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Sometimes Politics IS Having to Say You’re Sorry


This week former President Bill Clinton took an unusual step.  He admitted he should not have listened to Robert Rubin and Larry Summers on the subject of deregulating derivatives.  In an interview with Jake Tapper, Bill Clinton said:

“On derivatives, yeah I think they were wrong and I think I was wrong to take [their advice] because the argument on derivatives was that these things are expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of investors will buy them and they don’t need any extra protection, and any extra transparency. The money they’re putting up guarantees them transparency,” Clinton told me.

“And the flaw in that argument,” Clinton added, “was that first of all sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.”

 The statement was poorly timed (way too late), though refreshing.  This is especially so given the Bushies’ incessant and ridiculous rants about how they (and no one else) are correct about–well, everything.  The extent of their embrace of deregulation and hands-off oversight was without precedent.

Meanwhile, rather than apologize, Dick Cheney adamantly and angrily Rumpelstiltskin-ed his presumed “correctness.” I have to wonder when he will give up the preposterous stance that everything he did was right and everything Obama does deserves his overarching contempt.  The Bush administration was correct less than most administrations, whatever the party. We are still paying for their wrongs of both omission and commission.  I have repeated the litany many a time, so I won’t do so here (but lying us into Iraq and neglecting Katrina victims are not the half of it, as we all know).  Indeed, presidents have been impeached for far less than what they did.  But Cheney keeps it up.  Imagine a world in which George W. Bush and Dick Cheney apologized to the nation for what they did!  Instead, Ole Mr. Buckshot continues to hype his false claims that Obama is either nationalizing the banks or giving another bailout, both of which are so false you wonder how they cam make the claims with a straight face.  

My point is this:  In the ability to self-reflect and self-appraise, Dems outshine GOPhers every time. Spin is a part of politics, but lying should not be.  Nor should be constant obstruction. But the GOP leadership, and too many of its members in Congress and along K Street, continue to lie without shame, to feed at the public trough without  guilt, and to know nothing and do nothing without embarrassment. It’s time for more GOP folk to apologize for leading us astray.  What’s the chance of that happening?

Not only has John McCain nothing to say about all of his many mistakes, he has doubled-own on them, even upping the ante.  Today, Crooks and Liars blog captured his omnipresent pathetic lie-fest best when it used the Dan Hicks song line: How Can I miss you when you won’t go away here.

Meanwhile, such courageous folks as Andrew Sullivan, David Frum and Kathleen Parker have been the point guards on sorely needed Republican rhetoric reform away from the lowest common denominator.  They haven’t exactly apologized for their party.  But, frankly, they shouldn’t have to.  They, at least, have tried to get the party honchos to dial back the extreme rhetoric and fibs.  For example, we all know about David Frum’s recent foray into GOP banishment.  Last fall Parker she wrote this column identifying some of the wayward ways of the current Republican leadership in Congress, including, as she writes “pandering to America’s inner simpleton.”  

This week, Kathleen Parker, tried to dial back the GOP and its unofficially sanctioned (but wink-winked supported) “Tea Parties” from their repugnant flirtation with violent rhetoric. (More on this subject later this week).  Trouble is GOP leaders and talking heads have been part of the problem.  This (honesty  on Parker’s part) has earned the recent recipient of the Pulitzer the bitter condemnation of many a GOPher.  Where is their shame?  Sullivan, Frum Parker, however we disagree with them on many issues, have shown some real courage.  And it’s about time more in the GOP did.


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