Patterico's Pontifications


Are the Clintons Trustworthy? To the Brink and Back with Jonathan Chait

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 12:22 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

We all have moments in our lives where we begin to doubt a long-held belief. It seems that Jonathan Chait of Opinion and The New Republic (in an op-ed published in the LA Times) is having one of those moments:

Is the right right on the Clintons?

Hillary’s campaign tactics are causing some liberals to turn against the couple.
January 26, 2008

Something strange happened the other day. All these different people — friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read — kept saying the same thing: They’ve suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we’ve reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.

The sentiment seems to be concentrated among Barack Obama supporters. Going into the campaign, most of us liked Hillary Clinton just fine, but the fact that tens of millions of Americans are seized with irrational loathing for her suggested that she might not be a good Democratic nominee. But now that loathing seems a lot less irrational. We’re not frothing Clinton haters like … well, name pretty much any conservative. We just really wish they’d go away.”

Chait continues with a litany of Clinton-engineered moments denigrating Obama: The misrepresentations about Obama’s comments on Ronald Reagan; New Hampshire emails that Obama was suspect on abortion; Robocalls emphasizing Barack Hussein Obama; and BET founder Robert L. Johnson’s comments about Obama’s youthful drug use.

But the hardest part for Chait to deal with was apparently Republicans gloating that Democrats finally see the Clintons the way they have all along:

“Am I starting to sound like a Clinton hater? It’s a scary thought. Of course, to conservatives, it’s a delicious thought. The Wall Street Journal published a gloating editorial noting that liberals had suddenly learned “what everyone else already knows about the Clintons.” (By “everyone,” it means Republicans.)

It made me wonder: Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along? … “

Fortunately for Democrats, Chait can still pull himself back from the brink of Clinton-hating to the comforting safety of disdain for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and stupid Republicans. Let’s pick up with Chait’s answer to his cliff-hanger of a question:

“It made me wonder: Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along? Maybe not right to set up a perjury trap so they could impeach him, but right about the Clintons’ essential nature? Fortunately, the Journal’s attempt to convince us that the Clintons have always been unscrupulous liars seemed to prove the opposite. Its examples of Clintonian lies were their claims that Bob Dole wanted to cut Medicare, that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy, that Paula Jones was “trailer trash” and that Kenneth Starr was a partisan.

Except Dole did vote to cut Medicare, there was a vast right-wing conspiracy and Starr was and is a rabid partisan. (“Trailer trash” is, of course, a matter of opinion, and it’s a cruel thing to say, but as far as whether it’s a lie — well, it’s not like they called William F. Buckley “trailer trash.”)

So maybe the answer is that the Clintons would have smeared their opponents in the 1990s, but lying is unnecessary when the other party is doing things such as voting to slash Medicare to pay for a big tax cut for the rich.”

What a relief it must be for liberals to learn it’s okay to “Don’t Worry. Be Happy” when it comes to the Clintons, even if the Clintons had to resort to lying about Hillary’s Democratic opponent.

Of course, if Hillary is nominated/elected, Chait implies that she better not take her power for granted or Democrats may abandon her:

“But the conservatives might have had a point about the Clintons’ character. Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky jeopardized the whole progressive project for momentary pleasure. The Clintons gleefully triangulated the Democrats in Congress to boost his approval rating. They do seem to have a feeling of entitlement to power.

If Hillary wins the nomination, most of us will probably vote for her because the alternative is likely to be worse. But what happens if she’s embroiled in another scandal? Will liberals rally behind her, or will they remember the Democratic primary?”

Nice try, Mr. Chait, but I doubt that’s the message Hillary will get from Democrats if she’s elected President.


17 Responses to “Are the Clintons Trustworthy? To the Brink and Back with Jonathan Chait”

  1. From Chait: “Maybe not right to set up a perjury trap so they could impeach him…”

    I like how Chait just slips this in. As everyone knows, it was all a setup! From the first thong snap by Monica (Ken Starr must’ve paid her to do it), it was all a setup to get Bill Clinton to commit perjury. He wasn’t responsible for any of it.

    It’s also amusing that Chait (I’m sure inadvertently) admits in this snide little aside that the impeachment was NOT about sex after all, as Democrats alleged since the investigation started.

    Yes, it WAS about lies, public trust and perjury, Mr. Chait. Nice to hear you finally admit it.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  2. Do Jonathan Chait musings even merit vivisection?

    There must be better openings for a lefties-are-from-Mars, right-wingers-are-from-Venus shoutfest.

    steve (187be6)

  3. Chait looks in the mirror, sees the Koolaid stains on his own lips, describes what the Koolaid tastes like … and then decides he was sloppy putting on his lipstick.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  4. I love the
    there was a vast right-wing conspiracy
    I laughed out loud as I read it.

    Dr T (340565)

  5. ”Trailer trash” is, of course, a matter of opinion, and it’s a cruel thing to say, but as far as whether it’s a lie — well, it’s not like they called William F. Buckley “trailer trash.”

    Calling Chait “logically challenged bottom-dwelling pond scum” is, of course, a matter of opinion, and it’s a cruel thing to say, but as far as whether it’s a lie — well, it’s not like they called Abraham Lincoln “logically challenged bottom-dwelling pond scum.”

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  6. We know what a perjury trap really looks like since the lefties created a successful one for Scooter Libby. Bil Clinton did all the hard work himself for his perjury troubles. Kevin Drum is even wondering now if Hillary can rig futures markets on her own chances of election. She did pretty well with cattle futures, so who knows ?

    Mike K (86bddb)

  7. We know what a perjury trap really looks like since the lefties created a successful one for Scooter Libby.


    Patterico (4bda0b)

  8. Patterico #5,

    The “trailer trash” slap on Paula Jones was incredibly cruel, but I’m sure in his mind it was necessary because it’s his only way to discredit her.

