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I voted for Clinton, enthusiastically, in 1992 and again in 1996. I may have even worked on his campaign, as my daughter did. I felt hope for the country.

While he was in office I had the impression that he was putting his own ego and personal needs ahead of the country's. I felt he needed to be more straight with us and not couch any of his actions in waffle words. Unfortunately, I don't recall anything specific, just a general feeling. I wasn't as happy with him as I'd hoped to be. I did like his Americorps program and other programs that gained very little press, but again had no good way to determine if they were successful or not.

At the same time I was sick to death of the right-wing assaults on him. The Whitewater investigations went on and on and I did not know what to make of them. It was only later that I learned more of the details of those investigations and the dirtiness of the funding of these assaults, and how the major media simply reprinted allegations without any investigation. We were full into the era of he-said-she-said, the journalists' version of "fairness". I wasn't the most astute political observer but even I could see that this was hardly a matter of equal time. It was distorted and lazy and disgusting.

I was glad when the two terms were over because I no longer felt the pressure to "defend my president". I was not a huge fan of Gore's, although I suspect that is more because I knew little about him. I had hated Bush the elder and seriously disliked what I had seen of W, so of course no votes were going there. Not mine, that is. I thought others would see what I saw in W, but too many didn't and still don't.

Interestingly, I have gained greater respect and appreciation of Clinton since he left office. Partly because of the greater knowledge I now have of his work and of the right-wing smear campaigns, and partly because of his own incredibly generous nature. He is not in the habit of attacking others. He doesn't use sound bites to attack those who attack him. Instead, he is diplomatic, more of a statesman than anyone else I can think of at this time. I am amazed that in spite of weathering so much in his presidency he continues to love his country and work hard for it, and keep a positive attitude. Those years had to be hard on him yet he worked like a dog to do what he was there for, to improve the economic situation for the entire country.

He was ridiculed for every possible reason, personal and political. But I see no signs of resentment or bitterness. He's bigger than that. And thus my admiration increases. And it's astonishing that he seems to take Hillary's advances so much in stride, even with humor. She is on the block now and he just shrugs his shoulders and lets it all slide past. Perhaps the shear size of the campaign against him made him that much stronger.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2005 02:50 pm (UTC)
I agree with every single thing in this entry. I saw him on something the other day and had the exact thoughts but did not take the time and energy to express them as well as you did. Thank you.
Jun. 25th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I have been hearing interviews with him and have been amazed at his nature. It was this that caused me to buy the first volume of his autobiography. I am not deeply into it yet. It's clearly written entirely by him! No ghostwriter in the house.
Jun. 26th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
Well put. Clinton also seemed to possess a stronger work ethic - I certainly don't remember him taking so many vacations.

In many ways, the sentiment and admiration post-office also apply well to Jimmy Carter, much maligned by ... the same folks in power now. Sfter four years as commander in chief, decided he was still young and was going to help the world through Habitat for Humanity, endless negotiations and election fairness monitoring functions.

Jun. 26th, 2005 04:46 am (UTC)
I have to say that I was not that impressed by Carter while he was president. But, I love to hear him interviewed these days. He makes everything sound so possible, so hopeful.
Jun. 25th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
I miss my president. :-(

I am so sick of continually being embarrassed by Bush with his weird, idiotic banter every single day. I am also sick of being ashamed and angry at him for what he's done in the name of our "freedom." He hasn't made our country more patriotic- he's made us more arrogant- more stupid, more ugly.
Jun. 25th, 2005 07:37 pm (UTC)
Me too, me too. I used to think no one president could do THAT much harm. How wrong I was.
Jun. 25th, 2005 04:37 pm (UTC)
I came here via susandennis, so consider this entry her fault :-)

Bill Clinton screwed a Washington intern. Big deal.

George W. Bush, on the other hand, has screwed the entire nation. And we don't even get a cigarette.

And before anyone gets the idea I'm some kind of rabid Democrat attacking Bush, keep in mind that in his time I also voted for Ronald Reagan, and would have done so again if he could have held a third term (likewise for Clinton).
Jun. 25th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
I don't vote for the party either, although I'm currently registered Democrat.

There is one thing to say about those years when Starr went on the attack, with the help of a few huge backers: most of us didn't want to hear it. Most of us were sick to death of Whitewater and did not care that Clinton screwed an intern. Didn't even "screw" if we want to get technical. Most of us saw that the media was building a big balloon of nothing.

