March 28, 2007

How I'm like Bill Clinton.

I'm really not trying to drag out the Bloggingheads to-do, but one of the commenters, Cyrus Pinkerton, asked this great question:
I reread your blog entitled "Clinton on Fox News Sunday," about Clinton's reaction to one of Chris Wallace's interview questions. What I'm curious about is how you compare your reaction to the "Jessica Valenti breast controversy" comment to Clinton's reaction to what he obviously considered an ambush by Wallace. More to the point, can you explain why you feel your reaction was appropriate and Clinton's was not?
I totally identify with Bill Clinton here. I've never claimed that my reaction was "appropriate." I say at the end of the diavlog that I'm sorry for getting so mad. And I never said that I thought Bill Clinton was a lunatic to react the way he did. He's a smart guy who is good at reading a situation, and he's not a cold fish. He's got some real human warmth to him, and it can take him to some regrettable places. I'm not saying I'm any different. In fact, let me sidle right up next to him and pose proudly.

47 comments:

Internet Ronin said...

ROFL! Great response, Ann!

peter hoh said...

Spoken like a true right wing partisan hack.

Sorry that y'all can't see my smirk as I type this. Well put, Ann.

SteveR said...

I just love how you keep stirring that pot. I laughed then and I'm laughing now. All over the blogosphere, people are getting ready to be sucked into the vortex.

Fritz said...

ewwww. Lost my appetite.

Mindsteps said...

"In some ways we are like all other people, in some ways we are like some other people, and in some ways we are like no one else at all"

Clyde Kluckhohn-Cultural Anthropologist

MadisonMan said...

That's beautiful. I'd laugh out loud, but that might frighten my officemate.

Simon said...

Well, there is a clear difference here. Even if it was totally inappropriate for Clinton to get mad in that context, and even if it was totally inappropriate for you to get mad in this context, it seems readily apparent that you genuinely got mad, while Clinton ran through an entirely cynical pre-planned exercise. So you are you not like Bill Clinton? It's still possible to assume good faith in your case.

Oligonicella said...

Have to agree with Simon. Clinton wasn't mad, he spewed script. Look at his eyes. There's no anger, just calculation and acting.

vrse said...

Yes, Miss Althouse, you are as smart, warm and human as Bill Clinton.

And I started to think some of the heat out there against you was undeserved... stupid me.

Bissage said...

I'm not saying I'm any different. In fact, let me sidle right up next to him and pose proudly.

Now, that is screaming out loud funny!

price said...

The last line is the reason why I read this blog.

Bob said...

He'd probably try to cop a feel if you did.

Just sayin'.

Invisible Man said...

Ah, the "Clinton defense" raises its mighty head once again. It's as absurd as the "Chewbacca defense" but used much more frequently from the right wing. Clinton will be long dead and buried and I'll still have to hear Tom Delay Jr. or someone screaming that "Clinton did it too."

Ann Althouse said...

Invisible Man: You don't seem to get that this post is a response to some other people challenging me by comparing me to Bill Clinton.

Fitz said...

How I'm like Bill Clinton.

I had a momentary expectation that Ann was going to write “we both a veracious sexual appetites”

Meade said...

What's funny to me is that when, a few weeks ago, you first asked for suggestions from commenters on whom would make a good Bloggingheads counterpart for you -- someone who might make Blogginghead's more watchable, particularly for women --
I suggested...

Bill Clinton.

ps: Fritz said...
"...veracious..."

Great word play!

Naked Lunch said...

Amazing after all these years that whenever a righty feels threatened in any way - the first natural instinct is to evoke Clinton and/or his cock. Weird weird. Is it the stereotypical sexually frustrated type that is both repulsed and fascinated simultaneously and vicariously living out their sexual fantasies thru Clinton's dick? If he showed it to you would that solve the big riddle so you can get on with your lives? Giuliani has 6 marriages between him and his current wife, and happen to be running for President/First Lady. You'd think there would be some room for relevant and current discussion there.

johnstodder said...

Finally got around to watching the bloggingheads episode in question, and then reading some of the comment thread there and here about it. And while this isn't on the topic of Bill Clinton specifically, I wanted to call attention to something said on the bloggingheads site to explain progressives' hostility toward Ann and people like her:

randomdude wrote on Mar 26 at 18:28
Re: This Time It's Personal
She's another Joe Lieberman (but...I'm a Democrat! Honest!) and she wonders why she gets attacked. What was the term Mark Schmitt had for this? I think it was "checklist liberal." Not good enough anymore!


