I’m a little dumbfounded by Wall Street Journal’s editorial, The Violence Card:
No less a figure than Bill Clinton seized on the occasion of the Oklahoma City bombing’s 15th anniversary to lecture tea-party activists, first in a speech last week to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, then in a Monday New York Times op-ed. “Have at it, go fight, go do whatever you want,” he said in the speech. “You don’t have to be nice; you can be harsh. But you’ve got to be very careful not to advocate violence or cross the line.” In the op-ed, he wrote: “There is a big difference between criticizing a policy or a politician and demonizing the government.”
Taken strictly at face value, these statements are unobjectionable. Yet given that the tea-party movement has been peaceful and law-abiding, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that Mr. Clinton is engaging in a not-so-subtle smear campaign.
Mr. Clinton’s opposition to “demonizing the government” would be more credible had he been heard from on the subject during the first eight years after he left office—when, for example, Hollywood demonized George W. Bush by releasing “Fahrenheit 9/11,” or when Mr. Clinton’s own former Vice President railed against the man who beat him in 2000: “He betrayed this country!”
While I think the editorial was well-written and makes a good point, I have to take issue.
Clinton meant to take the attention away from the issues with his sleight of hand. It’s about changing the subject. The Wall Street Journal has done us a disservice by playing along and responding to and dedicating valuable space and energy to rebut Clinton’s nonsense.
Instead of spending the entire editorial building the case against Clinton’s credibility, why not take the first paragraph to call call out his unsubstantiated, change the subject technique. Then the rest of the editorial could have been spent on highlighting the actual tea party issues, asking why other side relentlessly chooses to ignore those issues and rather chooses to use playground tactics to smear and change the subject?