But now? What the hell??
Jun. 25th, 2005 08:32 pm (UTC)
That's one nice thing about Indiana. We don't have to declare a party affiliation here. The closest we come to that is in Primary elections one can vote either a Democrat ballot or a Republican ballot, but not both, and you pick when you walk in to your local voting place and tell the nice poll worker which one you want. I can easily vote a Democrat ballot in one year and a Republican ballot the next...and in fact I've switched many times. It depends on who is running for what and who I'd like to see run in the general election come November.

My personal opinion on all of the Clinton goings on was I really don't care what Clinton, or any other President, does on his off time. I don't care if he screwed every intern in a five state radius, male and female both. All I care about is what he signs with that Presidential Ink Pen, and how it affects me, my family, my friends, and my country. Where he puts the Presidential Weiner is between him, his wife, and his Supreme Deity of choice.

A lot of my Republican friends like to tell me how Bush has better morals. That may be true, I don't know. All I know is that under Clinton my wallet had a hell of a lot more money in it, and I wasn't embarrassed to tell foreigners I was an American.

I saw a poll the other day that found that most people in other countries have a better opinion of China than they do the US. Food for thought.
Jun. 25th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC)
Also visiting from susandennis...

I wasn't here to see Bill from the US perspective, I saw it filtered through the BBC and in CNN and NBC coverage. It amazed me that so much was made of such a small issue. The plaintive cry of "but he lied to us" from the politicians sounded particularly pathetic. As if politicians are some superset of society who can, and regularly do, lie to their electorate as a matter of course but who can't lie to each other without it becoming a federal crime. The other thing that was apparent was the US press trying to lead the charge away from Bill whilst the majority of the population refused to follow. The BBC did a good analysis of the reporting becoming increasingly vitriolic as the electorate continued to ignore them.

I am amazed that some of my less thinking republican friends still start foaming at the mouth when his name is mentioned. And what's all that about? Because he lied? They all do. Because he was messing about with an intern? Probably the majority of men I know here would have done the same if they thought they could get away with it. Because he survived their best efforts?

In Britain the people who really came out as the evil ones in that whole sorry mess were Linda Tripp and Ken Star. Meanwhile Bill was Presidential.

Whether it was because the government was too busy trying to 'get Clinton' or because of Bill's policies the economy did very well under him.

Thinking of all the coverage over the years the one liner that comes to mind was from a police officer who said "I'd have lied too if I got a blow job from a fat chick".

So do you think Bill would make a good first lady?

(Sorry for the long comment, but this is a subject I find particularly interesting.)
Jun. 25th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
No apology needed. I appreciate your thoughts.

I have thought long and hard about this difference in attitude that I see in right-wing nuts. That they will go to such lengths to defend the actions of their president in spite of his atrocious record in every area imaginable. And yet they will continually attack Clinton as if he were the devil himself. It really doesn't make sense from a logical standpoint.

The only inkling I can get of what is going on is a need for these folks to justify their support of Bush and his politics (and formerly of others similar to Bush). I can relate on some level: sometimes I have been vocal in my support of a certain candidate or position and I am unwilling to back down when that candidate or position doesn't seem quite right. So I hunt around frantically for more and more justification that I can throw out. I have even done something similar in my job; taking one position, then realizing later that I'd been had. I can honestly say I've learned from this and one thing I have learned is to let go of all that ego and admit I was wrong. That isn't the American way, I'm sad to say. We'd rather fight than apologize.

I want to ask the rabid right: If Clinton had gone to war with Iraq and done all that Bush has done would you still be saying "let's support the president"? Would you still be saying "If you aren't with the president you are unpatriotic and with the terrorists"? The numbing thing is that the positions the right takes are so unbelievably partisan and hypocritical. It's okay if our guy does it but not yours.

In general I am not an advocate for a party system. I believe, as John Adams did, that parties divide people and create acrimony instead of unity, and that less gets done with this system. That said, I know that in the past our two main parties have managed to get along a hell of a lot better than they do now. It is nothing but adversarial now, with few exceptions.

I also know, as you point out in between the lines, that our media has played a large part in the creation of false bogeymen and confusion. Too many of the citizens of this country tend to believe what they read and hear and have no clue how to analyse it. It seems that the British do a better job, or perhaps it's the structuring of the media that makes the difference. More freedom to say what you want = more diversity of opinion = possibly better-informed citizens. Perhaps the eductional system, too, plays a part.

