by: Chris Nielson
“Republicans sleep in single beds, Democrats sleep in double beds. That’s why there are more Democrats.”
That is how my Uncle Joe, an avowed Clinton hater, justifies the former Prez’s popularity. Despite all his political (and moral) enemies, Bill Clinton was the most popular president in this country’s history, judging by his approval ratings.
I’ll miss the big man, for many different reasons. One is that some of my friends have taken to calling me Clinton Jr., due to supposed similarities in our styles and characters.
I choose to take that as a compliment.
The country is a hell of a lot better off after his eight years in the White House than it was before. He’s pointed this out once or twice in speeches. Now, I don’t think that he can rightly claim all the credit for the economy’s turnaround. It’s almost like me saying “The beer drank on Thursday nights has expanded two hundred percent during my term at Cabrini College.” I may have played a role but I didn’t do it all by myself.
This brings me to the bottom line of why I enjoyed the Clinton years so much: He knew how to piss people off.
Man, for all those who loved Clinton, there were a whole lot of people who really hated the guy’s guts. He has been disgraced, disbarred, investigated and impeached in the past eight years by men who came after him with severe personal vendettas that transcended politics. Kenneth Starr, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, these guys all made it their lives’ purposes to bring Clinton down. And, as Clinton leaves the White House but never the public life, his enemies could be appearing on VH-1’s “Where Are They Now?” Clinton knew how to make his enemies look like a bunch of jerks.
Clinton did some messed up stuff, don’t get me wrong. But I think after a while we came to love him for it. “I did not inhale” could alone have brought a lesser politician down. Coming from him, it was funny, and we just looked the other way. Whitewater could have been the end, but it wasn’t because: A. Nobody really understood what that was all about; B. They never proved anything; and C. It seemed like that was all Hillary’s fault anyway.
But what could have, and probably should have, brought Clinton down was his extra-marital affairs with at least three women. But we forgave him, time after time. Maybe part of the reason was because of who he fooled around with. I mean, could you find a more motley crew of women for a politician to fool around with? A lounge singer, an unattractive political ade, and an intern- and this guy was the president? At least President Kennedy had Marilyn Monroe.
But coming from Clinton, it all somehow worked. He always seemed like the coolest kid in class, the incorrigble bad boy who the girls pretended to be mad at but couldn’t quite mean it. And those who tried to take him down always ended up looking like the jealous geeks, hoping to get even by being tattle-tales.
America loves a winner, and we ridicule our losers. It’s been a tumultuous eight years and it was fun seeing the big guy dodge all the bullets. And, regardless of your political beliefs, one fact remains indisputable: