March 5, 2005


Who Should Apologize to Whom? (Amir Taheri, 3/03/05, Arab News)

Where is the country that Bill Clinton, a former president of the United States, feels ideologically most at home?

Before you answer, here is the condition that such a country must fulfill: It must hold several consecutive elections that produce 70 percent majorities for “liberals and progressives.”

Well, if you thought of one of the Scandinavian countries or, perhaps, New Zealand or Canada, you are wrong.

Believe it or not, the country Bill Clinton so admires is the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Here is what Clinton said at a meeting on the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, just a few weeks ago: “Iran today is, in a sense, the only country where progressive ideas enjoy a vast constituency. It is there that the ideas that I subscribe to are defended by a majority.”

And here is what Clinton had to say in a recent television interview with Charlie Rose:

“Iran is the only country in the world that has now had six elections since the first election of President Khatami (in 1997). (It is) the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: Two for president; two for the Parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralties. In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.”

So, while millions of Iranians, especially the young, look to the United States as a mode of progress and democracy, a former president of the US looks to the Islamic Republic as his ideological homeland.

I happen to be of the opinion that we could love bomb Iran into liberalizing, but this is obvious nonsense. American rhetoric should loudly and frequently express our solidarity with the people of Iran and our expectation that as soon as truly free elections -- where the clerics don't control who gets to run -- we will have an ally in the resulting government. Khomeinism should be referred to in the past tense, in the same way that Ronald Reagan began to refer to Communism as having failed. In fact, George W. Bush should go there and do it in person.

But there are two things we shouldn't do: (1) allow them to have nuclear weapons; (2) pretend that their democracy is superior to our own.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 5, 2005 11:19 AM

This is the same guy who went in front of that business group in Houston in 1995 and said he agreed with them that he had raised their taxes too much two years earlier. Clinton operates under the premise that he can tell a specific audience exactly what they want to hear, but will never have to follow up on it or be called for any contradictions, because he's smarter than everyone else and there's no possibility that Group A will ever compare notes with Group B and find out he's lying to either one group, or to both.

Pre-internet, and with the big media's default mode being to protect Democrats from facing bad publicity about obvious acts of lying or hypocracy (see Byrd, Robert for the latest example) it really wasn't a bad strategy, since there was no other way to get out the message nationwide. But as the Swift Boat vets efforts against John Kerry showed, that rule doesn't hold true anymore. Clinton's comments may fly under the radar today, but they can be filed away and brought out in 2008, when Hillary can be questioned by those on the web as to whether or not she holds the same views as her husband (and if it does ever make it onto TV, the images of the missus kissing Suha Arafat would fit in well with the story).

Posted by: John at March 5, 2005 12:17 PM

The great George Will insight into Bill Clinton is that, at the moment he says these things, he truly believes them.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 5, 2005 12:30 PM

Clinton did not just stop at belittling our demcracy relative to Iran's. He belittled every democracy in the world. Talk about legitimizing thuggery.

Posted by: Moe from NC at March 5, 2005 1:29 PM

clinton is a buffoon and a pimp; no one thinks otherwise of him. so what if he spews more hot air, its not like someone important is saying it. gwb shredded him so convincingly its like clinton is a ghost now. in any event he will die soon, and all the gory details will emerge.

how much different would anyone's opinion be, if clinton took to masturbating in public ? the democrats would look away and pretend it didn't matter, and the rest of us would only have existing opinions confirmed. that is the reality of bill clinton's existence.

Posted by: cjm at March 5, 2005 2:24 PM

Clinton used to say the same sorts of things about France, Germany, and Japan (depending upon the audience, of course).

I thought he was smarter than trying to emulate Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 5, 2005 9:41 PM

I'm still trying to understand what is "progressive" or "liberal" about a repressive theocracy. Or did Clinton mean that he's fine with clerics overruling the voters as long as the subjects vote progressive?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 6, 2005 12:13 AM