Ghostwriting Republican Trash Talk

(Matt Yglesias linked to a query from warblogger Tacitus asking for examples of “Bill Clinton’s policy lies”. Fun was had by all, especially by his resident trolls. This is a rewritten version of my contribution.)

I believe in the division of labor and comparative advantage. I’m sure that the Republicans have already found every lie Clinton ever told, along with a lot that he didn’t tell — as Reagan said, there’s gotta be a pony somewhere in all that shit. As far as I’m concerned, our job is just to shovel away the shit.

Why we’re running errands for Tacitus, I don’t know. For people who need to believe that there’s a decent conservative in the world, apparently he’s the man. But from what I’ve read, he’s just as nasty as the others — he’s just painfully trained himself to keep a civil tongue in his head. For the sake of the common good, Tacitus always demands that we meet him half way, but I have never seen him starting off by meeting us half way. He just struts over with a chip on his shoulder to make his demands.

I’m hardly a Clinton loyalist — he double-crossed my wing of the party up one side and down the other — but my doubts about Clinton aren’t to be shared with Tacitus, who I’m sure enjoyed watching a Democrat do the Republicans’ work.

During the Dukakis campaign, the Democrat’s response was to stop campaigning for a minute to decide whether Boston Harbor was really that bad. When the Republicans insinuated that Clinton’s mother was a whore — yes, they really did do that — the Democratic response was to ask if it was strictly true, and to hold a symposium on the role of women in today’s world. So now we’re ghost-writing trash-talk for Bush’s Republican defenders.

Civility in American politics came to an end in the 1994 Congressional campaign, when one of the nastiest guys in American politics became Speaker of the House with the help of a ludicrous and vicious smear. The Republicans have done nothing since then to improve the situation, and they’ve held on to their gains.

Democrats play fair, and Republicans don’t. Democrats are openminded and thoughtful, and Republicans aren’t. We have the high moral ground, and they have the Presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court.

(Unnecessary personal references omitted. There are many fine people who still believe that dialogue with Republicans is possible, though when I visit their sites I wonder why they bother to try.)


I checked back on the Yglesias thread, and apparently the Tacitus thread was not trolling for “Clinton was just as bad” slime, but was straightforwardly intended.

Someone else has also given me evidence that my judgement of Tacitus (based on fifteen minutes at his site plus his comments here and there) was unfair.

On the other hand, by being an asshole I succeeded in drawing more attention to myself than I otherwise would have gotten. My self-promotion skills are improving, I guess.