Who let the Dawg out?

Molly Ivins from December 5, 1999:

Don’t know how many of you heard President Clinton’s speech at the World Trade Organization. Except for C-SPAN junkies, I doubt anyone was watching. But it is high time somebody said the obvious out loud: The son of a gun is good.

How long has it been since you heard Clinton make a whole speech? I’ve been catching him on the tube in snippets for so long that I’d forgotten just how effortlessly persuasive he actually is. There he stood, the No. 1 Free-Trader in the Whole World, facing all the opposition. By the time he finished, he was on their side and they were on his side. He is a superb politician.

Anyone volunteering a kind word for Clinton nowadays has to issue the obligatory disclaimer. In my case, it’s easy, since I barely agree with him 50 percent of the time.

He’s not my kind of Democrat and never has been. But at least I have the sense to recognize the man’s merits, whatever his failings.

He is an amazingly skilled pol at the top of his game. I know — everybody hates politicians so much that to say someone is a great one is a form of cussin’ him out. Nevertheless, I do admire real political skill, and Clinton has it in spades.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anyone better. Maybe Lyndon Johnson on a roll, or Bob Bullock in good health. Too bad that Clinton had to spend most of his presidency on defense. I would have liked to see him quarterback a Democratic Congress for the sheer interest of the exercise.

Don’t ask me to explain what went wrong between Clinton and the Washington press corps. I’ve never understood it. I don’t want to drag anyone through the Late Unpleasantness again, but as near as I can tell, about half the D.C. press corps is totally wiggy on the subject of Clinton. Otherwise rational people — like Chris Matthews, Chris Hitchens, George Will, there’s an army of them — are so obsessed by Clinton’s moral failings that they cannot see his performance, what he actually does with the job.

I’m sorry that Clinton is so flawed. That’s truly a shame. As Mr. Shakespeare said, “… and the elements, So mixed in him.” But I still don’t see why that prevents people who presume to have some grasp of objectivity from seeing what’s right in front of them.

Clinton is such a master that he has played a Republican Congress to a dead standstill for six years now — and often with no cards at all in his hand (mostly due to his own stupidity during the Late Unpleasantness).

And what a set of Republicans. It’s not as though he’s had to deal with constructive citizens who happen to differ with him on the issues — your Robert Tafts, your Bob Doles, your Margaret Smiths or such as that. Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution — God save us.

Lord knows, the Republicans have saved Bill Clinton. Time after time after time, they are so blinded by their hatred of Clinton that they do themselves in. I’m sure it’s a mercy, but it’s also a peculiar phenomenon.


The best description of Clinton I ever heard was from an Arkansas state senator who said: “He’s like one of those broad-bottomed children’s toys. You tump him over, and he pops back up. You tump him over again, and he pops back up again.”

Given the amount of personal abuse the man has taken, his resilience is just extraordinary. Apparently, he really does get up every day and start over.

Molly wrote that almost 13 years ago. She’s gone now, so we don’t know what she would have to say about the past four years. But I don’t think she would have agreed with the effort to purge the Clintons from the Democratic party. The Democrats should have tried to build on Bill’s success, not attacked it.

So how did that work out for them? This is from today’s White House Insider:

Bill’s speech was double the time they gave him. Had Obama waiting. Kept the current POTUS waiting for almost an hour. Handlers not happy. Jarrett pissed. They do that little shake at the end when Obama walks out. Backstage, Bill says something like, “He wanted to break my hand.” He’s laughing it off. Knows what he wanted to do was done. Obama storms off. The two were all smiles onstage. Backstage, they parted. Bill’s getting congratulated and Obama is gone. Told somebody, was a woman so assume Jarrett but didn’t ask for clarification, took Bill aside and was shaking her finger in his face for a moment. Bill leaned down and whispered something to her and she walks off. He goes back to smiling and the handshakes. Classic Clinton. The smiling assassin. And what is the feedback today? That Obama’s speech was not as good as Clintons. That he isn’t Clinton. Look up the Bentsen reference. That’s what we saw Clinton pull off this week.

The Democratic establishment literally tried to destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama was their tool. For a brief time it looked like they had succeeded.

