September 19, 2005

The importance of tradition...

I suspect, if you were to speak to Democrats about the importance of tradition in American politics, they would stare at you blankly. But traditions are vital. They often arose for good reasons, and can still do their good work even though we may no longer be aware of the reasons. And because our politics tends to be variations on the same few themes, a feel for traditions and what has happened in the past can often guide us.

One of the traditions is that former Presidents do not criticize the President. I suspect that the tradition arose in times similar to this, when one party has moved into the minority after generations of thoughtlessly enjoyed majority status, and is feeling bewildered and as if the world has gone horribly wrong. At such a time people of the minority party are tempted to embrace flaky conspiracy theories, and imagine that the Brownshirts have taken over. It is the duty of any former presidents of the new minority party to resist such temptations, and set an example of self-control.

A lot of people are blogging about the Clinton interview this weekend. PowerLine is very good. I won't try to top them, but just re-post this interview with Barbara Bush...

HANNITY: [Radio host Sean Hannity] I've watched your husband from a distance and I'm sure during those eight years while the Clintons were in office that there were times he was very tempted to come out and say something. But he pretty much remained quiet.

MRS. BUSH: And he should have.

HANNITY; Well, and even your son. The worst that he ever said about the Clintons was "We're going to restore honor and dignity to the White House." But yet Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton are out there almost daily as monitors of almost every single decision that your son is making.

MRS. BUSH: Well.

HANNITY: What do you make of that?

MRS. BUSH: I can't say. We took a vow that we would not speak badly. But that's just - that's just too bad. And it's, well ...

They took a vow that they would not speak badly. That's classy. And traditional.

Posted by John Weidner at September 19, 2005 7:08 AM
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