Dionne laments the fact that Bill Clinton is chastising Barack Obama for mentioning Ronald Reagan, when Obama noted that Reagan was a president who put the country on a different path than the one we had been on. The whole Obama clip that I have seen doesn't say that the path was right or wrong, simply different. Dionne is sad because he is finally seeing the Clinton Machine for what it is, desperate to win and stay in power and willing to do or say anything to achieve that end--even if it is hypocritical.
I have been thinking about that episode ever since Hillary Clinton's campaign started unloading on Barack Obama for making statements about Reagan that were, if anything, more measured than Bill Clinton's 1991 comments. Obama simply acknowledged Reagan's long-term impact on politics and the fact that conservatives once constituted the camp producing new ideas, flawed though they were.But politics is about winning and I have absolutely no qualms about candidates playing hard to win, but the worst thing to be in politics is a hypocrit--it is far worse than flip-flopping.
Obama's not particularly original insight was a central premise of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. Clinton argued over and over that Democrats could not win without new ideas of their own. To reread Clinton's "New Covenant" speeches from back then is to be reminded of how electrifying it was to hear a politician who was willing to break new ground.
That's why the Clintons' assault on Obama is so depressing. In many ways, Obama is running the 2008 version of the 1992 Clinton campaign. You have the feeling that if Bill Clinton did not have another candidate in this contest, he'd be advising Obama and cheering him on.
Dionne has finally learned his lesson and I think a lot of Democrats are too.