The Blog

Bill's Master Class

In a sentence, Clinton offered a rationale for supporting Democratic candidates who voted for the Iraq war and have defended it.
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Bill Clinton is the best politician the Democrats have produced since John F. Kennedy, maybe the best since Roosevelt. Over the past forty years, no Democrat has matched Clinton's skill for framing issues and his deftness with language. He's the master.

Clinton conducted a master class earlier this week at a rally for the beleaguered Joe Lieberman in a noisy theater in grubby Waterbury, Ct. That Clinton was even there was a marvel in itself. It was Lieberman, after all, who rose in the Senate chamber eight years ago in the midst of the impeachment hysteria over Clinton's diddling Monica Lewinsky to excoriate the wayward President. "Such behavior is not just inappropriate," intoned Lieberman like an updated Old Testament prophet, "it is immoral." In case anyone missed his point, Lieberman went on to call Clinton's actions "disgraceful." What's more, Al Gore chose Lieberman as his vice-presidential candidate in the 2000 campaign, indelibly signaling his misbegotten determination to run as far away from Clinton as he could.

Politicians never forget who piles on them when they're down, but Clinton had no problem now putting his big arm around Lieberman (no kiss, though) and hailing him as "a good Democrat" who deserved to win his primary against anti-war candidate Ned Lamont.

And then he got to his real point--and the reason he ventured to Waterbury. "The real issue, Clinton told the crowd, "is--whether you were for [the Iraq war] or against it--what are we going to do now.

"No Democrat is responsible for the mistakes made since the fall of Saddam Hussein that has brought us to this point."

In a sentence, Clinton offered a rationale for supporting Democratic candidates who voted for the Iraq war and have defended it. Lieberman can use it--and so can another Democratic Senator running for re-election this year and for the White House soon after: Hillary Rodham Clinton.