I plan on reading Bill Clinton's book as soon as I can. I watched "60 Minutes" last night and will watch a few other shows this week that interview the former president. It's no secret that I like Clinton, and I miss him being in the White House. I think GW is a horrible president, a huge disappointment, and having him leading the country has me pining for a man like Clinton even more.
It bugs me, though, that the release of this book has escalated the polarization of this country. I didn't think that was possible, because clearly, the USA has never been more polarized than it is now, but I have seen and heard things in the last few days that make me think that it is going to get even worse.
Why do some people despise Clinton so much? He might be the most hated man in America, maybe not in numbers of people, but by how much hatred there is for him. I've seen people foaming at the mouth with contempt for him recently. I was watching Fox News yesterday afternoon when they were discussing the negative review of the book that appeared in the New York Times, and the three person panel was bouncing off the walls of the studio with absolute glee.
As much as I think he is a terrible president, I don't hate George W. Bush. He is completely unequipped to be the leader of this country, but I am sure that he is a nice guy. I have seen plenty of people question his policies and actions, but I have never seen a level of contempt and hatred for him as I have for Clinton. Why?
As a Democrat, I have many reasons for choosing not to support the GOP (though if I may disclaim, I have voted for Republican candidates in the past. It hasn't happened often, but it has been done), mostly because I disagree vehemently with their social policies. But I also find them extraordinarily arrogant. I thought the GOP ignited the negative campaigning that is so prevalent in present day with the election of 1988, and they have been smug since. I realize that politics is all about blaming the opposite group for failure while you take credit for success, but the GOP seems particularly adept at slime.
Does anyone really think that Clinton would have been impeached if the Congress had not been under Republican control? Of course not, it would not have even come up for a vote. Look at the vote, straight along party lines. Same for the prospects for his removal from office; there were not 67 Republicans in the Senate. Again, straight down party lines. From his first day in office, the GOP had an agenda to completely destroy Clinton. It wasn't enough to sabotage his presidency, they wanted to personally bring the man down. And they probably would have succeeded, if they had enough people in the Senate.
Personally, I think that there have probably been many more impeachable offenses committed by this current administration than there were in Clinton's, but since the GOP still controls the Congress, the topic will never be approached. It is amazing to me how history is being controlled by partisan politics.
Do you think I am exaggerating about the level of hatred for this man? Consider this: as Clinton's Presidential library gets ready to open in Little Rock, there is a group of conservatives building what they call an "Anti-Clinton library" a few miles away. People have willingly donated money to see this built. Clearly, no other president has had to stomach the building of an "anti-library", though surely some may have deserved it (Nixon?). There is a personal hatred for this man that exceeds my level of understanding.
Clinton was surely not a saint. He made a huge mistake, and compounded it by attempting to cover it up. He was a lousy husband. Big deal. There's a ton of people out there just like him. Do you think his behavior is any more deplorable than GW's past discretions when he was an alcohol abuser? Is that my business? The point I try to make is that all presidents are indeed human. They make mistakes.
If someone were to contact me when GW's library is being built and asked me to support an anti-Bush library, I'd decline and let them know that I don't feel that is an honorable thing to be doing. How are we supposed to achieve anything in this country, solve any of the immense problems facing us when all anyone does is convey hatred to the other side? What ever happened to debate, saying that someone is just "wrong?"
I will read Clinton's book and remember how fortunate I felt when he was in the White House, but it will also be tough to continually remember also how his time in office brought this escalation of hate, of how personal everything became, and how it continues today. And how a majority of it comes spewing from the Grand Old Party.