Many years ago, I was talking to a liberal friend of mine. I noted that the last two years of Bush’s presidency weren’t that bad. He seemed to have taken control from Cheney. He didn’t have control of Congress. He wasn’t good, but he was about as good as you could expect from a Republican president. And most of all: he was far better than he was the first six years. My friend did not like this at all. She started ranting about how evil Bush was and how he would run for a third term if he thought he could get away with it. And on and on.
This is a problem with all of us. I certainly fall into it myself. I assume the worst possible motives to conservatives. But I try not to. I try to remember that they really do think if we just cut taxes and regulations, then there will be jobs aplenty and it will be 1963 with June there to welcome the Beaver home from school and have dinner on the table when Hugh got home from work. Although I have to admit, the evidence against the kind of economic policy that Republicans favor is hard to justify. But I figure it is mostly tribal, not not that they just want to screw everyone but the rich.
But this attitude — that a politician you don’t like has evil intent — is nowhere as big as it is for the Clintons — Hillary especially at the moment. And this isn’t just on the right. There are lots of liberals who have a hatred that can only be described as pathological. And it’s strange. I understand that Rush Limbaugh thinks that the Clintons dress up in black robs and ritually torture infants to death in their secret underground lair; and then Hillary bathes in the blood to stay young. But he’s a demagogue.
The complaint from the liberal and “moderate” side seems to be that the Clintons are fake. But I actually think this is totally wrong. When Bill Clinton was first elected president, I was a libertarian. But I was amazed that people had such a problem with him. It seemed to me that the complaints about him being “slick” were just the complaints of losers that the winner was really good at what he does. If sprinters were as petty as these people, they would complain that Usain Bolt was “slick.”
Let’s face it: all politicians are fake to one degree or another. That’s what you get when you make politics into a “beauty” pageant. But in the case of the Clintons, there seems to be some very twisted logic. Bill Clinton was attacked explicitly because he seemed authentic, “I feel your pain.” But to the professional pundit, the more authentic someone seems, the less authentic they must be. That’s certainly what seems to be going on with Ron Fournier — the man who always finds the truth exactly halfway between the two parties and almost always finds them equally to blame for everything. Except when it comes to anyone named Clinton. He claims that, “The email scandal is a distraction from the important work of the Democratic Party.” As though it isn’t exactly him and like minded individuals who continue to push this fake scandal.
Kevin Drum wrote an excellent retort, If You Accuse Hillary Clinton of Lying, You Should Be Careful With the Truth Yourself. It turns out that everything that Fournier is complaining about is either wrong or misleading. The details don’t actually matter (but click over if you are interested). As Drum said, “It’s been months now, and there’s simply no evidence of anything other than unwise email practices and an unfortunate but instinctive defensiveness from Clinton over trivial matters.”
But Fournier and others know there must be something there. There must be, because it is Hillary Clinton. My take away from the Starr Report in 1998 was that the Clintons had to be the most honest politicians in the history of the world. And here’s the thing: that’s what a reasonably rational and objective person concludes. But people like Ron Fournier are basically conspiracy theorists: they’ve decided that there is “something” there and they will never believe anything else because there is no way to prove a negative. Fournier could be obsessed with finding that teapot that might be orbiting the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars. But instead, he’s obsessed with the malfeasance that he “knows” Hillary Clinton must be involved in.