A straw in the wind

If Bill Clinton is kicking Bush, that means he thinks Bush is down, and likely down for the count.

There has been some debate about Bill Clinton’s criticism of GWB. Predictably, Democrats think it was overdue while Republicans think both that he is wrong about the substance and that criticizing his predecessor violates some sort of quasi-Constitutional rule (though not a rule that GHWB honored with respect to Clilnton).

I don’t have anything to add to that debate: naturally, I think Clinton’s criticism was both welcome and overdue.

But so far I haven’t seen anyone point out what seems to me obvious: that whatever the validity or ethics of Clinton’s comments, the fact that Clinton made them shows what deep doo-doo GWB is in.

Even Clinton’s warmest admirers (among whom I do not number myself) can’t credit him with outstanding political courage. If he’s kicking Bush, that means he thinks Bush is down, and likely down for the count.

And even Clinton’s sharpest critics can’t deny that he is among the canniest politicians of his generation.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com