The Corner


Derb, I’ve pondered the question of why some people are immune to Clinton’s charm and some aren’t for a long time. Here’s an excerpt from how I tried to tackle it a while back:

To explain why hatred for Clinton blossomed overnight, there has to be something more than his Nixon-like governing style, because he was disliked by so many before he started to govern. And here again the Clinton apologists have it all wrong. They would have us believe that Clinton hatred manifested itself out of a deliberate effort to thwart Clinton’s progressive and forward-looking agenda. The theory goes: Bill Clinton was dedicated to make America safe for Swedish economics and Parisian culture, and we angry, hate-filled conservatives – most of whom look like the little bald dude from Monopoly — were determined to stop him at any cost. This, of course, is revisionism of the silliest sort.

Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992 as one of the most conservative Democrats in a generation. He wanted to “end welfare as we know it.” He campaigned on a huge tax cut (which he promptly abandoned upon election). He moved to the right of George Bush on foreign policy. He was pro-death penalty, taking time out from his campaign to execute a brain- damaged man. He didn’t even balance his ticket by tapping a liberal for his VP, picking instead another Southern moderate. He antagonized his base by shunning Jesse Jackson and “dissing” Sister Souljah. He was the first Democrat in years to win over major conservative ex-Democrats. Hell, William Safire endorsed him. And yet we conservatives were supposed to think this guy was a Fabian Anti-Christ?

…. I think it has to do with the man, pure and simple. Just as there is something about Bill Clinton that makes a certain breed of self-indulgent, usually female liberal baby-boomer swoon, there is something about Bill Clinton that drives other people nuts.

Perhaps it is his ability to over-dramatize any inconvenience in his life; to transform it into a heroic triumph. For example, Bill Clinton campaigned on his “troubled” childhood. In “The Man From Hope” campaign video, Bill Clinton is portrayed as an incredible success story, overcoming the hardship of an abusive alcoholic father — as if no president has had such a childhood. The reality of course is that compared to the childhood trials of Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, and even Gerald Ford, Clinton’s boyhood was unremarkable, though certainly not ideal.

It is what Bill Clinton learned from his childhood that is significant. President Clinton is a man who wallows in self-pity. There is nothing wrong with turning defeats into victories — all great politicians do that, and Clinton is no exception. But Clinton enjoys being the victim, he seems to savor it….


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