FOX News commentator Susan Estrich says her news channel may have gotten their highest ratings since the capture of Saddam Hussein, but Bill Clinton was the winner of the showdown with her fellow commentator, Chris Wallace.
The former president won by taking control of the national dialogue on the war on terrorism, such that he has everyone comparing President Bush’s pre-9/11 record on hunting down Osama with his own, and in the process undercutting the Bush administration’s claimed strength (the only one left) at fighting terror…
But the big winners, in the long run, may prove to be the Democrats, who were looking for a leader to get in front of the midterm parade and energize the base, rally the troops and provide the momentum for the final weeks of the campaign.
Like him or hate him (I like him), there’s no one on the scene quite like the former president. By one appearance on a news show that is otherwise rated behind its competitors, he changes the way the debate over the war on terror is conducted. One appearance, on Fox News, his first time on “Fox News Sunday.” And he has everyone talking. Coming on the eve of a national intelligence estimate finding that the war in Iraq is increasing the dangers of terrorism, and on the heels of the revolt in the Senate on the detainees bill, Clinton’s popping up at center stage has put this president (Bush) on the defensive on what has been the only issue where Republicans still hold an advantage over Democrats.
Is Clinton the October surprise?
Bill Clinton remained on offense against the Republican Party yesterday while giving a speech in Manchester, England, for the country’s Labour Party.
the former US President starkly warned the Labour Party not to tumble into opposition, as has happened to the American Democrats, because the electorate thought the good times would continue whichever party won.
In a bravura performance at Labour’s conference in Manchester, Mr Clinton hailed the stunning success of Tony Blair’s government but argued it should learn the hard lessons from America, when George W Bush won the 2001 election and has since destroyed the Democrats’ economic legacy.
He said: “I think your biggest problem right now is that people take your achievements and your ideas for the future for granted.” He explained voters either thought the achievements would have happened anyway or believed that, if the “faces in the driving seat” changed, the new crowd would not ditch things that worked.
Movement analyst Karen Bradley, who is often called on to assess politicians’ body language, says former President Bill Clinton showed up for his Fox News Sunday interview with his A game.
Pressing the “mute” button, Bradley watched a video clip and saw Clinton’s determination and Wallace’s attempts to calm or neutralize the situation, she said.
“We can tell how people feel mostly through their body language,” Bradley said.
In particular, we can tell how they feel when they do something different with the body language from what is familiar to us, she said. Usually, Clinton is all about warm friendlies with a hand on the back and a big smile.
This was unfamiliar, Bradley said. At least unfamiliar to the general public. And, Bradley said, Clinton used forceful movements:
• The finger wag: This is not a nagging scold but the gesture of a man signaling that he is more important than Wallace.
• The hand wave in front of his body: With this motion Clinton sets a clear boundary between himself and Wallace.
• The forward body position and hand movement toward Wallace’s sheet of paper: Clearly, that hand wave boundary is only for Wallace. Clinton crosses forcefully into Wallace’s space.
• The pullback into his chair: With this movement, Clinton is not signalling retreat but being dismissive.
In contrast, Wallace struggled to neutralize the situation, Bradley said. His movements include:
• Leaning back in his chair: Though Clinton makes a similar move, Wallace does not settle back with his full body into the chair, Bradley said. Instead, his weight is suspended as if he is uncomfortable.
• Hands moving back and forth: This is a sign of equivocating as if to say, “Wait, no, I meant this.”
“Chris Wallace is trying to neutralize what he is doing,” Bradley said.
“He is trying not to be upset or give in.”
“If you think of this as a dance, a dance of weaponry, if you will, I think former President Clinton definitely pierces Chris Wallace’s body armor.”
Keith Olberman says it:
… and says it again…