The Reagans II: This Time It's Clinton

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It's usually too easy to compare one party's adherents to another and yelp "they're both the same!" But this is too easy. Three years ago Republicans complained that the miniseries "The Reagans," produced by CBS and starring James Brolin as The Man Who Loved Jelly Beans Too Much, was unfit for television; it portrayed the Gipper as less than brilliant and possessing several human flaws. (It gave us Nancy as a shrill bitch, too, but that's what you get for supporting stem cells.)

History repeats; Democrats are now hounding ABC/Disney for the upcoming telefim "The Path to 9/11," which lays some of the blame for America's faulty-pre attack intelligence on the pre-Bush Democrats, and fails to portray Bill Clinton running down terrorists and tackling them one-handed. ThinkProgress has video of a Clinton/Bush II point man slamming the movie, a "fact-check," a statement from Richard "I Failed You" Clarke, and more. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is demanding ABC review the "politicized" film before blasting it across our plasma flat-screens.

It's all pretty silly, but it's interesting which groups CBS ran to when they were catching heat, and which ones ABC is running to now. CBS didn't fight hard; after they pulled the movie, they gave Salon.com the script. ABC pre-emptively handed right-wing war supporters promotional material and copies of "The Path to 9/11," and Republican-leaning blogs are loudly defending this product of the hated MSM for gratis. Hugh Hewitt had a screener; the loons at David Horowitz's New Black Panther Press FrontpageMag got an interview with the film's writer/producer.

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  1. You know, totally unrelated, David Horowitz is actually a pretty nice guy. I got to interview him once when he came to UOregon, it’s really too bad he’s batshit loco insane.

  2. Amazing that wacko moonbat Louise Slaughter (D-Kookland) has found something new to whine about. Ever since she lost her pasttime of waiting for Karl Rove to do the perp walk for revealing Valerie Plame’s identity I’ve been scared she’d have nothing to do but actual legislating.

    I just notice the website she was once so proud of founding, RovesPinkSlip.com is no longer active.

  3. Oh, and by the way, the Republican hue and cry over the Reagan thing was more ridiculous than this. Bio-pics are supposed to be warts-and-all, whereas this movie may or may not be politicized (because I doubt I’ll watch it, just like I skipped the Reagan movie, I’ll probably never know).

  4. David,

    Not really the same thing. I’m not usually on the side of defending democrats (or republicans, for that matter), but from what I’ve heard, “The Path to 9/11” focuses on Clin-Ton’s failings wrt the war on terra, but conveniently ignores the prevailing attitudes of republicans at the time that Clin-Ton’s anti-terrorist efforts were A) Misguided, B) mere attempts to deflect attention from his own scandals, and C) nothing more than attacks on our liberties in the name of “safety”. Today, the opposite is true in both respects, but bypassing this hypocrisy isn’t exactly the same thing as showing raygun as less than god-like.

  5. Clinton certainly made mistakes, but who here is too young to recall the Republican bullshit accusation that firing cruise missiles at Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 was a “Wag The Dog” attempt to shift focus from Monica Lewinsky?

  6. This isn’t even on the same planet as the Reagans.

    Last I checked, CBS didn’t promote their mini-series to teachers and educators as some type of learning tool, ABC on the other hand is.

    Democrats are now hounding ABC/Disney for the upcoming telefim “The Path to 9/11,” which lays some of the blame for America’s faulty-pre attack intelligence on the pre-Bush Democrats, and fails to portray Bill Clinton running down terrorists and tackling them one-handed.

    Uhmmm….nice mischaracterization. This movie lays most of the blame on Clinton and his Cabinet and portrays them as deer in headlights pussies who were afraid to take the shot. They invent scenes out of whole cloth and then market the movie as “based on the the 9/11 report” and as a “reasonably accurate portrayal of the events leading to 9/11”.

    If they wanted an accurate film that would be good teaching material why not just make a documentary then? Why make it a work of fiction. Or why not call it a work of fiction inspired on actual events?? Because that wouldnt confuse people and make them even more disinformed.

    Funny how only Tom Keane was asked to cosult on the film, and it was released only to right-wing media for preview…..Clinton, Albright, Berger, and almost all left wing media were denied a pre-screen. I wonder why??

    Yet somehow we are to believe that this film doesn’t have an agenda. Uh-huh. Oh and they are running it commercial free — (this way people can’t petition the advertisers to put pull it like many right-wingers did)

  7. who here is too young to recall the Republican bullshit accusation that firing cruise missiles at Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 was a “Wag The Dog” attempt to shift focus from Monica Lewinsky

    I remember that. The timing was purely coincidental, I’m sure.

    I also remember that Bill Clinton, true to his symbolism over substance approach to governing, was willing to blow up a few tents (symbolism) but repeatedly refused to take bin Laden into custody when presented the opportunity (substance).

  8. I also remember that Bill Clinton, true to his symbolism over substance approach to governing, was willing to blow up a few tents (symbolism) but repeatedly refused to take bin Laden into custody when presented the opportunity (substance).

    Because GW Bush is so much more substance over symbolism. The Connecticut Cowboy walks the walk instead of talking the talk, eh? Jeez RC, this is the best you had. Bushy-boy had Bin Laden at Tora Bora and didn’t do shit….in fact, last I head GW doesn’t care and isn’t interested in catchin Bin Laden. Now there’s some substance for you. Just in case you missed it the first time…

    The boogey-man who plotted and oversaw one of the biggest attacks on US soil is still roaming free and our President doesn’t care and isn’t much concerned about it. Oh yeah and Pakistan, Bush’s great friend ally in the terra-war decided against apprehending Bin Laden:

    If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden “would not be taken into custody,” Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, “as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen.” – ABC News, Sept. 5, 2006.

