Tuesday :: Apr 29, 2008

Swift-Baiting is Back, Baby!

by eriposte

It's Baaaaaack! And just in time for NC!

Corrente's Vastleft:

You’re not really a racist, are you?

But how about if I convince millions of people that you and your spouse are, attempting to cheat you out of a job by creating a deafening whisper campaign that says you are?

If you fight back, I’ll create another whisper campaign saying — with the cruelest of irony — that you’ll stop at nothing to destroy all that’s good and decent.

Why, you may ask, would anyone ever look me in the eye again after I did such a thing?

Because fabricating dehumanizing, reputation-destroying, hate-fueling lies is hopeful, transcendent, and unity-building change you can believe in!

[The person Vastleft is talking about - Rep. Jim Clyburn - is the guy who thoughtlessly criticized President Bill Clinton back in January over the latter's entirely non-race-baiting and reasonable "fairy tale" comment - so you can see how 'well informed' he is. Big Tent Democrat has more on him].

The real reason for the latest attacks on Bill Clinton? Craig Crawford at CQ's Trail Mix summed it up nicely (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

After losing the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses, Obama’s team correctly surmised that Bill Clinton was a huge help to his wife in those campaigns. They set out to marginalize him -- and it worked magnificently in South Carolina, rebooting Obama's campaign.

[President Clinton has certainly been a great help to Sen. Clinton in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania - so out come the knives, right on time to rescue a campaign that has once again lost momentum!]

There's another aspect at work. As David Greenberg points out in TNR's The Plank:

Whenever Bill Clinton opens his mouth, he’s accused of saying something dishonest, self-serving, or at best politically unwise. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, I think this has less to do with any difficulty that Clinton has had in accommodating himself to the You Tube era--which is not, after all, such a quantum leap away from the 24/7 news environment in which he successfully conducted his presidency--than with a desire on the part of the Washington media panjandrums to exact some revenge.

For example, in The New Yorker today there is a dig at the former president that repeats Barack Obama’s false claim that jobs “fell through the Clinton Administration and the Bush Administration.” Oddly, the piece--by Ryan Lizza, late of this magazine, and by all accounts a fair and careful reporter--fails to state explicitly, as a factual matter, that Obama was simply wrong about this claim. (See Paul Krugman.) Lizza leaves it to Bill Clinton to do say merely, “Now, if you believe that, you should probably vote for [Obama], but you get a very bad grade in history.” But since the piece generally paints Clinton as concerned only with burnishing his own record, it leaves readers who don’t know better unaware that unemployment really did fall under Clinton, across the board.

The article then moves on to refer to "the mysterious theory that Obama had played the race card against" Bill Clinton. Yet no one who has followed the campaign closely can believe there’s anything “mysterious” about this "theory." Do we need to be reminded of the Obama campaign's well-known memo seeking to construe innocent remarks by Bill and Hillary and their supporters as racist? Indeed, Sean Wilentz documented the effort to unfairly tarnish the Clintons at length in TNR many weeks ago. Now, I realize Wilentz’s case was not convincing to everyone--though even if one strips away Wilentz’s overall argument, one has to contend with the several pieces of hard evidence that he adduced to show how Obama’s team injected allegations of racism into the campaign. So while this “theory” may be unconvincing to some--especially to those predisposed to think highly of Obama--it's certainly not "mysterious."

Go read the rest of Greenberg's post.

P.S. Incidentally, Chuck Todd is either in the running for Captain Clueless or he likes to make s*** up. I hope he will make it clear soon enough which of these scenarios is true.

P.P.S. Talking of the media, make sure you read Elizabeth Edwards great op-ed in the NYT: "Bowling 1, Healthcare 0"

eriposte :: 6:06 AM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!