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.