What Happend to Bill Clinton?
I gotta say that I really ID with this post over at TNR. Richard Stern is basically trying to work through the 180 he's experiencing watching the former President turn hachetman. Stern explains how much of a fan he'd been of Clinton for years, and then talks about a shift. The Essence:
Now in the winter of 2008, Clinton’s speeches for his wife and against Barack Obama have infuriated me. They have the simplistic, insinuatingly suggestive stupidity he used to counter. They are devious in the way his accusers accused him of being. They are mean-spirited in an “I-don’t-give-a-damn-about-anything-else” mode, “anything else” standing for the Democratic Party and whoever becomes its candidate. He black-baits as if an older, meaner Arkansas voice was let loose in him; he distorts Obama’s remarks about Republicans and Reagan as if he were the liar the impeachment-mad Republicans claimed he was.
You know when the whole impeachment drama was going on, a lot of libs and lefties like me could be caught saying "WTF it's just sex??" That's not a comment on the immense sympathy I felt for Hillary, but more on the impeachment. But I think there is something to be said for the fact--and I know some said this at the time--that this dude was basically willing to put the whole progressive agenda in jeopardy so that he could get blown. My point is this "I don't give a damn about anything else" Bill isn't really new at all. The real question is why did we miss it before?
There were conservatives who held a special hatred for Clinton which, they claimed, went beyond politics. I know I was quick to dismiss most of that talk and think that they would hate any liberal president. I still don't know enough about that era to judge. But I think party-loyalty, coupled with Clinton's amazing political gifts made it really hard in that time to come down on him. Of course there were those who knew.