The Corner

Bill Clinton

About him and his speech last night, I’m going to say very little. I was going to start with a general statement about America’s romance with him — and what that says about the country (nothing good, in my opinion). But I have been down that road before, and will again, I’m sure . . .

‐Let me praise him! He said “alternative universe,” rather than the new, and wrong, “alternate universe.” When I was managing editor of NR, I tried to get young people to stop writing “alternate universe.” I eventually gave up, I think.

Good for Clinton, for holding the line, linguistically . . .

‐The way Democrats talk about Republicans is absolutely bizarre: They portray Mitt Romney et al. as hard-core libertarians who want to strip government down to practically nothing. Do they know they’re lying? Or are they honestly confused?

The other day, I was reading the latest book by Mark Mazower, the British historian. He was talking about the “Third Way” — a way, he said, between statism and “no-government minimalism.” (I believe that’s what he said. I’m going from memory.)

No-government minimalism! You mean, like Reagan? Under him, the U.S. government got bigger and bigger, just at a less fast rate than before.

‐In Clinton’s telling, President Obama is Joe Pragmatist, who dearly wanted to cooperate with congressional Republicans, who, because of their extremism and unpatriotism, refused. I think more like the reverse is true.

Last week in Tampa, the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said the following to a group of us NR-niks: “As an American citizen, I’m disappointed” — disappointed that the president would not work with Republicans to shore up the government, and country.

To me, McConnell was thoroughly convincing in his account of the last few years.

‐Clinton said — you must have loved this — “Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican party . . .”

Every year, every decade, the Democrats say the same thing: Once upon a time, the Republicans were okay. Reasonable. Patriotic. Today, they’re extreme, unacceptable.

How long will Democrats get away with this trick? Forever?

‐Maybe the most galling thing Clinton said was, “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far Right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.”

I saw the hatred — the almost animal hatred — that was directed at George W. Bush for eight years. (What a good and decent man he is.) I saw the hatred — the raw, snarling, truly animal hatred — that was directed at a woman named Sarah Palin. It had almost a physical effect on me, this hatred.

I’ll never forget a friend of mine, with whom I’d never discussed politics — “I hate her,” she said. And she had a look in her eye I had never seen before. My friend is a loving person. But she had a look of wild hatred in her eye. I had never heard my friend say she hated anything: al-Qaeda, Pol Pot, cancer — nothing.

Anyway, I am not in the mood to be lectured by Democrats about hating. Many Republicans have tiptoed around President Obama for four years, not wanting to be branded with the scarlet R (not that it helps them).

‐A final word: Clinton, like everyone else on the left, said that black people, uniquely, are incapable of showing ID at a polling place. Oh, yes he did, in so many words — they all do. They say that, of 300 million Americans, only black people are so feeble and inept that they are unable to produce ID when voting (though they produce it to buy medicine, travel on a plane, etc.).

Why oh why don’t black Americans take offense? How can they stand it? Why don’t they rise up against? Why don’t they say, in effect, “Not in our name! Oppose ballot reform if you want, but don’t say we’re unable to show ID, damn it!” Why?

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