Kurtz is pretty balanced in this case, and it’s especially nice to see him let Ramesh and others get in some spicy licks on the other side. But I would argue this is not exactly par for the course. Kurtz (like Tom Rosenstiel, then at the LA Times) felt Clinton’s pain exquisitely in 1992, constantly complaining about how the press had been too tough on the Man from Hope. He’s not hopelessly clueless on conservatives (see Terry Smith on PBS), but he’s usually comfortable in the groupthink of the liberal media he reports on.
Some of what people on both sides say is just wrong to me.
Brooks is wrong that Clinton-hatred stopped support for some good things he did (welfare reform? NAFTA? balanced budgets?). Or is he thinking of Kosovo? On most occasions, when Clinton did something conservative leaders thought was good, they voted for it. It’s also bunk for Hertzberg to insist Bush hatred isn’t “personal” like Clinton’s. Hasn’t he seen all the vitriol about Bush’s walking, talking, and his resemblance to “smirking chimps”?
Kurtz’s best sentence is noticing that the press hasn’t discovered “Bush haters,” as reporters noticed “Clinton haters” starting in 1994. For a historical look at how the concept of “Clinton haters” erupted in the press (through mid-1998), see my study here.