Bill Clinton, the next best thing to Communism

John Fund gives a fascinating account of the new pro-Clinton movie, “The Hunting of President,” and of Clinton’s talk at the movie’s premiere. The thesis of the movie is that Clinton was the target of a 10-year campaign to destroy him. The campaign was spearheaded by the “right-wing,” but the Washngton establishment — political and media — eagerly joined the enterprise because it saw Clinton as a threat to its inordinate power.
I agree that some conservatives set out early on to destroy Bill Clinton and that, to some extent, they did so by peddling exaggerations and perhaps even fantasies. But it is also an exaggeration, if not a fantasy, to say that the Washington establishment was eager to buy into the anti-Clinton enterprise, and inaccurate to say that it ever really did. And to the extent that the establishment flirted with doing so, this was because it recognized, and was offended by, the shoddiness of Clinton’s character and his commission of perjury. Yes, Bill Clinton was sinned against. But no, I don’t think he was more sinned against than sinning. The two ran neck-in-neck.
Clinton himself has a bizarre take on the motivation of his enemies. He told the filmgoers that the “right-wing ideologues” who “hired” Ken Starr had lost communism as their main enemy, and “I had to serve as the next best thing.” This is a mighty grandiose explanation for something that can more easily be explained as the result of a power grab, moral outrage, or some combination of the two. But who can be surprised when Bill Clinton engages in grandiose self-pity?
And who can be surprised by the way the meeting ended? According to Fund, “Mr. Clinton also spoke for so long that Eugene Lyons, co-author of the book the documentary was based on, announced that the panel discussion featuring him and the film’s other creators was canceled because ‘no one should ever follow Bill Clinton.’ Once again, Mr. Clinton took up not only all the time but all the oxygen in the room.”


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