Jon Chait: Could the wingnuts have been right about the Clintons?
posted at 2:30 pm on January 26, 2008 by Allahpundit
No, assuredly not. Well, yes, yes, perhaps so.
[T]he conservatives might have had a point about the Clintons’ character. Bill’s affair with Monica Lewinsky jeopardized the whole progressive project for momentary pleasure. The Clintons gleefully triangulated the Democrats in Congress to boost his approval rating. They do seem to have a feeling of entitlement to power.
If Hillary wins the nomination, most of us will probably vote for her because the alternative is likely to be worse. But what happens if she’s embroiled in another scandal? Will liberals rally behind her, or will they remember the Democratic primary?
They’ll rally around her, of course, just as most conservatives will rally around McCain. Never underestimate tribalism, especially in a two-party system. Can Chait really be so achingly innocent, though, as to find himself surprised at signs of flaws in the Clintons’ character? That’s roughly as precious and stupid as a conservative saying, “Gee, I never thought Karl Rove would try a dirty trick like that.” Or, “Wow, that Lee Atwater really plays hardball, doesn’t he?” I’d always assumed the left recognized the ogrish qualities in Billary but made peace with them for the greater good of advancing their agenda, but this has a weird “scales falling from the eyes” aspect to it. In which reality does the reality-based community exist where the Clintons trying to claw their way through an election with unfair attacks constitutes a departure from form? Let me know, as it’ll come in handy the next time conservatives are accused of moronically hero-worshipping their political leaders while our betters cast a cold, unsparing critical eye at their own leading lights.
A question for the left: When these same tactics are inevitably deployed against the right in the general election (assuming she wins), will you perceive them as dirty tricks whose means are justified by the ends or will they not even qualify as “dirty” because anything but anything goes against the demon right? This may be where the confusion lies — by definition, you can’t be unfair to conservatives because nothing’s really “unfair” in total war. Against St. Barack, though? Horrors.
Scroll through this litany of pretty vicious rants and important action alerts for the latest shirt-rending over Clinton hardball. All of this will be forgiven and forgotten once the general election campaign gets going, in an eyeblink.