Once again, I'm a little late on the week's buzz.
There's been much ado about Clinton's recent appearance on Fox. I saw the actual clip before any of the spin on it. My first impression was that Clinton came off looking great, that he really put the Fox weasel in his place.
But, of course, I'm out of step with the rest of America, who, if the daily media folks are any indication, thought he came off like a raving lunatic.
I just thought it was good debate, and Clinton smoked him.
I especially loved how the interviewer was wimpering at the end, begging to throw some softball questions.
Clinton's on my mind lately, as I'm slowly working my way through David Remnick's massive profile of him. My favorite part so far is:
It was Lincoln’s “toughness” at Cooper Union that Clinton seemed to admire most, and which led him to a theme he kept returning to all week: the need for the Democratic Party to “lean into” Republican attacks. He made no secret of his feeling that the Democrats had lost winnable elections in 2000 and in 2004; Al Gore and John Kerry were “a couple of honorable men” but had been “tarred” as men of low character, and their campaigns failed to fight back effectively. Kerry, after the so-called Swift Boat veterans, with the tacit encouragement of the Republican campaign leadership, started smearing him, “should have challenged Bush and Cheney to a town-hall debate on their respective Vietnam records. Bush and Cheney were like me—they didn’t go. Kerry was a genuine war hero!” In the gloom of the cabin, Clinton jabbed his finger to emphasize his point. The Kerry campaign was “like a deer caught in the headlights.”
Again, it's just good debate.
At Central, I'm always telling the kids that debate is a game just like any other. You gotta have the ball in order to score. You gotta be on offense.
In debate, the ball is what you make it (if you'll permit extention of a tenuous metaphor). What I mean is, if you're gonna win, you have to establish right up front what the debate is about, what matters and why it matters, and how and why and for whom the whole thing's gonna be decided.
Political campaigns are the same way. They're just big, long, expensive debates.
Obviously, Clinton's a good debater, having won the national title twice.
It must be killing him to watch Karl Rove & co. kick his team's ass.