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.


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BTW, Entelechy, which languages do you know?

theregoestheneighborhood on January 26, 2008 at 9:49 PM

You know…I would really love to hear why Romney is “better” than McCain…I really would.

And Romney doesn’t have a cool nickname either :-P

JetBoy on January 26, 2008 at 3:29 PM

So Romney labeled the Swift Boat Vets as “dishonest and dishonorable” like McCain? or denounced Bush’s tax cuts? or tried to ram through amnesty after consulting with a drunken woman killer? or has insinuated the US military has tortured our “guests” at Club Gitmo because one might have been waterboarded? or lead the Gang of 14? or fought for legislation restricting free speech? or accused his colleagues of being corrupt while he himself has a non-profit organization used as a jobs program for his campaign staff? or did he, as Daivd Limbaugh pointed out, voted for Specter’s amendment which would have required consulting with Mexico on building a border fence? or has he joined the Gorebal Warming crowd? or opposed drilling in ANWR? did Romney file a brief in a court case against Wisconsin Right to Life?

Wow. I guess we just need to come up with a cool nickname for Romney and he’ll be just like McCain.

91Veteran on January 26, 2008 at 10:10 PM

Attention, pouting McCain haters: Slap yourselves back to reality for a moment. When given a choice, one possibility is always better than the other. Always. Yes, McCain sucks. That said, if he ends up as our suckee, we must pick him over the alternative. Having McCain in the Oval Office is as big an insult as coming home and finding Michael Moore taking a leak in your kitchen sink. But to refrain from supporting McCain guarantees the alternative, which is worse than having your old lady run off with Keith Olberman.

whitetop on January 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM

I commented on an earlier thread that the NYT endorsed McCain knowing that conservatives would rebel against it. They do not want McCain to go against Medusa because he might win. If he does, he will introduce the same policies that Medusa would have, thereby destroying any chance of her running in 2012 – she will have no platform upon which to oppose the GOP. Medusa would be turned to stone.

OldEnglish on January 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM

But to refrain from supporting McCain guarantees the alternative, which is worse than having your old lady run off with Keith Olberman.

whitetop on January 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Nice.

This is what it’s come to?

wccawa on January 26, 2008 at 10:17 PM

Unless I miss my guess any treaty has to be ratified by the US congress. So Bush has no chance of making it stick after he leaves.

William Amos on January 26, 2008 at 3:39 PM

Would you think the Senate would actually ignore a treaty that was offered in the current climate?

…but then if McCain joined with them in some selfish deal?

91Veteran on January 26, 2008 at 10:32 PM

But remember too, it was John McCain and the Gang of 14 who was instrumental in getting both Alito and Roberts confirmed. I truly believe that wouldn’t have happened without McCain.

JetBoy on January 26, 2008 at 4:05 PM

How naive. It was McCain and his 14 thugs who agreed to a bastardized process to avoid their duties of advising and consenting, or a full filibuster.

There were other nominee’s who were denied because this gang arrogantly decided on behalf of the other senate members that they should not be given a full senate vote.

The ‘Crats would put forth any libtard socialist commie ACLU-type like Ginsburg they wanted, and our RINO’s would see them seated on the federal bench. Not getting conservative judges on the bench because of McCain is unforgivable.

91Veteran on January 26, 2008 at 11:03 PM

What if McCain was brainwashed during his five years in captivity…and then made into a mole whose mission was to gain power, wait for the right time, and then destroy the USA?

landlines on January 26, 2008 at 11:12 PM

And #3, I will then consider (in the unlikely event that he gets the nomination) if I will be able to hold my nose and vote for him or not in the general. I probably would, because the alternative is just too horrible to contemplate! But I damn sure won’t be happy about it!

conservnut on January 26, 2008 at 5:35 PM

I wouldn’t vote for him, but I certainly would show up to try seat a majority Republican House and Senate in order to keep him in check.

91Veteran on January 26, 2008 at 11:37 PM

In which reality does the reality-based community exist…?

That was tart and dry. Mmmm.

Kralizec on January 27, 2008 at 12:06 AM

BTW, I so wanted to call that trackback link “SECOND LOOK AT CLINTON DISILLUSIONMENT SYNDROME!”

But I figured that’s a bit inside.

Karl on January 27, 2008 at 12:48 AM

What if McCain was brainwashed during his five years in captivity…and then made into a mole whose mission was to gain power, wait for the right time, and then destroy the USA?

landlines on January 26, 2008 at 11:12 PM

You know, that would be a great idea for a movie… :-)

trigon on January 27, 2008 at 1:34 AM

“….or will they not even qualify as “dirty” because anything but anything goes against the demon right?”

