Observations on the world today.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Tarnish on the Golden Boy 

Clarke Asks Group to Pull Anti-Bush TV Ads:
"I just don't want to be used,'' Clarke told The Associated Press. "I don't want to be part of what looks like a political TV ad. I'm trying hard to make this not a partisan thing but a discussion of how we stop terrorism from happening in the future, keep this on a policy issue. I don't want this to become any more emotional or personal than it has already.''
Again, I sympathize, and so to do a few of the other liberals in the blogosphere. Ezra Klein sarcastically says:
Go ahead and piss off Clarke while associating your ardently liberal organization with the critiques he's trying to present as nonpartisan. That'll help. And ignore him when he asks you to stop. Nicely played.
Kevin from MarchSeventh says:
MoveOn should pull the ad. Not because I think it is bad strategy or unethical. Instead I think there are better ways to make the point without getting in a pissing match with Richard Clarke.
Both have a point, but I still tend to agree with a blogger named Matt from NotGeniuses who says:
Look, folks, this isn't about dragging Clarke into partisan politics. This is about a national organization highlighting a real concern with Bush. Would we prefer MoveOn used our money raising less important concerns with our President? Do people really want election issues to be meaningless?
But all of this brings me to another point. There are things that we on the left can disagree with Clarke about. There are and there should be. The man is a conservative after all. Granted, he's one of the good ones, but he's not a liberal and we should stop treating him (or rather the issue of him) as though every word he utters is golden.

For example, he criticizes Bush for not taking the threat risk seriously enough, and he is very very credible in this. However, he also criticizes Clinton for not having attacked Afghanistan when he (Clarke) wanted to during the late nineties. And what has the response from the left been? We have been so keen on advancing the truth that Clarke is credible that it almost seems as if we have actually embraced the suggestion that Clinton should have championed this version of the philosophy of pre-emption.

Come on, Clarke is wrong about some things. Clinton could not have and should not have followed every single recommendation Clarke made prior to 9/11. Acknowledging that does not mean that we are saying that Bush was right to not take the threat seriously at all. There is a balance, isn't there?

And before anyone asks, no, this is not an April Fools joke. I mean it.

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