.

I have never felt a greater visceral contempt for the Democratic Party. Congressional Democrats were so angry that they were not allowed to censure the President they walked out of Congress, something not done in over a decade. Minority Leader Gephardt, leading his motley brigade, called the blockage of a censure vote an unconstitutional disgrace, a travesty, a black mark in American history. He begged Republicans to let the Democrats “vote their conscience” by censuring the President. Gephardt said — no really he did — “May god have mercy on this Congress.” I thought only Christian Right was allowed to invoke the almighty in partisan squabbles.

These Democrats say that they walked out of Congress because they were denied the opportunity to give voice to their “conscience” by saying, in their words that the President “egregiously failed” his constitutional oath, “violated the trust of the American people,” and “dishonored the office which they entrusted to him.” These same democrats who ranked this cri de coer with other such votes-of-conscience as abortion, the death penalty, and War, subsequently got on a bus and applauded as Al Gore declared that, Bill Clinton would “be regarded in the history books as one of our greatest presidents.” After their pep rally they couldn’t help themselves but hug the man they believe disgraced the Presidency and presumably their party.

(This begs the question, if defendant William Jefferson Clinton had not seduced an intern, gratified himself with her, lied in a Civil Rights case about it, then compounded the lie about it before a grand jury and the nation, and attacked those who criticized him for it, would he then be the greatest President? Who eked by him in the historical standings because of this his Lewinsky stutter-step who otherwise wouldn’t have? Is Theodore Roosevelt hi-fiving Calvin Coolidge somewhere in the hereafter because he still gets to hit clean-up in the batting order of America’s greatest Presidents?)

And then there is Defendant William Jefferson Clinton’s “life-long” commitment to stopping the politics of personal destruction.

Pause.

Did he just say that? I mean, is he actually allowed to say that? Isn’t that like refusing to be “it” after getting tagged or insisting on moving more spaces on the monopoly board than the dice indicate? I mean aren’t there rules somewhere that say he can’t say that?

If I had been John Podesta or Al Gore standing there on the podium when Defendant William Jefferson Clinton said that, I would have leapt for cover, so positive would I be that a lightning bolt was en route.

The Clinton White House has endorsed, encouraged and contributed to a declared “War” against all enemies — partisans and apolitical domestics (remember they obliterated a White House usher for helping Barbara Bush with her laptop computer?). James Carville makes jokes about trailer trash and writes a whole book about “dirty tobacco lawyer” Ken Starr — who just happens to represent the United States of America. The White House is so filled with dirty whisperers that from a distance it sounds like the sprinkler system is going off inside.

This is what Thomas DeFrank and Thomas Galvin, both of the generally Clinton- friendly New York Daily News, wrote in the Aug 4, 1997 Weekly Standard — months before anyone heard of Monica Lewinsky:

“If you pose a threat to this President, you’re not merely a political adversary — you’re clearly a bimbo, homosexual, a homophobe, alcoholic, moron, sexual harasser, crook, dupe, fellow traveler, embezzler, or even a murderer.”

The two Thomases then run through a litany of examples of the Clintonite tendency to destroy the messenger.

Defendant William Jefferson Clinton has personally dismissed rulings by judges because they were made by Republican appointees and therefor partisan and hence illegitimate. Presidents aren’t supposed to do that. Hillary Clinton and her Propaganda Minister, Sid Blumenthal, have advocated a blitzkrieg politics of personal destruction that would make the namesake of the Administration’s Iraq-Adventure “the Desert Fox” proud.

If Bill Clinton has been so opposed to the Politics of Personal Destruction why has he not once ever suggested publicly that his own dogs should be called off. The frightening thing is Bill Clinton believes he has fought against these dangerous trends. And for thinking that, the man is quite simply insane.

A PARTY OF VICTIMS
Why did the Democratic Party embrace a man more qualified to follow in the footsteps of Fredo Corleone at the Tropicana than Harry Truman at the White House? Christopher Matthews almost a decade ago observed that the Democrats were becoming the “Mommy Party” and the Republicans the “Daddy Party.” Republicans, to their credit, were the breadwinners and defenders of the home. The Democrats, to their credit, represented nurturing and concern for the underprivileged here and abroad. It was a brilliant observation at the time. But we have moved on. Today the Democratic Party is a party of victims and dependency. It is the unwed Mommy Party, wallowing in self-indulgence and self-pity. The President is their enabler and they love him for it. The newspapers are filled with accounts about how Defendant Clinton is more popular than President Clinton ever was amongst Democratic stalwarts. Remember when he was unpopular with the rank and file? That was when he “blamed the victims.” That was when he attacked Sista Souljah and endorsed ending Welfare as we Know It. What makes the man popular today is that he is a “victim.” There is nothing this party likes more than a victim of Republican or Christian “meanness.” Oh how they must have wished that those cut from the Welfare rolls had met with depredation and suffering. They could then wallow in their misery and rejoice in Newt Gingrich’s culpability.

Why else the sudden sheer bilious glee that vindictive liberals take in the notion of hate crimes? Forget the old moral certitude that murder is murder. No, that stigmatizes those who murder because they have come from deprived circumstances. Instead, intention is more important than act; political correctness has made motive for murder more deplorable than murder itself. In speech after speech, Republicans were denounced not because they brought dubious evidence, but because of allegedly dubious intent. Some Congressmen literally said that this was payback not for Watergate but for the Emancipation Proclamation. The acts that make Defendant William Jefferson Clinton a pervert, a perjurer, and a moral pauper, in my eyes, make him a “Great President” in the eyes of the Democratic Party.

WHY AM I ANGRY?
It’s very depressing. Here the man is impeached and I am more angry than ever. Why? I wrote over a month ago that impeachment was censure enough. Now I’m thinking of Conan’s answer to the question what is good in life? “To Crush your enemy; see him driven before you; to hear the lamentations of the women.” I think the reason is that Bill Clinton is so arrogant that he couldn’t help himself. Rather than accept impeachment, admit what he’d done (which he refused to do), and say “isn’t this enough?,” he chose to be defiant in his victim status.

Even on Saturday if he had been contrite and forthcoming I think this would have been all over. But Bill Clinton is too shabby and prideful. I think that on the merits censure in the Senate is still probably the way to go, but gosh, I’m on the fence now. Already, Bill Clinton’s lawyers according to the Washington Post, are arguing that the impeachment doesn’t count. They are plotting an O.J. defense. The accusers are not legitimate and therefore the charge has no base.

Full Disclosure: I had finished this file last night. After reading it this morning I thought it was too angry. Then my friend Scott McLucas called right before I was going to file and pointed out a teensy weensy item in the Post this morning. They have declared their “1998 Spin Award.” Here it is.

Time magazine last January, after Clinton gave a deposition about Lewinsky in the Paula Jones case:

“Clinton departed in what sources close to him say was an ecstatic mood….the president felt that the deposition had gone smashingly for him….one person close to the president said, ‘everyone is going to sleep well tonight.’”

Think about it.



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