Being Accused of “Parsing” By the Clinton Campaign

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 31, 2008 12:01pm

Wow, I hardly know how to take this.

This morning, trying to understand what former President Bill Clinton was driving at when he made a statement about effort to combat global warming, I posted a quote of his, put it in context, provided video links, and asked what he meant.

The Clinton campaign did not provide for me, as requested, an explanation of what he meant.

Instead, the response from the Clinton campaign is to post an item on its "fact" hub and accuse me of "parsing."

I will plead guilty to "parsing" — the dictionary definition of the word — "To examine closely or subject to detailed analysis, especially by breaking up into components" or "To make sense of; comprehend."

But I suspect the Clinton campaign thinks of the word "parsing" in its more colloquial sense — as in "It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is."

I guess I should defer to their expertise.

Apologies for taking a confusing public comment from a former president about a major world issue and trying to make sense of it.

- jpt

UPDATE: Bill Clinton finds a defender/explainer over at the National Review, where Iain Murray takes a look at what an effort to reduce greenhouse gases would do to the U.S. economy and concludes that "while Tapper isn’t entirely accurate in characterizing what Bill said, he’s pretty accurate in summarizing the effects of the policies he recommends. Bill Clinton’s economic stimulus plan is to slow down our economy."

This is the much more important issue here. Any serious effort to reduce greenhouses gases will have an impact on the economy and, initially, that impact could be negative.

There are ways to work towards having the impact in the long-term be neutral or perhaps even positive. But any serious effort will cost a lot of money and slow the economy, whether the world is in it together or the U.S. and industrialized nations go it alone. (I stand accused of saying that former President Clinton spoke honestly about that.)

That’s not to say it should not be done — it’s just to acknowledge that, as with all things ambitious, there will be a cost.

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