WHY IT PERSISTS! Even Clinton said there were WMD! The claim is irrelevant, but it persists—because of our liberal elites: // link // print // previous // next //
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2005
WHY IT PERSISTS: How inept is our current liberal elite? How hapless are modern liberals at handling even basic information—at framing even the most obvious message? To get an idea, lets go back to John McCains statement on Thursday nights Larry King Live:
KING (11/3/05): With Senator John McCain, author of Character is Destiny. Is the Senate going to have a full investigation of what led up to Iraq?Other countries thought there were WMD! Why, even President Clinton said it! These ubiquitous talking-points drove David Brooks appalling New York Times column last Thursday. And yet, this talking-point—Even Clinton said there were weapons!—is completely irrelevant to the question of whether the Bush Admin lied us to war. The fact that this talking-point still exists—no, the fact that its seen and heard almost everywhere—helps us see how hopeless we have been at handling even basic info and framing even bone-simple messages. How inept are our liberal elites? The persistence of this irrelevant (but effective) talking-point surely lets us see.
Even Clinton said there were WMD! This claim, while accurate, is completely irrelevant to the question of whether Bush lied us to war. What follows are a few of the things Clinton and Democrats didnt say in the run-up to war. Yet these are claims—starting in the fall of 02—which took us to war in Iraq:
1) President Clinton didnt say: That Saddam could have a nuke within six months. That was the statement of Vice President Cheney—and it contradicted the state of the intelligence.The concept here isnt all that tough. Yes, most people did believe that Iraq would have chemical or biological weapons. Wed assume that the Bush Admin actually thought this too.
But chemical and biological weapons werent a threat to the United States—so the Bush Admin began to pimp the idea that Saddam might also have nukes. The heavy pimping of the nukes began in August 2002—driven by blatant misstatements by Cheney, Rice and Bush, not by Clinton. At the same time, we heard that Saddams UAVs could deliver chem and bio to this country—and we heard that Saddam would surely do so if he could. (Just look at his role in September 11!) Bill Clinton didnt say these things—these things were said by Bush/Cheney/Rice. And these were the claims, in the fall of 02, which actually took the nation to war. The claim that Saddam had WMD was not the claim which took us to war. It was the claims weve listed above—claims which were not made by Clinton.
The distinction here is unbelievably simple. A bright fourth-grader could probably make it. But Democratic and liberal elites have repeatedly failed to offer this point. In fact, Dems and libs have repeatedly gone on TV and gotten their brains beaten out on this topic. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/24/05. Prepare to avert your gaze in embarrassment.) Result? This utterly worthless, irrelevant point still helps drive the American discourse. Even the French thought Saddam had weapons! Even Clinton said there were WMD! These claims are irrelevant (if highly effective). But so what? Three years later, they persist—and drive our lives—because of our broken-down liberal elites. Empty, incapable, lazy, inept, stupid: These are just a few of the traits which have kept this worthless point in our lives, unrebutted on TV every dang night of the week..
HUMANS CANT GET DUMBER: Over the course of the past few years, weve charted the bloodshed when liberal spokesmen have gone on TV and made the following claim: Bush lied when he said there were WMD. Weve linked you above to a three-part discussion, but the sheer stupidity reached its heights when Howard Dean did Meet the Press last May. Believe it or not, this did happen:
DEAN (5/22/05): I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country, I really do...I hate the dishonesty, you know, the idea that you'd put a program through Congress without telling people what it costs, I think that's wrong. Some of the things that the president said on our way into Iraq, they just weren't true, and I don't think that's right. SoIs there any earthly way to be dumber? Forget Clinton; Dean himself had said there were weapons. But then he criticized Bushs dishonesty because the president had said the same thing! (Again, well bet you dollars to donuts that Bush believed there would be chem and bio.) And when he was challenged on this obvious point, he simply changed the subject! In part, this is why the public has the low opinion of Dems we read about in todays Post. (One bright spot for the Republicans is the low regard in which many Americans hold the Democrats. The public sees the Democrats as disorganized, lacking in clear ideas or a positive alternative to the GOP agenda, and bereft of appealing leaders. For once, the public is right.)
How can our spokesmen be so inept? Thats a question for the gods. But if you want to know why this talking-point persists, just look back at Howard Dean fumbling on Meet the Press just this May. He could have mentioned the aluminum tubes. He could have mentioned Cheneys time-table. He could have laughed at the 45-minute shit. Instead, he criticized Bush—for saying what he himself had said—and he looked like a hack in the process.
The distinction we have drawn above is the simplest f*cking distinction on earth. But for three years now, the distinction has proven much too hard for our liberal/Democrat spokesmen to handle. President Clinton said there were weapons! Even the French thought there were WMD! The irrelevant talking-point persists to this day because of our feckless tribes unending failures. On the other side, message machines churn out winning points. Our message machine? It lies silent.
IT NEVER STOPS: To hear Mark Shields bungle this point, just click here, then click on RealAudio. (Well post the transcript of this NewsHour exchange when it becomes available.) Even Clinton said there were WMD! This irrelevant point persists because our spokesmen—spokesmen like Shields—are lazy, inept, worthless, feckless.
VISIT OUR IRRELEVANT ARCHIVES: Weve made these points many times in the past (see, for example, the link above). But then, nothing on earth is more pointless than trying to inform our liberal elites—a group of people who still wont discuss how Bush got into the White House to begin with. (They know. They just dont want to discuss it. After all, their social friends were involved.) And yes, that would be one of the reasons were moving on to other subjects. In the future, well discuss the interests of low-income kids—safe in the knowledge that no elite liberal would waste his time on such a subject.