Rather than run from what is apparently meant as a snarky insult, I am ready to embrace the term. It defines me, maybe some of you: "Checklist Liberal."

A Checklist Liberal is someone who is philosophical and instinctually liberal on the vast majority of issues, but refuses to take dictation about the party line on issues where debate is still fruitful because it is unsettled. Checklist Liberals are distinguishable primarily from "Talking Points Liberals" (no insult intended at Josh Marshal, btw.)

The best example I can think of for this is "the surge." A few months ago, liberal leaders in Congress said Bush had messed up in Iraq because of too few troops. If you were a Democrat, you were supposed to incorporate this idea in your talking points...or else! Then, after Bush proposed the surge, the Democratic position switched, Talking Points liberals were supposed to violently oppose "the surge" as just about the stupidest thing imaginable.

Whereas a Checklist Liberal like me is free to embrace the surge as a good idea -- Bush's first good idea in Iraq in a long time, in fact. For taking that position, some friends are calling me a right-winger, even though their position was the same as mine six months ago. As a Checklist Liberal, I don't have to worry about that.

After all, in six months, the Talking Points liberals will have adopted a new position anyway; while my Checklist remains strong!

Emily said...

Bah! How can you let that poster assassinate your character you by typing the words "Jessica Valenti Breast Controversy?" Isn't that just as bad as saying it in response to a direct question from you, like Garance did yesterday? I'm amazed you didn't 'hang up with him.'

johnstodder said...

Amazing after all these years that whenever a righty feels threatened in any way - the first natural instinct is to evoke Clinton and/or his cock.

I immediately went back and re-read Ann's post to find out where she evoked Clinton's cock, thinking maybe I'd read it too fast.

She didn't.

Maybe one of the commenters? Nope.

So, NL, from what part of your fevered mind did this notion come from?

There are a lot of threatened "righties" out there, with Bush's poll ratings so low and a few other things going against them right now. But I haven't noticed any special need being expressed to evoke Clinton's cock.

Evoking Clinton, maybe. Some of us Checklist Liberals wish Bill Clinton's philosophical views had more of a place in the Democratic Party's platform now. But I'm not a righty, and, uh, I really don't miss his cock.

I think Naked Lunch wins today's "most unintentionally revealing comment" award.

Fen said...

Emily: Bah!...I'm amazed you didn't 'hang up with him.'

Isn't it amusing how the Buzzards keep swooping in?

Naked Lunch said...

Stodder
I can't think of one prominent liberal or Democrat in Congress that was advocating a surge 6 months ago. I thought the meme was Democrats promised to end the war before the election and haven't delivered yet.

So, NL, from what part of your fevered mind did this notion come from?

By reading these threads. In fact, this thread IS about evoking Clinton to justify behavior. It's titled "How I'm like Bill Clinton".

Meade said...

Naked Lunch said...
... It's titled "How I'm like Bill Clinton"

But Mr. Lunch, you were the one who seemed to read it as "How I'm like Bill Clinton and/or his cock"
Why is that?

As you put it, "Weird weird."

johnstodder said...

I can't think of one prominent liberal or Democrat in Congress that was advocating a surge 6 months ago.

It doesn't matter what you can "think of." That's a lame dodge.

The fact is, on 12/17/06, Reid specifically backed the idea of a "surge." Rep. Reyes said pretty much the same thing two weeks prior. Going back into 2005-06, it was a regular Democratic talking point that Bush/Rumsfeld didn't send enough troops to Iraq. It was only when Bush finally adopted that view that the Democrats rushed to oppose him.

In fact, this thread IS about evoking Clinton to justify behavior. It's titled "How I'm like Bill Clinton".

But what made your post notable was your assertion that the post had something to do with his "cock." That was truly surreal.

Zeb Quinn said...

I immediately went back and re-read Ann's post to find out where she evoked Clinton's cock, thinking maybe I'd read it too fast.

She didn't.


Nobody but Naked Lunch invoked the specter of Clinton's cock. The specter that was actually invoked was by Althouse of Althouse doing like the little bird in the front row in front of Clinton with her breasts proudly jutted out.

cyberbini said...

It must be nice to blow off what happened on bloggingheads with snark and sarcasm. Your behavior yesterday was childish and unhinged.

