Former US president Bill Clinton sharply criticised George W. Bush for the Iraq War and the handling of Hurricane Katrina, and voiced alarm at the swelling US budget deficit.Even in this Agence France Presse article you can see the beginning of the new Republican talking point: He can't keep his mouth shut like other presidents do, which just shows that Clinton isn't classy.
Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."
The Iraq war diverted US attention from the war on terrorism "and undermined the support that we might have had," Bush said in an interview with an ABC's "This Week" programme.
Mark my words. If this comes up in the next few days, every Republican will avoid the issues he raises by saying that they're disappointed that Clinton would break with tradition and criticize the President.
Riverside California's Press-Enterprise, March 9, 1994:
In an hour-long speech to about 900 people at the Stouffer Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells, Bush also said that the Clinton administration "has simply not gotten its act together yet" in foreign policy. Bush said he did not want to be a carping critic, but said President Clinton must be more consistent in carrying out foreign policy. Bush criticized the president in particular for sending a shipload of troops to Haiti last year and then ordering them home when "thugs" threatened them from the shore.Washingtonian, February 1994:
BUSH: Now, on the specifics: Somalia -- I used a formula whenever I had to commit American forces anywhere. First, define the mission, don't be fuzzy about what you're trying to accomplish. Second, have the military, the people who have to carry it out, tell you how the mission can be accomplished, and when. And third, and equally important, how do you get out and when do you get out? How do you complete the mission, how do you exit?Associated Press, February 3, 1994
Now, in Somalia we formed a coalition to go in and accomplish the mission. In phase one, the mission was to end the starvation, open the supply lines; then, in phase two, it was to turn the peace-keeping and peace-making over to the United Nations. We formed another coalition to carry out the second phase...
That was our original mission, and our military carried it out beautifully. The supply lines were opened, and at that point the operation became one for the United Nations to carry out. But somehow, the Clinton team lost sight of that, and we found our forces crossing a line, asked to carry out a different, more far-reaching mission -- one whose logistics and consequences hadn't been carefully thought out or planned for. And for that, I fault the Clinton support team -- the NSC, State, and Defense departments. You can't just drift on foreign-policy matters. You have to make decisions and have clearly defined goals, especially when you commit American forces overseas.
Making a rare return to Washington to refly the flag of the Reagan Revolution, Ronald Reagan accused President Clinton and the Democrats of stealing his ideas while trying to discredit his record...Boston Globe, October 23, 1993:
Flying over the capital, he said, "I could just see the excitement on the faces of the bureaucrats - knowing they would soon be managing our national health care system! Up on Capitol Hill, I saw that big white dome, bulging with new tax revenues."
Top former officials of the Bush administration are increasingly assailing President Clinton's foreign policy, targeting his efforts in Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia.Get that? Bush said he would not criticize Clinton in public for a year, but can't keep himself from badmouthing the man in regards to an armed conflict he started himself.
The former officials deny any orchestrated attack, but a number of them have joined the barrage after months of little comment on Clinton's foreign policy. Prominent among the critics are former Secretary of State James A. Baker 3d, former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and former press secretary Marlin Fitzwater.
Former President Bush himself, who once vowed not to criticize Clinton in public for a year, has made derogatory comments, as has former Vice President Dan Quayle, coming out of a lengthy hiatus in Indiana. In the months ahead, it is likely that the attacks from the out-of-office GOP officials will intensify if Clinton appears to struggle.
"If you are going to put somebody else's son or daughter into harm's way, into battle, you've got to know the answer to three questions," Bush told an elementary school audience in San Antonio recently. Those are what is the mission, how will it be accomplished and how will the troops be withdrawn, he said.
And these are just a few stories from the first year-and-a-half of the Clinton presidency...
Update: It begins. Power Line's trio of idiots begins the lies, as Pandagon informs us.
In recent years, the Democrats have violated many of the tacit conventions of civility that have enabled our political system to work for more than two centuries. Yesterday another barrier fell, and once again, we entered uncharted waters: former President Bill Clinton launched a vicious attack on President Bush on ABC's "This Week" program.They go on to launch a half-hearted defense against Clinton's arguments, but, as Pandagon shows, they just look stupid
This has never happened before. Until now, both parties have recognized a patriotism that, at some level, supersedes partisanship. Consistent with that belief, former Presidents of both parties have stayed out of politics and have avoided criticizing their successors. Until now. The Democrats appear bent on destroying every element of the fabric that has united us as Americans.
Clinton's vicious attack is even worse in the context of his wife's Presidential bid: it is fair to assume that he was motivated not only by partisanship, but by his own desire to re-occupy the White House, and, most likely, wield once more the levers of power.
