Clinton on Cognition

David Remnick’s account of Clinton’s trip to Africa is a good read, with some interesting truth-related points along the way.

“The Republicans are brilliant at creating bogus issues, cartoon cutouts,” he said, “and the press, even if it doesn’t agree with them, brings it along…This deal with Iraq makes me want to throw up,” he said. “I’m sick and tired of being told that if you voted for authorization you voted for the war. It was a mistake, and I would have made it, too. And Congress made it once before, at the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.” The blame was with the White House: “The Administration did not shoot straight on the nuclear issue or on Saddam’s supposed ties to Al Qaeda prior to 9/11.”

Garbage in garbage out. If people are given bad information they may vote to authorize a war when they wouldn’t have so voted if they’d had better information. Fiddling with intelligence reports does make a difference.

Clinton said that he had read Ron Suskind’s article in the Times Magazine in which an unnamed Bush aide says, mockingly, that journalists and Democrats languish in a “reality-based community” while the White House, as the vanguard of an American empire, creates its own realities. “That’s an amazing paradigm,” Clinton said. “We ought to run on that.”

Yes. They won’t though. Too busy being folksier than thou. Picking on the anti-reality crowd might not play well with The Folk; better not.

Remnick ‘asked Clinton if he thought intellect was an essential part of being President…’

“I keep reading that Bush is incurious, but when he talks to me he asks a lot of questions,” Clinton went on. “So I can’t give him a bad grade on curiosity…I’ve never been worried about his intellect so much as his ideological bent…But the thing that bothers me about having an ideology as opposed to a philosophy is that, if you have an ideology, then the outcome is dictated before the facts are in, before the arguments are heard. And that, I think, can cause problems.”


Like weird double standards for instance.

Rahm Emanuel told me that this was too harsh an interpretation, that the attack on the Clintons in the nineties was so severe and baseless, in his view, that a moment of anger over dinner was nothing. He mentioned a recent report in the Chicago Tribune which revealed that the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, began his career in Congress with a net worth of three hundred thousand dollars and now has assets of six million, owing largely to an almost fantastical increase in the value of land near a highway project that he helped push through Congress. “The Speaker came in with three hundred thousand dollars and now has six million in real estate and no one asks a question? Your question is ‘Why is Clinton so angry?’ My question is ‘Why are you so stupid?’”

Fair point, it seems to me.

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