Column: Clinton, a charismatic combatant

By Gus Bode

Last week Bill Clinton appeared on FOX News and gave a clinic for the Democratic Party. Hopefully, the Democratic Party and its leaders taped and studied the interview.

The Democrats have become a case study in how to bully your opponents. To many observers, the Party has been “punked” on a regular basis. Quiet reflection and charming responses are ineffective against the Bush/Rove machine.

The Democratic Party is in desperate need of Clinton’s sass. While Clinton certainly has his faults, one of his most endearing qualities was his ability to stand toe-to-toe with rightwing ideologues.


Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives spent eight years in a vain attempt to destroy the crafty Bill Clinton. Despite being plagued with scandals during his administration, Clinton remained extremely popular with the American people even in the midst of an impeachment trial.

How did this happen? Maybe, it’s because, despite impeachment, special prosecutors, hearings and investigations, he would not be bullied. Clinton is a charismatic combatant who is not afraid to throw mud back.

When accusations of womanizing and crooked deals emerged, Clinton went down in the gutter and fought with the rats and emerged triumphant. His theme song should have been “I’m Still Standing.”

Last Sunday, he came out fighting again. Democratic political operator Paul Begala lauded Clinton’s performance stating, “Yes, finally, what Democrats have needed for a long time, they should’ve done this in the ’02 elections, they should’ve done it in the ’04 elections, is stand up and say the emperor has no clothes.”

Last Sunday on FOX News Clinton provided the Democratic Party with their playbook for victory. It is high time for the Democratic Party to show Bill Clinton’s ferocity.

One must wonder why the Democrats are not unified in their anger and determination to oust the Republicans. Why aren’t the Democrats exhibiting Clinton’s fire? More significantly, the Democrats have passively permitted the Republican Party to frequently depict them as weak and soft on terrorism.

The Republicans continuously blast the Democrats on issues of national security, and the Democrats ignore these charges and continue to lose elections. In fact, Karl Rove’s entire strategy centers on the Democrats’ timidity and their reluctance to challenge the administration.


In light of recent events in Iraq, the Democrats should call for impeachment and removal daily. The war should be a constant theme for Democrats. Yet, the majority of the Democratic Party wrings its collective hands.

Intelligence reports revealed that Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists. However, Democrats still mince their words and splice their speech. The Democrats fear they will be attacked as unpatriotic for standing up to this administration, so they bow their heads and speak in low voices.

The Democrats should be in the catbird seat yet, they are on the run and are constantly on the defensive.

This is not a new phenomenon. In 1988, President George Bush and the late Lee Atwater destroyed the timid Michael Dukakis. He stood by meekly as he was whacked with Willy Horton and made to look like a weak kneed coward.

Democratic Vietnam War veteran Max Cleland lost the senate because he was labeled as “soft.” In 2004, John Kerry was swiftboated out of the election, and George Bush went relatively unchallenged.

Over 50 years ago, during Harry Truman’s 1948 presidential campaign a supporter yelled to Truman, “Give ’em hell, Harry!” Truman responded, “I don’t give them hell, I just tell the truth, and they think it’s hell.”

Last week, Bill Clinton gave them hell on FOX News. Hopefully his party will follow the example.

LeNie Adolphson has a master’s in history and is working on a women’s studies certificate.