Friday, October 08, 2010

Well, I never thought I'd see this: Some in G.O.P. Find Soft Spot for Bill Clinton. I don't know. As a consistent Clinton supporter during his Administrations, I can still remember quite easily the Republican vitriol manifested by such memories as the Lewinsky/impeachment charade, Whitewater, Paula What's-her-name, and the "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush" bumper stickers. Now, if this article suggests a Republican desire for governance from the middle, well, that would be news.

The spate of Obama Administration reform initiatives made political sense to the Administration; it is accepted wisdom that, if you don't get your legislative agenda done within the first year or so of an administration, then it won't get done at all, because of mid-term elections and then the the presidential re-election campaign. But I am reminded of Hal Holbrook's line from All the President's Men: "You build from the outer edges and you go step by step. If you shoot too high and miss, then everybody feels more secure."

In other words, while politically difficult, if not impossible, gradual reform is better than sudden and profound change. So, while legislation such as health care reform may be societally or philosophically laudable, such intitiatives may well be politically damaging or downright suicidal. While I take no real position on such legislation, there used to be a word for doing the right thing at the risk of one's personal interests: statesmanship.

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