If you showed real remorse for your outburst it might be possible to read this post without cringing.

Patrick said...

"If you showed real remorse for your outburst it might be possible to read this post without cringing."

You cringed while reading a blog post? Now that's childish and unhinged. Did someone really scar you early in life by letting you read deft use of snark and sarcasm?

I applaud what appears to be a bold step in confronting your fears, but hopefully this is just the first step towards finding healing for your early trauma. It's only really healing if you confront the actual issue and not the projection. I wish you well with all of that.

Naked Lunch said...

Stodder
So your argument that "Talking Points Liberals" were all for the surge, up until after Bush made his intention public a few months ago? Or was it 6 months ago? And your proof is two crusty Democrats who nobody looks to for guidance? I don't know man. And you're right, maybe I could have saved the cock bomb for the other thread where we're debating the Clenis. But I did say "and/or" his cock.

Fen said...

So your argument that "Talking Points Liberals" were all for the surge, up until after Bush made his intention public a few months ago?

I think his argument is that they nagged Bush about not having enough troops in Iraq, and then nagged Bush for "escalating" the war by sending in more troops [The Surge].

MadisonMan said...

But I did say "and/or" his cock.

True. And you could have said and /or the snail tracks in his anus and been equally correct.

johnstodder said...

Fen's exactly right on what I meant. The troop shortage was part of the "poorly planned war" meme -- which I happened to agree with. The switch to "stop Bush from escalating the war" was, to me, a sign of bad faith.

But then, keep in mind, I'm a Checklist Liberal. Not good enough for some!

Internet Ronin said...

No John, it is not enough. You and I can agree with some people up to 95% of the time (Hell, we can vote for their candidates 95% of the time), but we are mindless right-wing robots if we don't agree 100% of the time. Think back to college, John. Maybe yours was different, but we sure had our share of "Leninist"/ "Stalinist"/ "Maoist"/ "progressive" organizations where lock-step conformity was the rule of the day, although lip-service was given to "independent thought" provided it was the right kind of independent thought. Some people never outgrow the need to control others, I guess.

Naked Lunch said...

Stodder
You'll note I never disagreed with your personal position on the surge. Or even surge itself.

cyberbini said...

Patrick, thank you for the free psychoanalysis.

Until I read your comment, I thought it was perfectly normal to cringe if you witnessed someone you like and admire make an ass out of themselves by yelling in a public forum at an innocent person. Then, worse yet, instead of making an unqualified statement disowning that behavior,she tries to justify and downplay how truly bat-s**t crazy the situation was.

I've joined a 12 step program for cringe-addicts. With Ann and Howard Dean as my role models, I will scream at anyone who tries to tell me I'm normal. Thanks again.

johnstodder said...

You'll note I never disagreed with your personal position on the surge. Or even surge itself.

Naked Lunch, vexing as you sometimes might be, I would feel 100 percent better about this country if you were running the Senate instead of Harry Reid.

Naked Lunch said...

John
Ha. Thanks, and I'll return the compliment. This war is driving people crazy. I have family headed there, Madison Man I think said he already has family there - what drives me crazy is there is no one is really talking about what happens after the surge is done, after all that hard work. I'd have thousands of diplomats, emissaries, operatives, Arabic translators, or whatever it took parked in Iraq to make sure all the hard efforts weren't a complete waste if they have to keep going back into the same cities over and over again. I just don't get that sense though. Do you? It's like pumping out a flooded New Orleans with broken levees.

Freder Frederson said...

Fen's exactly right on what I meant. The troop shortage was part of the "poorly planned war" meme -- which I happened to agree with. The switch to "stop Bush from escalating the war" was, to me, a sign of bad faith.

Well no, the argument was that there were never enough troops on the ground. The complaint about a surge of 21,500 or 30,000 (or whatever it is today) is that it is simply too little, too late. Even the conservatives pushing for the surge said we needed at least 50,000 additional troops. The much lower number was apparently arrived at because that was all that was available. That is hardly the way to run a war.

Back to the subject of the post. For someone who doesn't want to discuss this issue and threatened to hang up if the subject were not changed, Ann sure likes bringing it back up. Not only that, Ann directly makes a reference to the exact thing she was criticized for initially (and then claimed it wasn't her point at all) by evoking the image of her mashing up against Bill Clinton in a tight sweater with a push-up bra.

