May 6, 2014

Great moments with the Clintons

US News, Feb 2014 - South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn stayed publicly neutral during most of the epic 2008 presidential primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

But former President Bill Clinton believed Clyburn was personally responsible for his wife’s 29-point drubbing in the pivotal Palmetto State -- and he let him know it in no uncertain terms.

In a new memoir -- “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black” -- Clyburn recounts how an irate Bill Clinton called him the early morning after the January primary at 2:15 a.m. to take him to task.

“If you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one,” Clinton thundered.

As Clyburn tells it, the former president phoned to pin blame on the congressman, vent his frustration and seek an explanation on how his wife got whipped so badly.

Clyburn reminded Clinton he had pledged neutrality to the Democratic National Committee as a condition of them authorizing the South Carolina primary.

“I had kept that promise. I asked him to tell me why he felt otherwise. He exploded, used the word ‘bastard’ again, and accused me of causing her defeat and injecting race into the contest,” Clyburn writes.

At the time though, it was the Clintons who were accused of playing racial politics.

Earlier that month, Hillary Clinton seemed to suggest in an interview that President Lyndon Johnson had a more important role in passing the Civil Rights Act than Martin Luther King Jr. -- the implication being that while the civil rights icon’s voice was important, it took a president to pass the landmark legislation.

In a brushback to Clinton, Clyburn told the New York Times it was “disingenuous to suggest which was more important.”

“That episode bothered me a great deal,” he writes.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

the implication being that while the civil rights icon’s voice was important, it took a president to pass the landmark legislation.

But that's true - he did!.

Those in political office are the ones that either do or don't create the enabling legislation --as we've seen now for 60 years with single-payer. No matter how much popular support something has, if the ones in office won't create the law, it doesn't get created.

Which is why voting is and will always be important. Except when, as now, we're too disorganised to act in solidarity. That's how Madison's "dilutions" work: unless we act in solidarity, 500 rich bastards will always have more power than 50 million of us.

Anonymous said...

The credit should go to LBJ, even though he didn't do that much personally, but HRC was right. Even though LBJ was a convictable crook and possibly an accessory to murder through his nefarious association with Hoover, he deserves credit as star pupil of FDR. See Bruce Ackerman, We the People, the Civil Rights Revolution.

LBJ revived the cold war and got world peace off the table, pushing civil rights, when JFK had wanted to wait until after the peace mandate in 1964 against General Goldwater. Protected by the Secret Service while JFK was not, LBJ became a born-again civil rights revolutionary. Goldwater didn't know what hit him, but likely was happy to get both the Vietnam War and the South in the bargain.

Why dwell in the past with the Clintons, when we already have Jetsons and Flintstones series DVD's? Because our current weak Congress system is classic US fascism, the opposite of the LBJ strong Congress system. If the Clintons can be induced into wanting a strong Congress, as FDR and LBJ had for the New Deal and Civil Rights, then the rest of us get a shot at escaping fascism and maybe even getting the long deferred peace dividend of 1964.

It takes a Congress that is willing to abrogate McCutcheon. Everything else could clear up, including global warming, if the Clintons see it in their own interest to get a working congressional majority.

This could distinguish them from Obama, who as a unitary executive type, doesn't seem to care what Congress does. But Bill must be spoiling to avenge 1994 and 1998, to leave a Clinton legislative legacy. HRC may be as obsessed as was Junior about Saddam's threat against Senior. If Newt gets the GOP nomination, it could kickstart a subconscious reaction that ushers in a new New Deal, a new civil rights revolution and a Pax Clintonia. Hail Clintonia.

On the other hand, Bill's only regret has been that he didn't think destroying Serbia counted in the win column. Hopefully he's over that. But the 22nd amendment is entirely bogus, was a fascist backlash against FDR and against popular presidents like Grant, Cleveland, TR who didn't get a third term but at least were given the chance. If Bill wanted to use HRC's presidency to bypass the 22nd amendment, lock her in closet and run the oval office by himself, or just doggedly devote his four years as First Gentleman, to the personal cause of getting the 22nd amendment repealed, for him to run in 2020, I'd be OK with that. George Wallace's 4th term as governor was extraordinary.

On the other hand, being the first male First Lady, like being a male war bride, may have its own charms that will captivate him. Just so long as they don't repeat 1994 and 1998. It wasn't until about 1998 that I learned bridge club ladies could unabashedly read out loud newspaper passages about oral sex. O Dylan, how can we keep from going through all of these things twice?