President Clinton made news on Anderson Cooper (CNN video here) last night defending Democrats who would not condemn by attacking "Republicans" as "disingenuous" for their "feigned outrage" regarding the General Betray Us ad.

President Clinton, evidently, thinks it inconceivable that politicians could actually get mad about scurrilous accusations of treason meant to dishonor a no-nonsense, straight-shooting military commander.

When we cry the blues about the "politics of personal destruction," we don't really mean it, right? This is how the game is played.

Even as he criticized the opposition for "feigning outrage," he worked himself up into an angry performance. President Clinton's talent for getting red in the face is impressive--but I think he has started to go there too often. He reminds me of Pacino. How many more times can I watch another variation of: "I should take a flame thrower to this plaaaaaace!"

President Clinton stoked his righteous indignation by retelling the increasingly mythological tale of Max Cleland, who "lost half his body in Vietnam," the President asserted, only to be compared to Saddam and Osama by dastardly Republicans. Ironically, that overly simple and distorted Democratic narrative can only be described as disingenuous. The ad was crude—but accurate.

FYI: see the ad here via YouTube.

The bottom line: if Max Cleland wanted special status accorded to him for his sacrifice and service, he should have avoided politics. Unfortunately, and Bill Clinton has as much to answer for in this regard as any other American politician, American political life is a street brawl.

As for President Clinton, known and praised the world over for his incisive ability to explain events in a nuanced way, regrettably, he chose to broadly assail congressional Republicans and the President as liars and scoundrels. Not very subtle or conciliatory.

A disappointing performance from the President--but not especially out of character. We are likely to have plenty of opportunities to watch him reprise this role over the course of the next nine years.