    I’ll take Clinton’s “symbolism” over Bush’s “substance” any day. So would anyone with half a brain.

  9. Clinton certainly made mistakes, but who here is too young to recall the Republican bullshit accusation that firing cruise missiles at Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 was a “Wag The Dog” attempt to shift focus from Monica Lewinsky?

    That accusation came from the left of Clinton not the right.

  10. R C Dean, I’ll have to ask you, when did Clinton actually turn down opportunities to take Bin Laden into custody? If you’re talking about the Sudan ‘offer’ then I’ll point out that the 9/11 commission came to the conclusion that: “Sudan’s minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered to hand Bin Ladin over to the United States. The Commission has found no credible evidence that this was so.”

  11. RC Dean writes: “I also remember that Bill Clinton, true to his symbolism over substance approach to governing, was willing to blow up a few tents (symbolism) but repeatedly refused to take bin Laden into custody when presented the opportunity (substance).”

    If the bad guy is living in tents, you blow up the goddamn tents.

    Is there a flaw in this logic?

    Other targets may make more impressive explosions, but they have the significant flaw of lacking the presence of the bad guy you’re trying to kill.

    Are you the guy who plans all those SWAT raids on the wrong houses?

  12. Interesting that so many folks here obviously feel an emotional need to defend one group of statist politicians or the other. My question is, why defend either?

    One can play 20/20 hindsight all day long. I can say with some certainty that 9/11 would never happened if the 6th Century Byzantine and Persian Empires had had the foresight to stop their bloody and pointless border war, which so weakened the Persians that they could not fight off the relatively weak Arab armies. So, really, Khosru II and Yazdegird III are as much to blame for 9/11 as either Clinton or Bush.

  13. Joshua Corning, I’m sure its the server squirrels that are stopping so many people from rushing to your defense. I’m also sure you have excellent sources for your comment, you’re just a bit bashful about sharing them. BTW: did you know that “Corning” comes from the word meaning “small horn” in Welsh? How apropo.

  14. BTW: did you know that “Corning” comes from the word meaning “small horn” in Welsh? How apropo.

    🙂 LOL. Are you seriously making fun of my sir name??? Jesus, that brings me back to second grade. Hey why don’t you just call me “cornball” and get it over with.

    hey you got a source or are you seriously thinking that the anti-war left did not use this argument against Clinton?

  15. That accusation came from the left of Clinton not the right.

    I remember hearing that from the mouths of many Republicans — unless they somehow qualify as the anti-war left, in your worldview.

    That isn’t to say that anti-war lefty types didn’t also engage in this type of attack….but your post seems to imply that the right wanted no part of it, which is false.

    Sorry that I can not provide you a link, but I do rememeber seeing many righty talking heads on cable talk criticizing Clinton in this way.

  16. Since we’re grownups, I thought poking fun should also be educational!! Seriously, your post to Worker’s World is telling. The article, which you claim represents the left, accuses the NY Times of being too hawkish. Doesn’t that cause a red flag to go up? The article says Bob Dole, Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Frank Carlucci, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Richard Perle, as well as Morton Halperin, William Kristol and others supported military action. On which planet was the “left” calling Clinton out on Wag the Dog? In fact, you problaby know that the “left” was irrationally defending Clinton as some sort of gentleman for some bizarre reason. Don’t you remember? Jeeez… All I ask is that you cut down on the asinine comments, just a little.

  17. Are there any scenes where Bin Laden walks free as Clinton is pleasured by Monica? That would be totally out of line, especially if the actress who plays Monica isn’t hot.

  18. You know, shortly before the CBS movie The Reagans was scheduled to come out, I used to slum the right-wing sites quite a bit (freerepublic.com in particular). And you know what the rightsters’ one, biggest single complaint about the show was? That it portrayed Reagan as a gay-hater.

    There was a scene where someone talks to Reagan about gays and AIDS, which causes Ronnie to suddenly turn into Moses and intone some pseudo-Biblical line: “They who live in sin shall die in sin” before literally turning his back on the subject.

    There is no evidence that Reagan actually said anything like this, ever. Reagan’s supporters instead contended that Hollywood Ronnie was actually a pretty easygoing guy who had no personal antipathy toward homosexuals. The line was defended, however, by lefty mind-reading mental projectionists who claimed that it represented “what Reagan really thought,” no matter what his actual observable behavior might indicate; and besides, he didn’t spend enough taxpayer money on AIDS research.

    To me, that would be equivalent to someone doing about movie about Clinton where someone asks the president, “So did you do that Monica babe or not?” and the script has the evil Rapist from Hope replying, “Yeah, she went down on me. But hey, what else are women good for? Ha ha.”

    Yeah, I can see how some people would be quite offended. It’s not a small thing; it strikes at the heart of the person being portrayed.

    It’s like a biopic of Abraham Lincoln that portrays him as a guy who liked to secretly go downstairs and whip the black people that he kept chained up in the White House basement.

    I think that kind of character assassination is worse than simply critiquing the prez’s policy decisions.

    However, from what I can read, the Clinton movie also includes outright fabrications, such as when CIA agents on the verge of capturing bin Laden and call Clinton for permission (what the hell?), and Clinton declined to give permission because he was afraid it would offend some Arab allies. None of which happened.

    Those two unflattering-portrayals-of-an-event-that-never-actually-happened-in-order-to-make-the-(non)perpetrator-look-like-an-asshole do put the two movies on approximately equal footing, in my book, so far.

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