The Clintons and the Abyss

Has it begun to stare back? Have they adopted the tactics of the VWRC?

Nietzsche wrote*:

In fighting monsters, one can become a monster. Stare long enough into the abyss, and the abyss begins to stare into you.

The Clinton machine has a funny sort of relationship to the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, one that would not surprise the philosopher. Having been relentlessly hammered by lies and distortions, shamelessly repeated over and over and over again, they’ve come to the conclusion that the way to win in politics is to shamelessly repeat lies and distortions over and over and over again.

They’re even proud of it, in a twisted way. “This is the fun part.” “We’re just getting warmed up.” Like the Republicans, they want the voters to confuse lack of scruple with toughness, and honesty with weakness.

Just ask yourself the question: in the Clinton-Obama race, which one is acting like George W. Bush and which one is acting like Al Gore? What we saw last night was that Obama, unlike Gore, won’t be used as a doormat. He’ll hit back. Having mentioned Wal-Mart, it’s time for him to start in on Mark Penn.

* Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146. (The translation is rather free.)

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: