The Clinton Divorce

No, we don’t mean Bill and Hillary. We mean the separation now under way between the Clintons and the Democratic Party. Like all divorces after lengthy unions, this one is painful and has had its moments of reconciliation, but after Tuesday a split looks inevitable. The long co-dependency is over.

Truth be told, this was always a marriage more of convenience than love. The party’s progressives never did like Bill Clinton’s New Democrat ways, but after Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis they needed his epic political gifts to win back the White House. They hated him for their loss of Congress in 1994, but they tolerated Dick Morris and welfare reform to keep the presidency in 1996.

The price was that they had to put their ethics in a blind Clinton trust. Whitewater and the missing billing records, Webb Hubbell, cattle futures and “Red” Bone, the Lincoln Bedroom, Johnny Chung and the overseas fund-raising scandals, Paula Jones and lying under oath, Monica and the meaning of “is.” Democrats, or all of them this side of Joe Lieberman and Pat Moynihan, defended the Clintons through it all. Everything was dismissed as a product of the “Republican attack machine,” an invention of the “Clinton haters,” or “just about sex.”

The Clinton's Prosper under a Bush Economy

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9 Comments

  1. You know it is possible to substitute Clinton in this article with Blair and get something very similar from an UK perspective. After Foot and Kinnock, the Labour Party needed a big winner to get into power, so they turned to Blair and New Labour, put up with the scandles and let their principles go hang for ten years. Sadly Gordon Brown will have to lose as big as Al Gore for the progressives in Labour to get their party back.

  2. Some Democrats always considered Hillary to be the smarter (intellectually, not politically) of the two Clintons, but never understood why Republicans hated them so much. After all, Bill was the most effective conservative president in decades (more so that conservative icon Ronald Reagan, for example) in helping conservatives achieve their aims–partly because of political actions he took, partly because of the backlash against his personal actions. That’s probably also why some conservatives, including Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter seemingly prefer Hillary Clinton to John McCain–and why, as I’ve suggested elsewhere (http://jmcpherson.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/limbaugh-and-operation-chaos/) giving Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” any credit for swinging Republicans may be a mistake.

  3. Conservatives want morality public and business private, and good, honest, right thinking people want business under close public scrutiny and morality private. Hating the Clintons used to be done by conservatives for those reasons, and now it’s done by liberals for the same reasons.
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  4. Well, I think that is a result of the attacks made on Clinton before he even took the oath of office, and long before Monika Lewinski, or any other “scandal” broke. Clinton’s very election shocked the right-wing pundits and brought out hate before anything else. Clinton was thought to be preparing to bankrupt the government, to spend us into worse deficits, and wreak economic havoc. In response, he worked with Congress to balance the budget. Government figures from his entire term back up the idea that the US economy actually improved, joblessness decreased, and the USA enjoyed a prosperous eight years, only declining after slowly after the Bush administration implemented disasterous economic and foreign policies. The reason for the defensiveness of Democrats can directly be attributed to all the attacks on Bill Clinton as if he were the anti-Christ. His sexual problems were used as weapons against him, for nothing other than getting a Republican into the Presidency ASAP, but it took eight years to do that. Much of the other “scandals” were not on the order of the treason perpetuated by the current administration, so yeah, people tend to not be too bothered by the accusations made against the Clintons.

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