Update: More. Bush at the 1996 Republican Convention:
It breaks my heart when the White House is demeaned -- the presidency itself diminished. Bob Dole as president will treat the White House with respect, his staff will be beyond even the appearance of impropriety, and in the process he will increase respect for the United States of America all across the world.Here he is in 1999, when, of course, there was no way that he might harbor the ulterior motive of getting a family member elected:
Former President George Bush worries about Bill Clinton's apparent "lack of respect" for the presidency, but is optimistic any embarrassment to the country will be short-lived.Let's also remember that Clinton has been very supportive of Bush over Iraq, which just makes his statement all the more damning. Let's also remember that Poppy didn't have a problem tossing in his two cents even as he called on Congress to support Clinton in Bosnia. U.P.I., December 5, 1995:
"I have tried to stay out of all the Washington mess," Bush said at the end of a keynote address to the Safari Club International's 27th annual hunters' convention.
"But I must confess I have been deeply concerned by what appears to be a lack of respect for the office I was so very proud to hold," he said Saturday.
Though I have genuine respect for Secretary (Warren) Christopher and his team for securing a tenuous cease-fire and hammering out the peace agreement in Dayton -- an agreement designed to turn the tenuous cease- fire into an enduring peace -- I still have significant misgivings about the mission itself, about exactly what our troops are expected to accomplish and about when they can get out and come home. In my view, the answers on these points are less than clear.Update: The showpiece article here is this one, an op-ed in the New York Times by none other than Ronald Reagan, entitled "There They Go Again," from February 18, 1993.
Less than one month ago, our nation showed the world the strength of our democratic system with the peaceful transfer of Presidential power from one elected citizen to another and, incidentally, from one political party to another. While it is no secret that I would have preferred a different scenario that day, I have great respect for our constitutional system and would like to support our new President.This was published less than a month after Clinton's inauguration. Does Polipundit think that Reagan, then, is a "no class slime"?
I had every intention of holding back any comments on the new Administration until it was well in place and its policies became clear. Unfortunately, the policies are already becoming alarmingly clear. With campaign promises dropping like autumn leaves, I can't refrain any longer.
"First, we're going to raise the taxes on the people that did well in the 1980's," the Clinton Administration says. Did I hear that right? I'm afraid so! Do they really believe that those who have worked hard and been successful should somehow be punished for it? Is success in the 1980's, or any time for that matter, supposed to be something we as Americans are to be embarrassed about?
I hate to confuse their economic thinking with a few facts, but if they were to look at the 1980's, they would find that America experienced its longest period of peacetime economic expansion in our history. They would find that America led the world out of a global economic recession and that our economy was the envy of virtually every other nation. They would see that we created nearly 19 million new jobs for Americans of all income levels. And it may shock the Clinton Administration to discover that most of the economic gains of the 1980's were made by low- and middle-income citizens, not the wealthiest Americans.
Earlier this week, President Clinton said, "I know we have learned the hard lessons of the 1980's." I didn't realize they were so hard to learn. The fundamental lesson of the 1980's was that when you cut taxes for everyone, people have the incentive to work harder and invest, to make a better life for themselves and their families.
If the new Administration doesn't want to look back as far as the 1980's, maybe it will at least look back at the summer of 1992. Candidate Bill Clinton was promising that, if elected, he would provide a tax cut for the middle class. Now, in less than one month of his Presidency, that promise of a tax cut has not only been broken but it has been reversed into a tax increase for middle-income workers...
We must also listen for the sound of the other shoe to drop: the Clintons' health program. This will almost certainly involve proposals for another round of taxes later this year, and you can bet those won't be levied on a handful of millionaires.
In the Middle Ages, it was believed that alchemists could turn base metals into gold. Now it appears that alchemists in President Clinton's Administration hope to turn a huge tax increase into economic growth. Alchemy didn't work then and it won't work now. Taxes have never succeeded in promoting economic growth. More often than not, they have led to greater economic downturns.
In his campaign, candidate Clinton described himself as a "new Democrat," implying that there would be no more tax-and-spend dogma, no social engineering, no class warfare pitting one group against another. This week, however, he has begun to sound like an "old Democrat." That's the kind who does not understand one simple fact: the problem is not that the people are taxed too little, the problem is that the Government spends too much.
Until President Clinton and the liberals in Congress accept that principle and act accordingly, I'm afraid we are headed for a repeat of the late 1970's. And that is something we can all live without.
No one can dispute that the enormous budget deficit is a major threat to the economic security of our country. But let us remember that deficits are caused by spending. By the very terms of our Constitution, only Congress has the power to spend...