From a reader:
Mr. Goldberg and staff,
I have recently realized that I feel little if any Clinton hatred anymore. I guess I still think Bill is sleazy, but I have come to view Hillary in a neutral or even somewhat positive way. I am wondering if you feel the same way (I know you had more direct experiences with the Clintons in the 90′s). For the last several months, Hillary has been given the “Republican treatment” by the media. Obama is the new Bill Clinton, the one the media and the intelligentsia will defend and adore to all lenghts. Hillary is now evil, just as the first Bush and Bob Dole were evil. Maybe I delighted in this turn of events for a while, but now I guess I feel like Hillary has been through a purgatory of sorts. Wondering if you feel the same way.
Me: “And staff?”
Anyway, I know what the reader is getting at, but I’m not really there. For the record, I never had much hatred for Hillary Clinton. I never liked her much, and still don’t. But my biggest gripe with her was with the completely unwarranted celebration of her as an impressive person. It seemed to me in the 1990s she was the subject of enormous projection. It was simply asserted that she was charismatic, charming, exciting etc. And I never saw it. Not even a little. I still don’t. I find her to be completely charmless. At times, that feeling of “What am I missing” could grow into full-blown anger or even hatred, particularly when she was getting away with so many lies and benefiting from so many other mendacities. But, generally, such feelings were short-lived.
(Though, since we’re on the topic…Even today, we constantly hear it implied that she’s a principled politician. I see no evidence for it. She’s a stubborn politician who mistakes her pride for principle. But her principles, at least since she became a Senator, all seem to derive from her now ill-conceived strategy to become president. She hates to admit she’s wrong, so she sticks to her tactical positions as if it were a manner of noble idealism. I think that’s nonsense. I think she’s very attracted to and comfortable with power and she wants it. She thinks she’s owed it. It’s a tendency to distrust and dislike. But her personality — or lack thereof — is such that I can’t bring myself to hate it).
As for Bill, I really did hate the guy at times. Though hate was never really the best word for it. I always thought my feelings of dislike for the man were entirely rational and well-supported by the data, even if their foundations were sometimes difficult to express. The intensity of my feelings for Bill have definitely dissipated. These days, I sometimes think he’s outright amusing. But that’s largely because he lacks any formal power. I think if the Bill and Hillary show returned to the White House, my Clinton animosity would prove to be a richly renewable resource.