Wednesday, March 08, 2006


If there's a line of reasoning that I could do without hearing ever again from our side of the political spectrum it would the lefty version of the butclintonism. Butclintonism, if you'll recall, is a Pavlovian response bred into Republicans from an early age and suffices as a get-out-of-jail-free card for conservatives who've painted themselves into a rhetorical corner in a political catfight. As conservatives, by definition, aren't the brightest of bulbs when it comes to presenting a reasonable argument butclintonism winds up getting more than it's fair share of use.

In the left's version of butclintonism the butclinton is usually thrown out as a counter to some or other mindless righty defense of President Bush's abuse of executive power. Generally it sounds something like this: "Sure the idea of the President being able to wiretap our phones without a warrant may sound fine, but would you trust the same power in the hands of a President Hillary?"

This would have been a perfectly logical approach to debate twenty years ago but it's pretty darn meaningless under today's rules of arguing politics. Ask a wingnut what they would do in the event of a Democratic President utilizing some of the authority Bush has seized during his tenure as President and they're probably telling themselves "Yeah, right, like THAT will happen. A Democratic President? Pshaw. Silly liberal." Or something along those lines.

The strange thing is that if you stop and think about it there are a lot of us here on the left that would agree. Because of voting irregularities and Diebold we'd join our conservative friend in rating the chances of another Democratic President getting elected up there with the chances of an alien invasion dropping down on Kansas City, or the discovery that Sasquatch is alive and well and selling auto insurance in Seattle, or that Governor Schwarzenegger has finally learned the correct pronunciation of the word "California."

But let's assume for the sake of argument that Hillary wins the Democratic nomination (itself an improbability as she supported the Iraq war-resolution but that's another issue) and beats John McCain and is sworn to office in January of 2009 facing a Republican controlled House and Senate. Could anyone seriously argue that the Republican Party wouldn't immediately have a very public epiphany along the lines of "Oh THAT constitution and rule of law. We thought you were saying 'rule of slaw' which didn't make sense because who wants to bow down to cabbage and mayonnaise?"

The reality is they'd pull all of the power Bush has accumulated faster than the time it takes K-Fed to knock up Brittany. They'd say NSA wiretapping was suddenly illegal and unconstitutional and a grave threat to the republic. They'd suddenly become proponents of congressional oversight of the executive. They'd actually hold hearings to investigate White House errors on intelligence or personal indiscretions. They'd advocate that the Senate may have a constitutional role in advice and consent on judicial nominations afterall. They'd do a complete philosophical 180 without batting an eye.

And if you tried to call them on it they butclinton you upside the head.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry about it. Like you said Hillary will never be president.

Dean Wormer said...

She can't get the nomination.

The next nominee simply can't be someone that supported the invasion of Iraq or, at the very least, has signifigantly recanted that support.

Democrats nominate someone who refuses to call Iraq a clusterf*ck and they've lost months before the polls even open.

Don Snabulus said...

This must be the replacement for The Clenis™.

Dean Wormer said...

That dictionary is great. Thanks for linking it Don.