Since 1999, Dems have been dreaming about wiping the smirk of George W. Bush' face. Sunday, Clinton expanded the smirk zone when he chided Wallace for having "that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever." Left-leaning blogs are lauding Clinton's tantrum. Thinkprogress.org reported that Clinton taught Wallace "a lesson."If so, it was a lesson on How Not To. Bubba looked silly dismissing Wallace, his "nice little conservative hit job on me" and the Fox News network as conservative tools. Sorry, Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch donated $500,000 to the Clinton Global Initiative last week and hosted a fund-raiser for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton this summer.
I don't get it. If Bill Clinton is so smart, why has he made his failure to get Osama bin Laden the big story of the week twice in the last month? Start with the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11." I never saw it, so all I know about it is that Clinton thought it showed him to be too soft on bin Laden. Oddly, when Democrats were billing themselves as tough on terrorism, Clinton turned the spotlight on his failure to vanquish bin Laden.
Let me be clear. I in no way blame Clinton for 9/11. Before 9/11, neither Clinton nor Bush could have garnered the domestic or international support they would have needed to defeat al-Qaida.
Besides, if Clinton emboldened al-Qaida by pulling U.S. troops out of Somalia after the death of 18 U.S. soldiers, his actions were no worse than those of the first President Bush (who ended the first Gulf War prematurely) or Ronald Reagan, who cut and ran after terrorists killed 241 U.S. troops in Lebanon.
Clinton also was right to point out that in 1993 no one knew al-Qaida was paying attention to Somalia. Ditto his point that few of today's critics were pushing for him to risk a war by bombing those suspected in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa or the USS Cole.
But Clinton complained that the right accused him of waging a "wag the dog" foreign policy -- as if he had nothing to do with his credibility problems. I believed the threats against America were real, but suspected Clinton's martial responses were timed to deflect attention from the Lewinsky scandal.
Some on the left thought so, too. So what? Surely Clinton would not argue that he could not fight Osama bin Laden, lest he be criticized. Read Richard Clarke's book, the former president repeatedly admonished Wallace. Hmm. If Clinton wants to remind voters that his own National Security Adviser Sandy Berger pleaded guilty to sneaking out and shredding three copies of a Clarke memo about the growing terrorist threat in America, well, OK. Twist my arm.
For three years, the left has accused Bush of lying to the public about intelligence that suggested Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Partisans seem to have forgotten that Clinton ordered air strikes over Iraq in 1998 in order to check the threat of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction program.
On Sunday, Clinton got a taste of the Dems' bitter medicine, and he choked on it.