He's Back

Bill Clinton apparently hasn’t changed his mind. The Oklahoma City bombing was 15 years ago yesterday. At that time, President Clinton blamed talk radio [read: Rush Limbaugh] for the atmosphere that created the bombing.

It was ludicrous then; it remains so today. Why? Rush was in no way associated, in person or in philosophy, with Timothy McVeigh. But Clinton made the connection anyway. It served his political purposes.

This week he has spoken up again, now claiming that the Tea Party movement’s rhetoric is fashioning a climate for another Oklahoma City tragedy. Careful what you say, Mr. Ex-President. By the same logic, couldn’t your words be used as a rationale for someone who is on the edge—wondering whether to go forward with a mad scheme?

What are the Tea Partiers saying that’s so harmful? They are merely criticizing the government [a praiseworthy activity when a Republican is in office] and calling the nation back to its founding principles.

Since when is it inflammatory to say we should follow the Constitution? Where’s the “danger” in reminding citizens that the Tenth Amendment declares that if the Constitution doesn’t give a certain authority to the federal government . . . it doesn’t have that authority. Instead, the authority goes back to the states and/or the people. Those words were written by historic flamethrowers such as James Madison. Strange . . . I thought he was supposed to be an admirable example.

Let’s compare a minute. When’s the last time you heard George W. Bush or his father, George H. W. Bush, make statements along the same line as Bill Clinton? When’s the last time either of the Bushes intruded themselves into a current public policy debate?

Yet Clinton [and Carter would have to be inserted here as well] is constantly offering his views and trying to frame the debate. Is that the place of an ex-president [emphasis on ex]?

I believe this cartoon captures quite accurately the substance of his advice—as well as its value.