The long and the mendacious
Roger Kimball reviews former President Bill Clinton’s Wednesday night speech and declares it, “nasty, brutish and long.” Kimball quotes Shakespeare,
“He misses not much,” says Antonio, in The Tempest.
“No,” says Sebastian, “he doth but mistake the truth totally.”
Clinton, formerly of Falstaffian proportions and appetites, infamously taught us during his presidency that the meaning of the word, “is,” is nuanced, so it’s unsurprising that Kimball finds the former president’s speech mendacious on two points:
One, Republicans, in the form of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, are no blue meanies. Don’t take my word for it. Take a look at their personal lives, their conspicuous decency as human beings, their behavior in their personal lives, their generosity to others and charitable giving. The effort to demonize these mean would be laughable were it not so mean-spirited and misguided.
The second reef is Obama’s record. Clinton did a lot of heavy lifting to obscure, camouflage, evade, distract, paper over, and otherwise minimize that hazard. But the facts are obdurate. Median household income has plunged nearly 5% since he took office. In a symbolically fitting occurrence, the national debt clock (which was not displayed on the wall of the DNC as it was in Tampa) clicked over to $16 trillion just as the Democrats were convening. President Obama has contributed more than $5 trillion of that in under four years. He came to office promising to cut the annual deficit in half by the end of this first term: it languishes at about $1.4 trillion. Give me $800 billion, he said, and I’ll have unemployment down to 5.6% by July 2012. The official number is 8.3% and so-called U”U6” unemployment is about 15%. Food prices have soared on his watch. As, of course, have energy prices: remember he came to office attacking the coal industry and promising to make the cost of energy “skyrocket.” It has: gasoline cost an average of $1.85 a gallon when he came to office, it is flirting with $4 a gallon now.
And this leaves out of account the emotional weather promulgated by the Obama administration. He came to office promising a “post-partisan” “post-racial” administration, but has their ever been a more rancorous, more divisive atmosphere in Washington. “Oh, that’s the fault of the blue meanie Republicans,” say the administration spokesmen, official and otherwise, but does anyone believe them?
I would note that the Republicans did not have a single disbarred perjurer at the podium speaking to their convention.
If you’re looking for a point-by-point refutation of Clinton’s speech, this one is pretty good.