Now four years later the Democratic establishment is discredited, Obama is going to be a one-term failure and the Clintons are more popular than ever.

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71 Responses to Who let the Dawg out?

  1. I’m a Bubba fan. ALSO a Molly fan and I still miss her! Thanks for this post!

  2. myiq2xu says:

    I always thought that this should be the Big Dawg’s theme song:

  3. angienc says:

    So times that WHI stuff reads like tinfoil political fiction, but lately I’m hoping it’s true.

    I don’t even want to know what that says about me. 🙂

    • DeniseVB says:

      As seen on Jim Treacher’s FB page:

      “FOX News Channel’s use of an R.E.M. song during Thursday’s edition of Fox & Friends was in full accordance with its license agreements with all appropriate parties. Nevertheless, we’re always flattered to have this much attention for a song selection and we hope R.E.M. was able to satisfy their publicity fix.”

  4. fif says:

    Now four years later the Democratic establishment is discredited, Obama is going to be a one-term failure and the Clintons are more popular than ever.

    Karma’s a bitch baby!

  5. tommy says:

    The dems don’t freakin GET IT. Once O becomes a one term Preezy, maybe they’ll understand. Before WJC, who was the last democratic Preezy who won 2 terms. You’ve got to go way back for that. Even today, the present day progs don’t realise that it was Clinton who got the dem party their credentials. After the Reagan revolution, they were decimated. But thanks to the comeback kid, the dems made a comeback. And I effing had to hear from MSNBC that WJC was the best republican Preezy. Idiots have gone so far left that they are off the effing page.

    • myiq2xu says:

      What’s really crazy is they refuse to accept the evidence – Bill Clinton was successful in bringing peace and prosperity to the country. The Vile Progs are in denial because according to their theories he should have been a failure.

      Bill Clinton – Vile Progs say he doesn’t deserve credit for prosperity.

      Barack Obama – Vile Progs say he doesn’t deserve blame for bad economy.

      • angienc says:

        Speaking of Clinton Democrats & vile progs (who did nothing but trash the Clintons in 2008 more than anyone in the GOP *ever* did & which makes their mania declaring that Bill “won Obama’s re-election” for him now that much more desperate & pathetic) — did you see this story (leaked by a GOP operative — most likely in the Romney camp on Wednesday) about the vile prog Obama declaring he wasn’t a “Clinton Democrat” back in 1994?

        The audio recording is one of several moments in the 1990s in which Obama made clear that he didn’t consider himself a Clinton Democrat. It’s also an early precursor to the intra-party battle between Clinton Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary as Hillary Clinton competed for the nomination. As chronicled by The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, Obama’s team sought to frame both Clintons as untrustworthy political opportunists, ready to abandon their principles — if they had any — if that’s what victory required.

        I hate to give Buzzfeed the clicks, but fair is fair (hear full audio here):


  6. Just noticed today the local weekly TRASH PICK-UP is by a company called “Progressive”. It used to be Waste Management. Now, big bold words on the side of the BLUE GARBAGE TRUCK. “PROGRESSIVE”

    No irony lost at seeing this.

  7. votermom says:

    Slightly OT – This election period feel weird in my corner of suburbia. There are no lawn signs, hardly any bumper stickers … it’s like people are keeping their heads down and holding their breath until Nov 6.
    Anyone else get that feeling?

    • Definitely. I took a trip from PA to LA this summer. Not ONE O sticker anywhere to be seen. NONE. Very few Romney either to be fair. But all that way and back- and nothing. Not even leftover 08 ones!

    • DandyTiger says:

      Absolutely. I’m in Charlottesville, which went 95% Obama in ’08. Almost no lawn signs or bumper stickers. Kind of spooky.

    • kanaughty says:

      so far all i see around here are local politician yard signs. and for instance the one i see is the name of the family my street was named for. so it is kind of funny 🙂 it is such a small town. i don’t think i have seen either romney or ob signs out yet except for at our riverfest where there was a democrat party tent.

    • it’s Ohio here, and the signs are starting to come up. Swing area so it’s an equal number of both, but not too many of either just yet.