    DRJ (517d26)

  9. Perhaps the “trailer trash” nabob will undergo a deathbed conversion like Lee Atwater, calling each smeared opponent, one after another.

    steve (187be6)

  10. Comment by steve — 1/26/2008 @ 2:09 pm

    The nabobs (all of them) would be calling people for so long they wouldn’t have time to die.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  11. This related comment from Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner on NRO is funny:

    “Chait writes, “Were the conservatives right about Bill Clinton all along? Maybe not right to set up a perjury trap so they could impeach him, but right about the Clintons’ essential nature?” Setting up that perjury trap was extremely difficult work for us. First we had to create sexual-harassment law. We also had to establish the independent counsel. . .”

    DRJ (517d26)

  12. I read this article this morning. Hold their nose and vote for her seems to be the bottom line.

    Some of the GOP members are going through similar reservations in regards to McCain or Rudy. The question is “Do they walk as they threaten to or go with the team “one more time”?

    voiceofreason (e62670)

  13. Except Dole did vote to cut Medicare

    By that logic, then, Bill Clinton also supported cutting Medicare since slowing the growth of the program was a part of the 1997 (and I think also the 1995) budget deal, which Clinton signed off on. But I’m not holding my breath waiting for Chait (or Obama for that matter) to point this out.

    JVW (b03dfa)

  14. I just want to say that I don’t think you are being fair in the comments that are being made against her in the media. I also think that the media is the ones playing the race card because they are portraying who they want in the White House. Could it not be that alot of men are afraid because she is a woman.

    The reason I like her for a candidate is because she is a Clinton. When Bill Clinton was in the White House this country prospered, and the national debt was in the black for a change.

    She also stands for the poor and middle class. Before Bush took office I was in the middle class, now I’ve lost my job (like everytime there was a Republican in office.)

    But I would also want to know why it takes the government six months to 4 years to get your Disability Benefits that rightfully I deserve. I have a potentionally terminal disease and am not able to work. Why do I have to wait so long and hire a lawyer to get what is rightfully something that I have paid for for years. Its not right that me and my family should have to lose everything we have because the government is dragging its feet.

    I am so sick of hearing that the Clintons are playing the race card. She is a more qualified candidate even though she is a woman and Clinton. If truth be told she helped Bill run things when he was President. And last just what is Bill Clinton supposed to do sit at home and not help his spouse win the Presidency like every other candidates spouse has done in history.

    Lisa (0e7b9b)

  15. Pretty funny. The left calls the Grand Jury treatment of Bill Clinton a “perjury trap”. Everyone else calls it “asking questions!

    OLDPUPPYMAX (c36902)

  16. Lisa….I really thought hard about responding…I’m just an average person, nothing special by any terms, and I am so very sorry for your health situation…

    But, please, go back again and read what you wrote, and see the absolute whinning and bitching about your personal situation, and how your knowledge of the Clintons and their history in office is so ridiculous…

    The debt today as a part of the GNP is lower than when Clinton was president; government income, which is tax money, is higher now than ever before, because of the tax cuts; Clinton’s complete refusal to deal with foreign terror; Clinton’s support of the “poor and middle class” is based solely on taking money from those who produce goods/services/workers and giving it to others; the upper 10 percent of wageearners pay 64% of all taxes, which means the middle class is not paying a huge portion, and I base that on the idea that the middle class would be the percentage of wageearners from the middle 60% of taxpayers, which pays only about 10% of all taxes; as for the racecard, it is the MSM, not Republicans, that is telling the world that the Clintons are playing that card right now; Republicans are just reminding you that they, the Clintons, and “Democratic” politicals have always done that.

    As for your benefits, a thought: if you were middle class, as you say, working hard, earning, saving….did you consider your own personal situation, and do things to prepare, or did you just think that someone else was responsible??? I’m not middle class; my wife and I are both public school teachers in the lowest paying state in America, but, I freely admit that our combined salaries put us over 100K a year. Instead of a new car, I pay for insurance-health, life, fire, flood, car, dental, AND BOTH LONG AND SHORT TERM CARE…in other words, I look out for me….as for your job: did you lose it because of government interference in your profession? If so, I feel for you, cause I hate that too. If not, what did the government of this nation do to hurt your job status? Are you in a profession that this happens in more often than in other professions? Are you trained, or just filling a place? Did you have long range goals as a younger worker, and move to that instead of just from job to job???

    See, some of this is just you being responsible to yourself, as a member of society, as an employable worker, as an informed citizen (which I will flatly say leaves something to be desired)..

    In other words, responsible to yourself….not waiting for others to fix your problems….

    But, as you are learning from your “benefits” situation, the government is your best answer, isn’t it???

    reff (99666d)

  17. My guess is that whoever occupies the Presidency has very little to do with the timeliness, or lack thereof, of SSDI payments. As for the economy under Clinton, the stock market treated people pretty nice, right up to the point where the bubble burst. Their entire prosperity was premised on the irrational exuberance of the stock market. We were fortunate enough to get out ahead of the bubble bursting, as we were quite content with the gains we had seen, but a larger percentage did not. Couple the bubble bursting with the 2000 election fiasco and algore’s parade through the Courts trying to create a Constitutional crisis, and then 9/11 just 8 months later, which damaged the psyche of America, and it is frankly amazing that our economy is in as great a shape as it is in. Sure, there are some warts, but if you look at the metrics people used to describe the Clinton years as great (DOW at 10,000+, low unemployment, solid investment), then Bush’s economy dwarfs that. The only difference is that Hill/Bill were not involved in a shooting war.

    JD (fc7319)

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