let us now praise . . . bill clinton

“Mean . . . nasty . . . brutish and short.” That’s how the 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes described the “state of nature,” a literal and figurative place where every man and every nation are locked in a dog-eat-dog world of mortal combat. Fortunately for us, our forefathers created a nation in which rules, procedures, customs and habits have lifted this nation and its peoples above that human condition many are still mired in to this very day in far away shores. Yet, we are not altogether free from that Hobbesian world where some will do anything to ensure their own survival. Have we forgotten the lengths to which the Republican Party went in Florida 2000, among other things, sending in goon squads of young Republicans to intimidate and then steal the election? Have we forgotten about the games played by Karl Rove and company in 2004, playing on people’s fears like they did? Weren’t we always kicking ourselves every time we lost the Big One in 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000 and 2004, muttering something along the lines of, “Why aren’t we as tough and dastardly as those damn Republicans?” Bill Clinton reminds us about What It Takes to win in an environment in which the opposition will stop at nothing to achieve victory. Maybe Clinton was over the top in South Carolina last week, but the larger point we must never forget is that, after the dust of all the primaries have settled, we will need his kind of Nasty to win in November.

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