June 24, 2004
It's About Time
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The Clinton Presidency has been characterized rather successfully by the right wing as being all about Monica Lewinsky. The purpose of this mischaracterization is to attempt to hide the fact that, despite his personal foibles, Clinton stands as perhaps the best and most effective president in the past half century.
British interviewer David Dimbleby started Clinton off by making Lewinsky the primary focus of the interview. And Clinton handled the response very well:
"Let me just say this. One of the reasons he got away with it is because people like you only ask people like me the questions. You gave him a complete free ride. They indicted all these little people from Arkansas. What did you care about them, they're not famous, who cares that their lives were trampled.It's about time that this be said. Look past Lewinsky and the endless attacks by conservatives on trumped-up non-scandals, and you see a president who had a booming economy, a raising of all boats, a good record against terrorism, an improvement in civil liberties and social equality, a balanced budget, and the only wars being those to liberate people and deliver them from genocide--and so much more.
"Who cares that their children are humiliated. Who cares if Starr sends FBI agents to their school, and rip them out of their school to humiliate them, and try to force their parents to lie about me. Nobody in your line of work cared a rip about that at the time.
"And that's the difference in me and the people that were after me. I actually cared about what happened to those people, and I wanted to be president to help those people. And that's what the fight was about. Now that doesn't justify any mistake I made, but look how much time you spent asking me these questions.
"And that's why people like you always help the far Right because you like to hurt people, and you like to talk about how bad people are and all their personal failings.
"Look - you made a decision to allocate your time in a certain way. You should take responsibility for that. You should say yes, I care much more about this than whether the Bosnian people were saved, than whether 27 million people had jobs at the end, and whether we moved a hundred times as many people out of poverty as Reagan and Bush. This is what I care about."
Posted by Luis at June 24, 2004 11:43 AM