In a post to his Change of Subject blog, Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn practically pressed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to go further than just stopping short of calling former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) liars:
Here's how Zorn opened his January 22 salvo:
Why stop short? The Clintons are lying about Obama's remarks on Reagan
(Barack) Obama stopped just short of calling (Hillary) Clinton and her husband liars... from the Swamp's live blog of last night's Democratic debate.
Hmm. I see no reason to stop short. Bill and Hillary Clinton have lied brazenly about Obama's recent statement about Ronald Reagan.
Zorn then turned to comments from both Clintons and an extended transcript of Obama's remarks to give readers a full and fair context for those remarks. Zorn got to the heart of the matter by concluding that the Clintons are hoping to tap residual left-wing hatred of Reagan even though they should and likely do know that the Gipper's political prowess offers lessons for Democrats, even if they lay asunder his policy goals (emphasis mine):
Read it all again if you want, you won't find "better" or "good" in there, or synonyms or implications along those lines.
When the Clintons used "better" and "good" in alluding the Obama's remarks, they weren't paraphrasing, they weren't misremembering, they weren't distorting. They were simply lying.
Obama's observations -- self-serving as they certainly were -- focused on the ability of a leader with overarching vision and good communication skills to lead and inspire the country; the importance of "ideas" as opposed to 10-point programs for presidents who want to bring about real change.
Reagan frustrates and angers many on the left to this day because all these years later we still can't believe that an amiable, genial movie actor was able to sell his version of reality to a majority of the American public. The Clintons seem to be hoping they can tap into that lingering anger and frustration by lying about Obama's views on Reagan.
Can they not help themselves? Do they not know that not to understand Reagan, not to learn from him and not to emulate him in some ways is a path to political defeat?