"Prisoner Of Promises"—Donald Trump Can't Afford To Break Promises Like Bill Clinton Did, Because The Internet Is Forever
September 14, 2017, 01:09 PM
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Back in the Dark Ages of the 1980s, before everybody in the world had computers, it was fun for journalists to take some newsroom colleague's statement that "as I always say", print it out on physical paper next to a retrieved column from the same writer's archive saying the complete opposite, and post it on a physical bulletin board in newsroom itself—where everybody could see it, because you had to go in to the physical office to work. Of course, only their newsroom colleagues would know. Now everybody knows.

Here's something Charles Krauthammer wrote about Bill Clinton during Clinton's first term:

Prisoner Of Promises

By Charles Krauthammer, July 30, 1993

Some presidents are elected because of who they are, others for what they stand for, still others because of what they promise. Eisenhower was a "who they are" president. Reagan stood for something. He was no war hero, no historic figure, but he carried a set of beliefs that the country was ready to try.

Clinton was the promiser. He was elected not because of his character, nor because of his core beliefs, there being some question as to whether he had any. Clinton was elected because, as he kept insisting in the presidential debates, he had a plan for the country and the other guy didn't. After Bush, the country was ready for a man with a plan.

In the search to explain the rapid decline and perilous state of the Clinton presidency, many theories have been advanced. My theory is that Clinton is a prisoner of his promises, a hostage to his own presidential campaign, a man elected on pledges he is now fatally incapable of redeeming.


The most cynical defense on the broken promise issue comes from George Stephanopoulos: "We have become hostage to Lexis-Nexis," he protests, meaning that Clinton's problem is not that he made promises, not that he broke them, but that the press can now find them. And: "The problem is an excess of literalism." The people, you see, foolishly took candidate Clinton literally when he made promises. How should they have taken him? Ironically? Contemptuously? Incredulously?

[More, Emphases added]

I remembered that extraordinarily lame excuse by Stephanopoulos, "hostage to Lexis-Nexis", which is why can locate that 1993 column for free, sitting in my own living room.

My point here is that in the Current Year, everyone, not just the press, can see records of Donald Trump's promises—this one was retweeted by Ann Coulter just now, but it could just as easily be found by a regular voter:

It's possible that a fence might be better than a wall—a fence is what the Israelis built, mostly—but that's not the point, the point is that he's promised to build something, and no one is going to forget it.

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