Dick Morris has become something of a hero to some on the right, and that’s something I never have been quite able to figure out.
On Friday, Clinton spoke at a symposium on the bombing organized by the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, founded and run by John Podesta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff who also directed the Obama transition. The theme of Clinton’s remarks was that movements like the Tea Party, characterized by extreme right-wing rhetoric, could lead to political violence. In the last few days, news accounts in the Times(“Recalling ’95 Bombing, Clinton Sees Parallels”), Newsweek (“Hate: Antigovernment extremists are on the rise — and on the march”), and ABC News (“Watch your words”) drove home Clinton’s point. “This is a legitimate thing to do,” the former president said, “drawing parallels to the time running up to Oklahoma City and a lot of the political discord that exists in our country today.”
What Clinton and his supporters do not talk about is the way in which Clinton, aided by pollster/adviser Dick Morris, exploited the bombing to make a political comeback from what was the lowest point in Clinton’s presidency to that time. (The Lewinsky scandal was still three years in the future.) In the days after Oklahoma City, Clinton and Morris devised a plan to use the bombing to discredit and outmaneuver the new Republican majority in Congress.
…Later, under the heading “How to use extremism as issue against Republicans,” Morris told Clinton that “direct accusations” of extremism wouldn’t work because the Republicans were not, in fact, extremists. Rather, Morris recommended what he called the “ricochet theory.” Clinton would “stimulate national concern over extremism and terror,” and then, “when issue is at top of national agenda, suspicion naturally gravitates to Republicans.” As that happened, Morris recommended, Clinton would use his executive authority to impose “intrusive” measures against so-called extremist groups. Clinton would explain that such intrusive measures were necessary to prevent future violence, knowing that his actions would, Morris wrote, “provoke outrage by extremist groups who will write their local Republican congressmen.” Then, if members of Congress complained, that would “link right-wing of the party to extremist groups.” The net effect, Morris concluded, would be “self-inflicted linkage between [GOP] and extremists.”
Clinton’s proposals — for example, new limits on firearms and some explosives that were opposed by the National Rifle Association — had “an underlying political purpose,” Morris later wrote in another book about Clinton, Because He Could. That purpose was “to lead voters to identify the Oklahoma City bombing with the right wing. By making proposals we knew the Republicans would reject…we could label them as soft on terror an imply a connection with the extremism of the fanatics who bombed the Murrah Federal Building.”
It was a political strategy crafted while rescue and recovery efforts were still underway in Oklahoma City. And it worked better than Clinton or Morris could have predicted.
And it was wholly despicable, and unforgivable. Morris is a weasel who worked willingly for jackals bent on undermining freedom of speech and legitimate dissent against our country’s long-term, contra-Constitutional lurch Leftwards. When it comes to expanding the government’s illegitimate power over American lives, nothing happens by accident. We should never, ever forget what sort of cynical, Machiavellian manipulators these people were, are, and ever shall be.
Update! Glenn says it nicely: “…this statement serves as a useful reminder to those who have come to think of Clinton as some sort of cuddly, not-so-bad figure. He was a demagogue who would say whatever he thought might work when he was President, and he still is.” I’ll say it not-so-nicely: like many another self-appointed liberal-fascist Messiah, Clinton is a self-seeking, narcissistic sociopath with no regard for truth, and no integrity whatsoever. Morris was an enabler. They’re both worms of the lowest order, and the sad fact that they once sullied the halls of American power reflects very damned poorly indeed on the American electorate.
Updated update! And more from Glenn (and Tam) on this:
Lies and smears aimed at their fellow Americans, for short-term political gain. This is who they are, and this is what they do. It worked better, however, when there were fewer alternative channels of communication, and when their character was less well-known.
Meanwhile, Tam has some thoughts on homeland security:
We have guys with their jockeys full of Semtex buying airline tickets with cash, and the feds are busy getting spun up about bubbas in Mossy Oak angry about taxes. Way to keep your eye on the ball…
When Clinton was yammering about the danger of domestic terrorists, Osama bin Laden was planning 9/11, and Clinton wasn’t doing much. It would be unfortunate if the Obama Administration followed in his footsteps.
Unfortunate? It would be — is — downright criminal. And all too typical for Democrat Socialists, who have always cared far more about their Grand Project to remake America than they ever will about national security.