As for Bill being a good "first gentleman" (I think that would be the equivalent term), yes, I think he would. He'd be active but would stay in the background. He'd support his wife and present a good appearance. Who knows - he might even redecorate the White House. I think Clinton is a really good example of what a "liberal" should be, in his openness to all, his acceptance of other ways of life, his genuine caring about people.

I don't often discuss politics in my personal journal, because there are many communities here for it. But sometimes I am just feeling a certain way and out it comes, here in this journal because I do not want to get into an argument about how I feel. There is another related subject eating at me now that will probably flow out of me in the next day or two.
Jun. 25th, 2005 08:06 pm (UTC)
I thought I was quite direct about the press, this was a manufactured campaign. I am impressed with the ability of some people to believe regardless of the facts to counter their belief. I have wondered whether my Republican friends are typical in also being fairly rabid 'christians'. It's like believing something impossible to prove becomes a badge of office and predisposes them to love W.

The BBC do a good job of looking behind the rhetoric, when they analyze the US press they also look behind the scenes for the motivations.

I look upon current events as a cataclysmically expensive experiment in misdirection, almost as an astonishing soap opera. I don't know whether to be amused or horrified that Bush is getting more and more caught in the bear trap of Iraq and he's trapped there by his own rhetoric. His ego has accepted his portrayal of himself as a man of his word and now he can't change his mind, his followers have linked their religious faith, which defines them, to him and so they can't back down either. It's just a shame the rest of us are along for the ride and can't simply step off to the side and watch the train wreck.

If I were a citizen I think I'd be a lot more depressed about this. As a Brit I can still maintain some distance from the whole thing. Don't ask me how Blair got elected again though.
Jun. 25th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC)
What's funny when comparing the British press to the American press is, in my opinion, the fact that even on this side of the Big Pond the BBC is **far** more respected than the American press is. If the American press said "the sky is blue", most Americans would refuse to believe it because the press said it was so. But if the BBC reported that the moon is made of lettuce and was going to explode and shower the earth, there would be a run on salad dressing at the grocery store :-)
Jun. 25th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)
Did you notice that in the webbies the BBC was first for on-line news and the Guardian was first for on-line newspapers? I think the BBC keeps its balance because it is owned by the state and its independence is jealously guarded by both sides of the government. If the government tries to interfere everyone starts screaming. It is amazing to a Brit to see W controlling the press by metering access, if he tried that in the UK the press would destroy him. The BBC can also be brutal to political pretentiousness, sometimes I suspect they have too much power to destroy but they seem to avoid making news rather than reporting it. Actually that's the big difference, the BBC doesn't tend to judge, just report. They don't tell you what to think of what they tell you. "Two cars crashed" instead of "in a terrible accident".
Jun. 25th, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
i adored clinton and still do. bah on the naysayers.

if you haven't seen it, get ahold of the pbs documentary the jesus factor.

there's some wierd and scary shit in there about how gw believes his *residency came from from manifest destiny and divine intervention - oy!
Jun. 26th, 2005 04:39 pm (UTC)
Bravo and well said, Judy!

2 thumbs up
Jun. 27th, 2005 09:34 am (UTC)
I was reasonably happy with Clinton but I think a good deal of the warm happy thoughts that are around him now are because of the comparison with Shrub rather than directly with his own considerable charisma and ability to work.

Clinton worked Congress, worked the UN and individually worked the Heads of State, one gets the impression that Shrub gets told the guy's name thirty seconds before meeting him.

There is an abiding impression of Clinton the morning after 9/11 walking the streets and talking with people and being Presidential long before Shrub had worked out what to say.
Jun. 27th, 2005 01:08 pm (UTC)
I think a good deal of the warm happy thoughts that are around him now are because of the comparison with Shrub rather than directly with his own considerable charisma and ability to work

For many people this may be true. For me it is not. What impresses me is his genuine caring. Not only did he get a lot done in his presidency in spite of all of the efforts to thwart him, but also he now keeps, and may always have kept, the needs of the citizens up front. What I was responding to in this post was my impression of him as a man, as a person, as a compassionate, unbitter, thoughtful person.

It isn't necessary to compare him with Shrub. But yesterday I had a moment. I read some words that Robert Kennedy had said in a speech, words that were intelligent, well-written, well-thought-out, and I had a pang of nostalgia for the days when someone articulate and intelligent was in office.
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