But of course it is only us filthy minded lefties who now have that rather disturbing image in our heads. Everyone else thinks she is just being sooooo witty and clever.

Fen said...

The complaint about a surge of 21,500 or 30,000 (or whatever it is today) is that it is simply too little, too late

I don't think the complainers understood the surge was directed primarily at the capitol, or that its strategy was about basing troops amoung the Iraqi civilians, or that the ROEs had been fixed.

WaPo finally has reporting on the success of the Surge, although its buried on page A15:

http://newsbloggers.aol.com/2007/03/15/washington-post-acknowledges-surge-progress-on-page-15

"The number of Iraqis killed due to violence in Baghdad in the 30 days since "Operation Enforce the Law" commenced reportedly is less than one-fifth of what it was during the previous 30 days. AP reports that deaths due to car bombs are down 30 percent and execution style deaths are down 50 percent. Moreover, "the once frequent sound of weapons has been reduced to episodic, and downtown shoppers have returned to outdoor markets - favored targets of car bombers."

Sorry, I can't access the original Wapo link b/c its behind a subscription wall. But its nested in the newsbloggers link I posted here.

And FOX says the Surge is only half-way complete. I'm not counting my chickens yet, but the Surge looks to be working.

Fen said...

Not only that, Ann directly makes a reference to the exact thing she was criticized for initially (and then claimed it wasn't her point at all) by evoking the image of her mashing up against Bill Clinton in a tight sweater with a push-up bra.

[shrug] I'm starting to think that peeps are taking this way too seriously, fixating on an innane flame war that is 6 months old. Witness all the Valenti-buzzards that routinely swoop in to chastise her. So I'm glad to see Ann's developed a sense of humor about all this nonsense.

Trinity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

To those who were discussing checklist liberal, etc.

It's about partisanship; it's not about positions."
--Garance Franke-Ruta

That's still my favorite observation from that BH video.

John said...

What am I, chopped liver?

johnstodder said...

what drives me crazy is there is no one is really talking about what happens after the surge is done, after all that hard work.

All part of the "poor planning" problem, which I think has characterized almost everything this Administration has done, whether I agreed with it or not. Bush was supposed to be the President as CEO, but that hype has not proven out.

Our next prez, be they a Reep or a Dem, will not have a hard time looking good.

johnstodder said...

I do tend to have a lot more faith in Gen. Petraeus, however. He seems to have a wider scope. So I don't want my last post to suggest I am a defeatist. The surge seems like a thoughtful response to what's been happening in Bagdhad, the only military option to clear the way for a national Iraqi government that can stand on its own.

I'm just wary of being disappointed again. A lot of people ask me, "do you take back your support of the war?" I don't. Given the circumstances in 2002-03, which I don't need to rehash, it was clearly the right thing to do. And I think it was winnable. Our military has done a more-than-admirable job -- we should be both proud and encouraged. But Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush all screwed the pooch, big time, failing as both strategists and as leaders.

History is so ironic. If Howard Dean and the nutroots hadn't pulled the Democratic party so far to the left in 2004, we might have seen a moderate-left Democrat win election, someone who could have taken a new look at the war two years ago, and made the thing work. But, thanks to Dean, we got Kerry, who had to fatally straddle on the war, making sensible people like Ann nervous about whether he could handle it. So instead, we ratified an incompetent, who interpreted his mandate as to stay the course in Iraq, with the same clowns running it.

Who will be the Gore Vidal or Kurt Vonnegut who captures the political insanity of our times?

Fen said...

But Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush all screwed the pooch, big time, failing as both strategists and as leaders.

I would be interested in seeing an After Action report of how the reacted to events and what they did wrong. Not as a "gotcha" contest between you and me, but as a "lessons learned" review for the next time. I have a feeling someone will be asked to step up and reform Iran, and we're the only someone with that capability.

Fen said...

/ "how they reacted to events"

Internet Ronin said...

Naked Lunch:

I owe you an apology, I think. Hope you see this. Wasn't really paying all that much attention when I fired off that crack here yesterday - was bringing baggage from elsewhere. So, it looks like it was directed at you, given your exchange with John. Didn't mean it that way.

Agree completely with you later post about what should happen but after the surge. Won't happen though, will it? More's the pity. But, as John basically said later, that's the epitaph for this administration: "Bush was supposed to be the President as CEO, but that hype has not proven out." No sh*t.