Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Other Word Is "Phony"

I'm just a humble country lawyer trying to do the best I can against this brilliant prosecutor from the big city of Lansing.
— Paul Biegler, Anatomy of a Murder

It may have begun, this website suggests, in Anatomy of a Murder, but the tradition is long of the wealthy and influential assiduously building a humble image.  The late Senator Sam Ervin, Democrat of North Carolina and star of the Watergate hearings, was particularly endearing while claiming to be only a "poor country lawyer."

A particularly effective practitioner of the art, William Jefferson Clinton, appeared Saturday before a group of professional donors and, Politico reported, cautioned

Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them. A lot of these people live a world very different from the world lived in by the people proposing these things. I know because I come from this world...

A lot of these people... all they've got is their hunting and their fishing. Or they're living in a place where they don't have much police presence. Or they've been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.

Liberal/progressive blogger and (Hillary) Clinton biographer and enthusiast Taylor Marsh, noting (as she is wont to do) that she is married to a firearms expert, observed

The biggest reason why Clinton’s comments are not only patronizing, but condescending, is that they’re also a straw man argument, because no one on the Democratic side is “looking down their nose” at gun owners and I bet Bill Clinton knows this. His opportunistic scolding is for purely political gain, which takes the attention away from where it needs to be and where the majority of Americans want it.

Cheerfully displaying his testosterone, the former Governor told the donors a story which ended up in him telling an NRA lobbyist "If that's the way you fel, you get your gun, I'll get my gun and I'll see you in Texas."  Marsh comments

As a gun owning family, I don't need Mr. Clinton or any other Democrat, certainly not one brandishing an AK-47, using this moment to scold people like myself who are demanding universal background checks, as well as serious consideration on banning high-capacity clips, not to mention putting the spine back in the ATF and gun laws.

Former President Bill Clinton is insulting those of us who own guns and also know the flagrant manner in which the NRA is torturing gun laws and the Second Amendment.  the former presiden tis posturing in a manner meant to deliver a Sister Souljah moment to his own, which only comes off as tone deaf to people who know anything about the gun issue.

Liberal activists are "looking down their noses at" opponents of gun control, saith the man who describes the latter group as "listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all."   Yet he receives a far better reception than the "elitist" Illinois Senator who five years ago- while sympathizing with the unemployed in the industrial heartland- remarked "So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations."

Clinton, additionally

recalled Al Gore's 2000 campaign against George W. Bush in Colorado, where a referendum designed to close the so-called gun show loophole shared the ballot with the presidential ticket. Gore publicly backed the proposal, while Bush opposed it.

Though the referendum passed with 70 percent of the vote, Gore lost the state. Clinton said that the reason was because a good chunk of the referendum's opponents were single-issue voters who automatically rejected Gore as anti-gun.

And Clinton said that passing the 1994 federal assault weapons ban "devastated" more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers in the 1994 midterms- and cost then-Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-Wash.) his job and his seat in Congress.

"I've had many sleepless nights in the many years since," Clinton said. One reason? "I never had any sessions with the House members who were vulnerable," he explained- saying that he had assumed they already knew how to explain their vote for the ban to their constituents.

Perhaps Clinton claimed to be "sleepless" because he forgot that Foley was from Spokane rather than Seattle. As explained here, however, Clinton's continuing narrative that the assault weapons ban cost the Democrats control of the House in 1994 is way overdone.  It is analogous, however, to the former President assuring fundraisers in Houston in 1995 "Probably there are people in this room still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much, too."

By now we shouldn't be surprised.  It's the same man who rescued the economy by raising taxes and then expressed some regret, who signed an assault weapons ban and then blamed it for allegedly sinking his party, and who now imagines liberals belittling gun control opponents.  (And rewarded Wall Street pigs on his way out of the White House.)  Similarly, last fall, after President Obama noted merely that a President has to "figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot" rather than merely how to "maximize profits," the former President felt compelled to declare "I don't think we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work."

Bill Clinton is a master of the straw man argument, but also of portraying himself in the same tradition as the fictional Paul Biegler, Sam Ervin, and even Tim Pawlenty, who periodically sports a southern accent. The guy who say he "know(s) because I come from this world" has been reportedly

raking in huge sums of money by speaking to groups and corporations. It is estimated that he earned around $41 million as a speaker. His standard fee is $150,000. It is also speculated that between 2003 and 2007 the former President received an amount of $15 million paid by Ron Burkle in exchange for his 'advice' on potential investments and opportunities for investors.

Former President Bill Clinton has moved to his new home in Bedford Hills, NY from his old home at Chappaqua. It is believed that the house was bought for $10.9 million. Though the house is only eight miles from his previous abode, this new property offers much more privacy and security. The new 'Clinton Estate' sits on over 20 acres of land and covers around 7,000 sq ft of living space. The new home looks like an English country cottage and it features lots of fireplaces, ceilings that have wood beams, a stable for horses and a dressage ring, an in-ground pool that is heated. Apart from these, there are a couple of guest houses too.

It's a tough life, flying around the country raising money and then having to face the indignity of periodically returning to a humble abode with 7,000 feet of living space, a stable for horses and a dressage ring, and a heated in-ground pool.   The real burden, however, is having to live on 20 acres of land with extraordinary privacy and security when, as he and the mainstream media periodically remind us, Bill Clinton is really just the average Joe who loves those plain, working-class folks.

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