Jewish World Review Nov. 8, 1999/27 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760
The last toadies
BILL CLINTON AND TONY BLAIR, the twin towers of Nouveau
Liberalism, recently have experienced contemporaneous spasms of public
Blair entertained the British public recently by hinting that his
political opponents were guilty of, among other things, the assassination of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He also labeled Prince Charles a "goon" for
refusing on human-rights grounds to dine with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.
Bill Clinton in similar fashion has tossed the race card on the table with
unseemly liberality, claiming that bigotry was responsible for the Senate's
decision not to elevate a Missouri jurisprude to the federal bench and Sen.
Jesse Helms' request that the administration forward investigative files
pursuant to former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun's nomination as ambassador to
New Zealand. Braun is an ex-senator in part to a series of imaginative
financial irregularities, ranging from the use of office funds to purchase
jewelry to the misappropriation of Medicare money intended for her mother.
Clinton and Blair are the first baby boomers to head their respective
nations, and they respond to adversity the way many in their (our)
generation do: They whine and cry out for immediate, universal attention.
Clinton's exhibitionism has reached such heights that he wants to ring in
the new millennium by delivering a speech to the men and women thronged on
Washington's historic mall. (Pity the poor staffer who was bold enough to
say, "But Mr. President, the celebration is not about you!")
Such megalomania powers the Clinton-Blair phenomenon. The two men have
breathed life into the liberal movements in their country through the sheer
force of their ambitions and personalities. They took on leaders who had
inherited the estates of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and set about
making the men look like drooling has-beens. Clinton ritually referred to
then-President George Bush in 1992 as "old Bush."
The irony is that Clinton and Blair are the last toadies for ideas that
long ago lost their luster and power. Despite the palaver about "third way"
politics, the two guys are troglodyte left-wingers who still want to impress
their old professors.
But look around. The act is wearing thin. Gerhard Schroeder rode the
Clinton-Blair wave to victory in Germany, and his coalition is beginning to
collapse already. Germany doesn't have the luxury of a booming economy and
domestic harmony. Its voters need results now.
Unfortunately, results are the one thing the apple-polishing left-wingers
can't produce. They're gifted primarily in the art of promising. They have
retailed the idea that government can achieve virtually anything and have
adopted sales techniques pioneered by the Jimmy Swaggarts of the world. They
tell deeply personal tales. They gush emotion. They express their yearnings
as achingly as any public figure in recent memory. They press their palms
against their hearts, look toward the skies and ask in agony, "Why, oh,
why?" And they portray their foes as stooges of Satan.
|No caption needed.
The principle difference between them and Swaggart being that the
huckster's victims can stop writing checks when they figure out that they're
being bilked, while heads of state can continue to exact tribute through the
force of law.
In this sense, the apple-polisher leftists have demanded much from their
countrymen but given little. Only a few hopeless saps actually believe that
the government can "ensure" health by mandating health-care coverage. Most
understand that any "universal" government program ensures universal
incompetence and inconvenience. So now Clinton has shifted the debate. He
now portrays conservative reform as a vicious assault on innocents: Social
Security reform is tantamount to war on the elderly, Medicare reform is an
attack on the poor, resistance to hate-crimes legislation or gun control
constitutes a tacit endorsement of racism and murder.
Clinton had to make a choice some time ago about whether to use his final
months forging bipartisan agreements on pressing matters, such as Social
Security and Medicare, or clubbing Republicans like baby seals. He chose the
latter because it is easier and more fun. For him, politics is a venue not
for shaping history, but for pounding competitors.
The result is that his final days will be marked by increasing acrimony and
bellyaching. He will divide the public in such a way as to weaken both
parties -- and in a fitting finale, he will blame the mayhem on someone
Tony Snow Archives
©1999, Creators Syndicate