I must admit, the article appearing in the Oct. 19 opinion page titled "Clinton's Politicking Is Sincere," by Tom Cotton, was quite a refreshing change from the recent attacks on Clinton's character, for never have I heard anyone try to defend the president as "sincere." And for good reason. Just to check that I had understood this seemingly incoherent thought, I consulted my Webster's dictionary only to affirm my initial confusion. Sincere--"utterly honest and genuine." If Bill Clinton is "utterly honest and genuine," then his "politicking" truly has brainwashed America.
Clinton will lie to get elected. He lied in the 1992 campaign when he promised that he would lower middle class taxes. How sincere was Clinton then? Clinton's promises did not get in his way when, in 1993, Clinton gave us the largest retroactive tax hike in history.
Let's not forget the promises Clinton made to homosexual activist groups when he promised to allow gays to freely and openly serve in the military. After election, in typical Clintonesque indecisiveness, he pronounced his "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Clinton didn't come to a compromise where everybody got a little of what they wanted; rather, all Clinton's policy aimed to do was make sure that more mainstream America did not object to harshly while simultaneously telling liberals that he had attacked the problem. In reality, he broke his promise to homosexuals and did nothing to solve the conflict.
Clinton also successfully changes the topic when he gets cornered. Drug use skyrocketed over Clinton's four years. And no wonder, with a man who tells an MTV audience that he tried and wanted to inhale marijuana, but couldn't because he had asthma, and then goes to a debate four years later claiming, "I hate drugs," kids are left thinking that as long as we say we don't like drugs it's okay if we smoke pot a little around the edges.
Al Gore '69, at the Democratic National Convention, waged the war against tobacco, using his sister's death from lung cancer to illustrate the point. But Gore didn't tell you that he accepted money from tobacco companies for two years after his sister's death while delivering speeches in his home state espousing tobacco as the economic pride of Tennessee. Gore later explained that it took him two years to fully appreciate the impact of his sister's death and realize he must oppose tobacco.
Clinton, like Gore, loves to give different groups different messages. Look at his new welfare bill. To citizens who wanted to streamline the bureaucracy, Clinton goes so far as to say he has "overhauled the welfare system." To Jesse Jackson and liberal democrats (to make sure he doesn't distance any voters), Clinton promises to revisit the bill after he gets elected to reattach many of the benefits he just cut.
If Cotton wants to make people believe "Clinton's politicking is sincere," he has a lot of work; 53 percent of Americans think that at least one of the Clintons has broken the law (Boston Globe, page A23, Oct. 1). Cotton excuses Clinton's lack of direction by explaining, "A truly complex man, it would take years to fully understand him [Clinton]." The problem with understanding Clinton is that there isn't anything to understand--Clinton possesses no ideology, direction, or firm beliefs on any issues. Like a wet snake, if you tighten your grip on Slick Willie at any one point, he just pops out the other end. --Noble M. Hansen III '00
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