Monday, June 13, 2005

Bill, I love you still

Clinton hating has become like religion to wingers. First Bill, now Hillary. As my wife recently reminded me, Hillary served with Sam Ervin investigating...drum roll please...Watergate! So that is possibly at the root of some of the bile spewed at her by the radical right.

But as re Bill, Ezra Klein has this to say:

In response to yesterday's post on Clinton hatred, Tim Lee writes in with a possible explanation:

Clinton hatred started during the campaign. By the end of 1992, it was clear that Clinton was a draft dodging, pot smoking, womanizing, shameless liar. To conservatives, this a big deal, and Clinton made no particular attempt to hide or apologize for it. Now, liberals rightly point out that Bush is a draft dodging, coke-consuming liar as well. And they're right.

However, that misunderstands the basis of conservative hatred. Conservatives aren't so much reacting to Clinton's specific actions as to the picture they believe it paints about his character. Bush has sold himself as a born-again Christian and a devout family man. Most of his indiscretions took place before he found Jesus and stopped drinking. Clinton's frequent bimbo eruptions and his smug non-denials of past misbehavior, in contrast, painted him as a self-indulgent, unrepentant child of the sixties.

The rest of Lee's post is a good example of the Clinton years seen through the eyes of a Clinton-hater. Interesting. Moreover, I think Lee gets at something important: Bush repented for the 60's, Clinton did not. Put another way, Bush sold out Boomer ethics in his 40's, Clinton never did. I guess the next logical question is why, exactly, conservatives hate Boomers so much, particularly when so many among them philander, divorce, and booze it up, but this strikes me as a good start.

Interesting and on point. Here's my take on it, posted in comments to Ezra's post, and referring to another commenter there:

As a "boomer" who lived in the '60s, I can tell you that my HS graduating class ('66) consisted of progressive anti-war anti-segregation types (moi), capitalists who became conservative doctors and lawyers, dunces who became, well, adult dunces, in short, a cross section of types.

Clinton is of my group, who while having human flaws, felt a sense of destiny, that we were witnessing a profound change in the world, and that it was our duty to carry the change forward, in other words, not just grow into the world, but make it a better place. For younger types like weboy, who feel annoyed by boomers like me, tough shit, spanky. My generation, along with Mark Felt, brought down Nixon, stopped Viet Nam, marched on Washington, and worked for MLK day.

Bush and his lovers are of a type. They are those of my generation who were CONSERVATIVE, who thought status quo was fine, especially if it didn't inconvenience them, and felt that, as children of wealth or just status quo, that entitled them to everything. And people like me who marched, went to love-ins at Griffith Park and smoked reefer while listening to groovy music, were hated by our conservative contemporaries.

They were unconcerned by doings at Selma, Memphis, and My Lai. They were unconcerned by Reagan's treatment of Chavez here in California. They were unconcerned with black and poor kids dying in Southeast Asia.

The only thing that concerned them was: "How does this affect me?" Rich, poor, or middle class, the conservatives of the time, including the delusional youth who supported Goldwater, cared about their own chances, their own college entrance exams, their own asses. And little else.

Clinton has no need to repent of his '60s sins, and neither do I or anyone who found their way to progressive ideals. Bush supporters who are angry about the '60s are much like Jesse Helms in his latest written revealing as the prototypical Dixiecrat. They yearn for a past that was hateful, toxic, and disgusting. Black folks were mistreated, women were kept "in their place," and capitalists could move unfettered through the American landscape.

What kills me about conservatives is that even those who are relatively poor or middle class still don't get it. Their ideological masters (Strauss, et al) don't give a crap about you. The only people who give a crap about you and your position in society are progressives. How's that health care working for you? What are you going to do for income when your retirement plan fails and Soc. Sec. is dismantled? Don't you get it? You are cannon fodder, soylent green, fertilizer for the Wall Street reading elite.

Clinton has apologized for putting his dick where it didn't belong. Bush should apologize for breathing my air. But he's "saved" so it's all OK.

Well, save this.