Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Gitting Gitlin: Flyer made a very good point re: it's not a scandal until the Clintons start denying it. And not just having some low-level flack run interference, but the top bananas, standing on pulpit, insisting, point-blank, that they did not have sex with that file cabinet. That's what gets people (even those who supported the Clintons like myself): the immediate pathological response to any criticism (Bill: deny and fluster; Hillary: deny and attack/blame). Never once will you hear a reasoned explanation (after all, every presidency has at least minor flare-ups - and they're not always so nefarious at heart), and without such discourse, you immediately become suspicious, which then really becomes a problem when the cigar-smoking starts.

With W, it's harder in a way. There's no easy lie to catch him in (his people are too smart). Rather, it's the system that is challenged: the perception that W came to office to reward his friends, take what he could grab, and leave the real problems to someone else. Whether you hated Clinton or not (and his last-minute pardons were particularly galling), he did a lot of things that gave you the impression that he genuinely cared about the American people (perhaps so much *sniff* *sniff* that he had to grope everyone of us). For all of his talk about compassion, W has yet to evidence any. Quick: more tree-hugging, less jumpsuits!

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