Sunday, June 27, 2004

Bill Clinton says that Republicans have to have someone to hate and, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, they turned on him. This elevates Clinton, it makes Republicans look petty, and it implies that the whole thing was just a psychotic episode on the Republicans' part.

Of course it isn't true but that's why he's called "Slick Willie".

Let's acknowledge that there was some irrational hatred of Clinton by some on the far right. This includes people who think that Clinton was involved in any murder plots. All of this came from a fairly small group, not mainstream Republicans.

The Republican mainstream had their own reasons to hate Clinton, or at least to dislike him a lot. His whole dismissal of their hatred is an example. He made a lot of gratuitous slams at Republicans.

During the 1980s, the ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats was not great. There were conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans. This changed during the 1980s. The South used to be solidly Democrat and solidly conservative. During the Reagan years, the Republicans made deep inroads into the South which is now considered a Republican stronghold.

All of this has polerized the two parties. The first sign of this was the nomination of Robert Bork for Supreme Court. Bork was possibly the best qualified nominee of his generation. The Democrats worried that he would force his views on the rest of the court by sheer intellect. Specifically, they worried that he would cause Roe v. Wade to be overturned. Bork was turned down for the court in a highly polarized fight.

More fights came after. The one over Clarence Thomas was especially bitter.

So when Clinton took office, the battle lines were already drawn.

Clinton defeated a sitting president. He wasn't very gracious about it either. The theme of his inauguration was "Taking Back America". As Rush Limbaugh pointed out you would think that they were celebrating Bastile Day.

In a final bit a pique, Clinton had the new batch of Democrat Representatives swear that they would not cooperate with the Republicans.

Clinton began his term with some polerizing legislation. He raised taxes (specifically on gas) and he passed some gun limits. In the process, he made a point of running roughshod over the Republicans.

No wonder the Republicans hated him.

As for Whitewater - the allegations were that, as governor, he manipulated the process to try to minimize his losses in a failed investment. He fought the special prosecutor every step of the way. When Nixon claimed executive privledge, he documented why and what was being withheld. This made it possible to fight. Clinton withheld more documents and refused to document why.

Billing records appeared in the most secure part of the White House. Friends of Clinton preferred to go to jail rather than tell what they knew under oath.

Something shady was going on and we still don't know what.

One final thing - the Right Wing attack machine. It is true that there are people on the Right who do not like Clinton. Are they part of a vast machine?

David Brock has written a new book called The Republican Noise Machine: How It Corrupts Our Democracy. David Horowitz who is named as a principal in the book takes a close look at the way he is characterized. Brock does not come out well.

Neither does Clinton as long as he sticks to this story.

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