Okay, I've got my bearings. You see, Clinton fans thought Clinton ruled. He stuck it to Fox News, you know. They're celebrating. And Arianna's the nerd at the party who wants everyone to sit down and have a serious conversation about what it all means. She begins with the assumption that Bill's been in a "bipartisan love-in," which I take to mean that he's been circumspect and presidential.
I'm glad the Chris Wallace interview is flying all over the internet, but I really hope that one person who will watch it over and over again is Bill Clinton. And that on the fifth or sixth viewing it might occur to him that the more cover he gives Bush and his cronies, the more they're able to increase and entrench their power.Isn't it disturbing to picture Clinton watching himself on TV over and over again and becoming more and more convinced that he played it just right? Arianna assumes he lacks the intellectual complexity to see in it what people who aren't predisposed to love him find offputting, even shocking. He'd just replay and replay and chortle I rule.
Now that I've seen the reaction on the left, I'm convinced that Clinton went on the show planning to act the way he did. It wasn't Chris Wallace's specific question that set him off. He decided in advance to go on Fox News and unleash an attack on Fox News as soon as when he saw an opening. But he jumped too eagerly at what wasn't really an opening and he jumped weirdly. That he thought he was doing well suggests that he has surrounded himself with people who are pulling him out of the calm, rational center -- what Arianna mocks as a "bipartisan love-in."
But this country is full of people who aren't hotly partisan, who are put off by that strong stuff, and who need to see a demonstration of calm rationality. Now his over-the-top performance is being praised by those people who crowd around him -- that's the real love-in -- and he may succumb to their fawning inducements to hardcore partisanship.
And where is Hillary in all of this? Will she fall into the open arms of the hot partisans too? I'd like to think she's less susceptible to seduction. But it won't help in the long run if her husband inanely cozies up to the kind of people who watched him on Fox News and thought he was just great.