You just can’t make this stuff up. It not only includes Bill Clinton’s campaigning, with leading boy bloggers blowing a gasket over Clinton calling Democrats on their bad messaging, but a trumped up story about missing nuclear codes, with a Wag the Dog finale everyone’s ignoring.
First the hilarity:
Now, before saying anything else, let me say that there’s never been a bigger fan of Bill Clinton’s than me (though I had some wavering in 2008). – Josh Marshall
I mean, really. Some wavering? It should come with a cackle track.
Marshall is opining about FPOTUS Clinton’s frustrations on the 2010 bad messaging. He’s a believer that this is all about the economy, while forgetting history, short- and long-term.
It started with Jeff Gerth’s Whitewater hit piece that began during the campaign season, March 1992, and was picking up steam into Bill’s first year, was running wild across the country, including on wingnut radio. His fiction was entitled: THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Personal Finances; Clintons Joined S.& L. Operator In an Ozark Real-Estate Venture. No one has done a better job dismantling Gerth than Eric Boehlert at Media Matters. Gerth’s Whitewater was a concoction of ginormous proportions, which ended up disgracing Gerth, and cloaked Bill and Hillary in suspicion before they even hit the White House. The media built on it and kept it going as a lead up to the ’94 election season and even after they were exonerated. Never mind that Justice Rehnquist was doing his own dirty work, too, not to mention the other organizations put together to take Clinton down.
Marshall opining “anyone over 35 has a good adult memory of the 1994 midterm” completely omits the foundation on which Bill Clinton began his presidency, which included his serial philandering that almost got him impeached. You can argue he was stupid, but you can’t argue that the situations of Clinton and Obama are the same while quoting a Bushism.
Being president is hard. Being president two years into your first term is hard. And being at the center of the polarizing political storm — as Obama is today and Clinton was 16 years ago — tends to wipe the political genius and midas touch and all the other good stuff right off of you.
Pres. Obama came in to Washington with the people on their feet, the Washington press at his feet, and the international community cheering him on. There was never a Hicks from the Arkansas Sticks mentality.
Bill Kennedy, who led the investigation… would later explain: “Some of this stuff was aimed at [Hillary’s] health care task force. Some of it was aimed at, you know, ‘How dare they bring Arkansans up here and stick them in the White House.'” Some of it, however, was “pure palpable hatred of the Clintons. It started and it never quit.” — “The Death of American Virtue,” by Ken Gormley (p. 71)
No one in modern times has come into the presidency with more acclaim and more lift than Barack Obama, something that Bill Clinton didn’t come close to having when he entered Washington.
That Pres. Obama didn’t realize that eventually he’d get the same treatment is his own fault, because he never wanted to fight those silly battles of the ’90s, never mind that even if you don’t want to the Right will anyway.
Even Politico reported on it during the primaries.
Dating back to the 1992 campaign, she and Bill Clinton were stung by the coverage of his extramarital adventures and her role in the Whitewater land deal.
Nobody documented the Whitewater fiction better than Gene Lyons in “Fools for Scandal: How The Media Invented Whitewater,” which I own and have read.
This brings me to the Bill Clinton Lost the Biscuit stories, meaning the nuclear codes, that has been reported over the last few days. Never mind that it doesn’t sound like anyone has actually read Gen. Hugh Shelton’s book. I was sent a copy of “Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior,” which is a detailed memoir that I’ve not finished, but at least could turn to after the squealing began.
It’s a very detailed story that comes down to this: The President never did have them, but he assumed, I’m sure, that the aide had them like he was supposed to. After the media furor that had Ed Morissey of the aptly named “Hot Air” squealing, “2nd book claims Clinton lost nuclear codes while President,” Shelton wrote a blog post to explain the story.
At one point around the year 2000, this individual came back from the White House and reported that the President’s aide said neither he nor the President had the codes-they had completely disappeared. Within minutes we issued replacement codes and implemented them throughout the system. But then an investigation was launched to determine what had happened and how long the codes had been missing.
Turns out that the individual whose job it was to verify the codes had gone to the White House as he was supposed to, approached the aides, and asked to see the codes for verification. The aide told him, “No problem, President Clinton has them personally, but if you’ll wait here, I’ll be right back with them.” He came back a minute later and said that the President was in an urgent meeting and could not be disturbed, but he assured him that the President took the codes very seriously and kept them close at hand. The guy was not thrilled, but he wasn’t going to barge into the President’s meeting, so he said, “Okay, we’ll just check them next month.” But the following month, that individual was off, and it was another code checker who went in, and he heard the same thing: “Sorry, President Clinton is in a meeting, but he takes the codes very seriously and has them on his person-all is great with the codes.” This comedy of errors went on, without President Clinton’s knowledge I’m sure, until it was finally time to collect the current set and replace them with the new edition. At this point we learned that the aide had no idea where the old ones were, because they had been missing for months. The President never did have them, but he assumed, I’m sure, that the aide had them like he was supposed to.
David E. Hoffman over at ForeignPolicy.com adds more, because the usual suspects, including ABC News, is too lazy to do their homework:
The president does not possess the actual codes to authorize the launch of nuclear weapons. What the president does carry (or an aide) is a small laminated card which is used to authenticate the president’s identity in the event of an emergency. The cards contain date-time groups and alphanumeric codes in columns and rows, according to Bruce Blair, president of the World Security Institute who has written several books on nuclear command and control. In an emergency, a president would use this laminated card to verify that he is the commander in chief making decisions.
Gen. Shelton also takes down the Wag the Dog myth when Pres. Clinton bombed Saddam Hussein, December 16, 1998, because he wouldn’t cooperate with weapons inspectors.
Even today, if one were to google “Clinton Wag the Dog” –almost twelve years after the impeachment hearings-the search would yield more than fifty thousand alleging that the President orchestrated his own personal Wag the Dog.
It may sound ironic when considering what prompted the impeachment in the first place, but the way I see it, President Clinton demonstrated exemplary leadership skills in his decision to strike on the sixteenth. He acted firmly, quickly, and with complete integrity, basing his decision totally and completely o what was best for the country and safest for our pilots, even though he was well aware that by making such a decision he would be personally battered by accusations. I gained a tremendous amount of respect for the President that day. (p.367-368)
At the time of the Iraq strike, there was a closed House hearing instigated by outgoing Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, where disgraced Rep. Tom Delay asked Sect. Cohen if “national security would be endangered if the House were to proceed with an impeachment trial the following day” (pg. 365 of Shelton’s book). Majority Leader Trent Lott called Clinton’s orders “cursory” and challenged the “timing,” with people publicly speculating that he launched the strike to save his presidency during impeachment.
The nuclear code story went everywhere, the story about Shelton correcting the record about Wag the Dog wasn’t covered.
As I’ve said repeatedly, Pres. Obama and the current leadership have screwed up the messaging and the policies so badly that no one can save them from a rout in the House, not even Bill Clinton. In fact, he’s not trying to save anyone. He’s just trying to give Democrats some of their mojo back.