Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 24, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

HATING CLINTON....Max Boot writes today that Bill Clinton "still doesn't have a clue why he became every right-winger's favorite piata." Then this:

The mystery of Clinton is that he was an essentially conservative president perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the White House since Grover Cleveland and yet he was loathed by conservatives. So much so that he was accused of all sorts of awful things he didn't actually do, from murdering Vince Foster to being in cahoots with the Chinese. I don't blame Clinton for getting a tad upset about the nutty accusations tossed his way and for not being able to figure out what a good ole boy with a saxophone and a smile had ever done to justify such venom.

I'm not sure I can explain it either....

He can't? That's sort of disappointing for a guy who spent so much time on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, isn't it?

In the end, skipping past the idea that sheer partisan venom had anything to do with it, he decides that the answer is that Democrats prefer cleverness and Republicans prefer character. Maybe so, if by that he means that Democrats prefer people who actually care about policy and making things better while Republicans are obssessed with military service and drug use.

Except that, um, George Bush doesn't really score much better than Clinton on that score, does he? And considerably worse than Al Gore. Back to the drawing board.

Still, I suppose I agree with Boot that the culture wars are fundamentally to blame. Here's what I wrote last year:

For all the trees that have been felled examining the phenomenon of Clinton-hatred, the underlying cause seems pretty simple: Bill Clinton was a philandering, pot smoking, draft-dodging, slick talking, crypto-socialist child of the sexual revolution who was married to a ball-busting, man-hating feminist. If this is how you viewed him and a lot of people did what's not to hate?

That's the best I can do, and I've been pondering this question for a while, as the March 5 entry from my original 1997 blog shows....

Kevin Drum 11:53 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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