At a time of National testing, ex-Presidents are ideally suited for re-injecting civility into our national discourse. While they certainly want their parties to do well, they also have the luxury of no longer running for any office; as such, they can easily take a position of Elder Statesman, learned advisor.
Bill Clinton could have gone on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and taken a Statesmanlike, above the fray, position. Clinton, for reasons best known to him, though in no way a surprise, chose a different tack, and clearly missed an excellent opportunity.
Imagine the reaction if he had said that he had, in fact, not done enough to stop bin Laden; that all of us in government at the time underestimated the dangers and did not feel the country was yet able to muster the necessary will to confront the growing menace. He would now be lauded as a great ex-President, using his tremendous political skills, intellectual abilities, and position to elevate our political discourse and rescue the Democratic party from the grips of BDS.
Personally, after observing the man as a President for 8 years and an ex-President for 6, it is difficult for me to imagine Clinton as capable of adult or mature behavior--particularly when his narcissism is involved. But in my business it is always hoped that maturity and adulthood will triumph over petulance and adolescent behavior.
Does he completely fail to understand? 9/11 was never about Bill Clinton; the war on terror is not about Bill Clinton and his legacy. We are facing a global challenge from totalitarian Islam; Clinton is a foot note.
Siggy, also makes the necessary connection and gets it exactly right:
Here’s the deal. The war on terror isn’t about Bill Clinton or how wonderful he thinks he is. The war on terror isn’t about Fox News, or how much he would like to make Fox News an issue. Mr Clinton did some smart things in fighting terror and he did some stupid things in fighting terror- and nothing he says can change that reality.
He had 8 years to fight terror and he did the best he could, given the circumstances. As he noted in the interview, Mr Bush was in office 8 months. The additional 8 months prior to 9/11 could not have prevented that from happening.
The war on terror is about facing the truth about our adversaries and those who would threaten us. Mr Clinton ought to be making every effort to be telling the truth when it comes to the security of our nation.
Bill Clinton doesn’t have much of a track record when it comes to telling the truth.
No, he certainly doesn't. But he is really really good at trying to promote and defend the Bill Clinton legacy, no matter what else happens to be at stake.
UPDATE: Bob has more to say on Clinton's narcissim and his pathetic performance with Wallace.
UPDATE II: And, check out The Anchoress, who has a very astute--and compassionate-- analysis of the entire affair.
[cross-posted at The Sanity Squad]