      • Jen the Michigander says:

        Detroit area… Lots of yard signs for local politicians, very few for Obama or Romney. Ditto for the bumper stickers. There’s a Dem Party headquarters across the street from my grocery store, but no Obama signs anywhere in the surrounding neighborhood (which was heavily obotic in 2008; the people who live here are stereotypical latte-drinking yuppie creative class prog types).

    • gxm17 says:

      The only lawn signs I’ve seen are for Romney (and Allen), and they’re huge. But that’s because I drive through Great Falls (where the big money lives) on the way to work.

    • insanelysane says:

      My old SUV sports two 2008 Hillary stickers. One is on passenger window and it’s Hillary in the Rosie the riveter saying Yes we can!

      And the other 2008 sticker is on bumper says Hillary for President.

      Six months ago I added a new sticker beside that one. It says
      Draft Hillary 2012. I am sticking with those.

    • eriezindian says:

      I agree…. my small collegetown, where last time around the KoolAid was obligatory, has no O signs. Maybe a few Romney, not many. I think (hope) there is a quiet, desparate waiting for election day and praying our 4 yr nightmare will be over. But what do I know?

    • eriezindian says:

      Yes…my small college town, where in 2008 the Koolaid flowed freely, seems to be hunkered down waiting for the 4 yearfiasco to be over. Nary a sign to be seen…oh, wait. One ‘o’ that never really came down.

  8. yttik says:

    Good will always triumph in the end. The truth will always win! That’s hard to believe in politics, but it’s true. If you have the moral high ground, you will win. Not that phony self righteousness that the Obots have, but the moral high ground where you know you are right and you respect your opposition enough to patiently help them come to their senses. Bill Clinton has that. So does Sarah Palin. Good leadership knows how to make the enemy eat out of their hand.

  9. Erica says:

    I so enjoyed this post and absolutely love the pic of Bill loving politics while Obama flounders.

  10. myiq2xu says:

    Which candidate said this:

    As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, rights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility, and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk- takers, the entrepreneurs who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise system, the greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.

  11. HELENK says:

    this is what the whi was talking about.

  12. wmcb says:

  13. Lulu says:

    That photo of the joyous Clinton and the peeved and bilious Obama is one of my favorites. I want to see one of those with Romney grinning and Obama rubbing his heartburn gut at a debate.

  14. HELENK says:


    some upset people at the white house

    damn it whose Idea was it to let him speak

    59% clinton ———-19% backtrack ooops

  15. HELENK says:


    a great big OUCH!!!!!!!!!

    the party that backtrack un-built

  16. HELENK says:


    do you agree with this list of winners and losers at the dnc convention??

    • HELENK says:

      I used to watch him all the time. then he got down on his knees to backtrack and I stopped watching him.
      If he is starting to joke about backtrack , that is not a good sign for backtrack

      • Yup. this is what we get for just handing over 20 electoral votes in one bundle. If the plan had gone through to award them by district- they would have had to fight for them. Now not only does PA lose out on the ad money- but the candidates won’t bother campaigning much here either- so we lose out on the hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, gas money that would have been spent by the campaigns and the media.
        Nice frigging job. Corbett should have stuck to his guns and rammed that one through,

  17. HELENK says:


    this was all I could find about the people that had tickets but could not see the speech due to change of venue.
    from a Charlotte TV station

  18. Jen the Michigander says:

  19. myiq2xu says:


    Bill Clinton’s face doesn’t appear on Mount Rushmore, and he doesn’t have a monument bearing his name in Washington, D.C. That much we know.

    But judging by the reaction to the former president these days, it seems some are ready to mention him in the same breath as some of those bronze and stone statues.

    Clinton served up the best-reviewed speech of the 2012 convention season on Wednesday, cementing his status as perhaps the preeminent force in American politics nearly 12 years after his presidency ended.

    A stunning 69 percent of Americans in a Gallup poll released this week rated him favorably — a number higher than ever been before, even at the height of his presidential popularity. And his address Wednesday will likely only add to the growing nostalgia for his terms in office.

  20. Karma says:

    w/DNC secret speaker Scarlett Johansson.

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