Did I say New York Times? It’s the Washington Post. I’m sorry. [program observer interruption] Well, no, it’s actually [program observer interruption]. The Washington Post has been doing some good work lately. [program observer interruption] No, no, Mr. Snerdley. Mr. Snerdley, do not have your typical knee-jerk reaction in there, because when these people in the mainstream press, the partisan media, when they make moves in the right direction, they must be acknowledged. The Post has a terrific editorial today on Iraq. They have been right on Iraq since the get-go. They have been one of Bush’s primary supporters. You had Dana Millbank and some of their front page news stories you can throw in the trash with the fish, but you get to the editorial page. Their editorial page still does not lead the front page as the New York Times does. It’s not totally good, but when they’re making moves in the right direction you got to acknowledge it. So it does make a difference.
But Clinton’s op-ed is in the Washington Post today. In the midst of all of this, in the midst of Kerry trying to get a grasp on things in the midst of the Democrats trying to get some traction, all of a sudden here comes their worst enemy popping up — and it’s not just that he’s popping up. He writes about his administration and his party’s foreign policy failure in Rwanda. Now, the timing of this is instructive; it’s curious. Remember, it was just last week, late last week that news hit that the administration, the Clinton administration, did know what was going on in Rwanda at the time. Their stated policy was that this was all going on and they didn’t know about it, but some internal documents got released, and it was found out that the Clinton administration was quite aware what was going on. So Mr. Let-Me-Write-My-Legacy-Every-Day-If-I-Have-to-in-Order-to-Get-a-Good-One, decides he needed to react to this, and the Post offered him a page. But if you read this piece, and I’m not going to bother you with reading it all, if you read this piece you find out that this is not helpful to the Kerry campaign.
[Reading from Clinton op-ed:] “This month marks ten years since the advent of the Rwandan genocide, a cruel, violent, well-organized rampage that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, and the total destruction of Rwandan society over the past decades scholars and advocates have rightly reflected on the reasons that the international community and nations in Africa must share the responsibility for this tragedy. And as I said during my trip to Rwanda 1998, we didn’t act quickly enough after the killing began. We should not have allowed the refugee camps to become safe havens for the killers. We did not immediately call these crimes by their rightful name: genocide.” He goes on. This whole piece is:
The message here, ladies and gentlemen, to me, Clinton’s whole message here undercuts the criticism of John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and their criticism of Bush’s tough stance on terrorism in Iraq. Because if Clinton is saying, “We didn’t react soon enough to this. We apologize. I’m sorry. This was going on and we didn’t do enough about it,” what possible conclusion can you draw
There’s some. I’m not going to OK yet on the real modus operandi or the purpose of this op-ed, except the one obvious thing, and that’s to get Clinton off the hook on the last bit of news that came out last week that they knew about it, when in fact they were saying that they didn’t. But this piece has the potential to render John Kerry as toast. This has the potential to take him totally out of the campaign because John Kerry doesn’t speak this way. John Kerry is not on record as saying, “We should have seen what was going on and we ought to move in to stop it.” John Kerry is all about doing it the other way, “Let’s go to the UN and make sure our allies are doing this,” and Clinton in this piece is, “We saw a genocide taking place, and we didn’t act soon enough and we apologize.” The simplest way to say this is, this is adversely proportional to the current articulated foreign policy of the Democratic Party.
This is our old pal Bill Clinton undercutting his own party in the midst of what his own party thinks is a moment of great weakness of George W. Bush. They are in essence having their knees cut out from under them. Or if you take my analogy, Kerry and all these guys are holding on the top of the minority well by the fingertips; Clinton has just come along and stomped on their hands with this piece on Rwanda. It’s
I will guarantee you, behind closed doors at one of the Kerry Swiss ski chalets or wherever they are today, there’s a bunch of muttering and profanity and all this. “What the hell does he think he’s doing? He can write this any time. Why does he…?” They are all atizzy about this. We’ll never hear about it, but the Democrats are going to start saying, “He could have waited for this. If this hits now, what does his book got in store for us when they release his book right before our convention?” (Laughter.) I just love this. As I say, I’m not going to bother reading the whole thing to you, but it’s one of the biggest mea culpas and “I’m sorry” and “we didn’t see this soon enough,” and “let’s not make this mistake again” pieces that you have ever seen. And you put this in juxtaposition right next to the current foreign policy challenges we’ve got, and it’s pretty much a stamp of approval for what Bush is doing and a plea for support. “Let’s not make this mistake again. Let’s be tough.”
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