No, they won’t qualify as dirty because no matter how low the Democrats go, they can still never play as dirty as a Republicans. Republicans invented mean, don’tcha know?

JM Hanes on January 27, 2008 at 2:44 AM

Attention, pouting McCain haters: Slap yourselves back to reality for a moment. When given a choice, one possibility is always better than the other. Always. Yes, McCain sucks. That said, if he ends up as our suckee, we must pick him over the alternative.
whitetop on January 26, 2008 at 10:12 PM

Speaking for myself- no, I don’t. The couch wins on election day. Joined by an unhealthy amount of Knob Creek bourbon.

Hollowpoint on January 27, 2008 at 3:29 AM

most conservatives will rally around McCain.

And allow me to be the first to say “I told you so!” to those f**king idiot conservatives when McCain inevitably screws them repeatedly after he gets elected.

When given a choice, one possibility is always better than the other.

It is not at all obvious that the election of McCain would be “better” for conservatives than the alternative.

I wouldn’t vote for him, but I certainly would show up to try seat a majority Republican House and Senate in order to keep him in check.

Yeah, just like a Republican House and Senate kept Dubya’s anti-conservative policies in check. Oh wait…

Lehuster on January 27, 2008 at 5:39 AM

No this conservative WON’T EVER rally around McCain, EVER! He’s been sticking a sharp stick in our eye for 20 years and now wants or support? I don’t f’n think so! I’ll vote for Obama or sit out this one before I vote for another RINO! But you guys go ahead and waste another vote on another George Bush and then sit around and complain about the results for the next 4 years…

sabbott on January 27, 2008 at 6:41 AM

It would easier to pick-up the pieces after a Hillary win. At that point the country would rally and push back (maybe, maybe) against the Hilldabeast and Billy Jeff. However with a McCain victory many folks would just be happy Hillary was thwarted and sit back as we die by a thousand little razor cuts inflicted by McCain.

JonRoss on January 27, 2008 at 7:02 AM

of course, just as most conservatives will rally around McCain.

Ummm maybe, maybe NOT.

(definitely NOT, for THIS conservative.)

Ex-tex on January 27, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Speaking for myself- no, I don’t. The couch wins on election day. Joined by an unhealthy amount of Knob Creek bourbon.

Hollowpoint on January 27, 2008 at 3:29 AM

Kin I come over?? I’ll bring some chasers.

Ex-tex on January 27, 2008 at 11:49 AM

I would LOVE a candidate that represented my conservative views, and truly placed the country above themselves. Someone understood that they are a servant of the people.

I would tolerate a candidate that pandered for my vote and then made some stupid decisions.

But I will not vote for a turncoat, who sided with the most vile of the Democrats, called me a racist and purposely attempted to undermine our country’s sovereignty.

I will not vote for that pompous, arrogant fool.

dominigan on January 27, 2008 at 2:50 PM

McCain is a great man but he’s not much of a conservative. He looks like a Scoop Jackson Democrat to me – a liberal at home, hawk abroad. Half a loaf is better than none, I suppose, but why accept half a conservative when we can have a whole one?

Romney acts and sounds like a real conservative. He wants to win in Iraq and opposes liberal nonsense at home. He’s got executive experience, is economically literate, and has a first rate temperament. This conservative will be rallying behind him.

Tantor on January 28, 2008 at 2:16 AM

Jonathan Chait: “We’re not frothing Clinton haters like … well, name pretty much any conservative.”

Give it time, Jonathan. Give it time. You’re coming around. Some things are true even though we conservatives say them.

And when you are done with the Clintons, we’d like a word with you about Teddy Kennedy. And Nancy Pelosi. And Cindy Sheehan. Che, Julius & Ethel Rosenberg, the Hollywood Ten, and, well, a lot more.

Basically, Jonathon, everything you know is wrong.

Tantor on January 28, 2008 at 2:28 AM

It’s hard for me to see much difference between McCain and the Democrat front runners. Of them all, Obama seems to tell fewer lies and seems to unabashedly present himself as the liberal he is. There is something to say about honesty even in someone who has different principles than you have.

Since Freddy is out (sob, sob), my choice of Republican nominee has to be Romney. Like many other conservatives, I might sit out a McCain candidacy.

docdave on January 28, 2008 at 1:48 PM

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