Take an Antacid and watch the clip (.wmv file).
Brad Wilmouth at Newsbusters has the full transcript and more:
Olbermann: “Who has enabled this? I mean, in a perverse way, is it almost necessary to say that Bill Clinton paved the way for George Bush to conduct a kind of fingers-in-his-ears, shout la-la-la-la-la presidency?”
Dowd: “No, they’re two entirely different things because when Bill Clinton would deceive, he would throw in a semantic clue that let you know he was deceiving. ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman.’ We knew what he meant by that. You know, ‘I did not,’ about dope, ‘I didn’t break the laws of this country.’ So it was sort of poignant and endearing. He would let you know he was lying, and then the right wing would come down so hard on him and overpunish him. And in the case of Bush, he’s just in a completely different reality. You know, they call us the ‘reality-based community,’ and they create their own reality, and so Bush is just in a bubble. And when you’re in the bubble, you don’t know you’re in the bubble.”
So, the “right wing would come down so hard on him and overpunish him,” eh, Maureen? Sort of like this:
The President was asked before the Starr grand jury about Robert Bennett’s assertion during the deposition for the Paula Jones case that “there is absolutely no sex of any kind” between the President and Monica Lewinsky.
Mr. Bennett was right, Mr. Clinton said, because he was using the present tense. “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is,” the President explained helpfully.
The same footnote offers three other Clintonian gems before the grand jury: “I have not had sex with her as I defined it.” “It depends on how you define alone.” And, “There were a lot of times when we were alone, but I never really thought we were.”
Mr. Clinton’s double-talk had a contagious effect on Betty Currie. “I don’t want the impression of sneaking,” the secretary said, about Monica, “but it’s just that I brought her in without anyone seeing her.” And, “The President, for all intents and purposes, is never alone.”
Mr. Clinton’s greatest sin is not sex or dissembling about sex, as the heavy-breathing Kenneth Starr believes. His greatest sin is swindling and perverting the American language. He is like the cursed girl in the fairy tale: Every time he opens his mouth, a toad jumps out.
His problems stem from his instinct, when he runs into trouble, to shroud rather than illuminate.
He tries to make words subjective, insisting they mean only what he wants them to. Just as he made the Democratic Party about himself, and the Democratic Conventions about himself, and the Presidency about himself, he tries to make the language about himself.
But he can’t. Laws are composed of words. The President is in charge of our laws. When he drains meaning from words, he jeopardizes his ability to govern. He has made Washington Orwellian. His corrupt language corrupts thought.
Oh, wait. That was Maureen Dowd’s September 16, 1998 NYTimes column–one of 10 columns about Clinton’s language-perverting lies that won her the Pulitzer Prize for her “fresh and insightful” commentary.
Hmmm. What does that make her commentary now?
Reader Michael V.:
What’s with [MSNBC’s] “Deciphering Dubya” footer on the Dowd clip you posted? What a thoroughly disrepectful slime job on the President! Would the MSM have posted a “Believing Bubba” footer on a talking head defense of Clinton?