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 September, 2006


 Bill Clinton erupts on Fox News' Chris Wallace

When the Boss Walks Into the Room

By Al Owens
To me, there are few things that provide clear truth. One of those things is that the boss is never a good person until they happen to walk into the room! During all other times, for many of their employees, they’re not much more than a distraction. Sometimes they even distract from the growing intra-office mini-coups being plotted against them.

The same can be said about our former presidents. For the better part of five years there's been this steady political murmur about Bill Clinton’s ineffective efforts to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. But on Sunday morning, the boss walked into the room! He not only walked into it, he dominated it. Fox News host Chris Wallace (Fox News Sunday) felt the fury of a man who’d heard enough about his lack of concern about terrorism and the world’s chief terrorist during his two terms as president. And it was some of the best television I’ve seen in a long time.

The stage was set when Wallace asked the former president one question. “Why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them (al Qaeda) out of business?” The exchange that followed was priceless. Clinton placed Wallace into a verbal head lock and for a time he refused to let go. He freely admitted he’d failed to track down Bin Laden after he’d declared war on the United States. And then he said a lot more. He went into a finger wagging tirade that seemed to unnerve Wallace. Especially since Clinton accused conservatives, neo-conservatives and Wallace’s own Fox News employers of advancing the notion that he’d been too consumed with the Monica Lewinsky affair to face down the growing threat of terrorism.

Clinton went even further. He claimed that after he’d sent members of our military to Haiti and to Somalia, he’d been scolded by the same conservatives and neo-conservatives for being too adventurous. That the same people who frequently blame him for being ineffective, were the ones who blamed him for being overzealous at the time.

But one only needs to read old transcripts of the Bush/Gore debates of 2000 to find some validity in the former-president’s assertions. George W. Bush had repeatedly made claims that a Bush Administration wouldn’t engage in the same nation building exercises as the Clinton Administration had.

“If we don't have a clear vision of the military, if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I'm going to prevent that,” Bush proclaimed using the best conservative talking points available at the time. A theme he struck repeatedly when debating Al Gore during that 2000 campaign.

He had no idea at the time that the same nation building he and his political operatives seemed so free to show their disdain for, would become the hallmark of their own administration. It is no wonder Bill Clinton felt so free to announce to the American public on Sunday that he’d walked into the room. That he was as mad as hell and he wasn’t going to take it anymore. And he stopped short of making an even stronger point.

George W. Bush tries desperately to make the American public understand that building new schools in Iraq is just what this country needs to fight terror. Yet, when he waged his political campaign in 2000, he didn’t feel quite the same way. “Our military is meant to fight and win war. That's what it's meant to do. And when it gets overextended, morale drops.”

To some degree, I understood George Bush the presidential candidate’s antipathy regarding nation building. I just had no idea he was talking about this nation!