THE BLINDING POWER OF THE CLENIS

Last night I was sitting in front of the firehouse reading Glenn Greenwald’s new book, and a very nice woman stopped by (she was there to visit someone else) and asked me what I was reading. I explained the gist of the book, and the woman identified herself as a Republican and said something about Bill Clinton being a hypocrite, too. I said that Bill Clinton didn’t campaign or enact policies on a platform of public piety. (Of course, the 800-pound gorilla here is the blow-job impeachment.) The woman went red-faced and actually leaned down toward me (I was sitting, she standing), and with a moment of barely contained rage, practically spat “He didn’t have to! HE. WAS. COMMANDER. IN. CHIEF.” Just so you know, I never got the feeling that she was angry at me. She was angry at The Clenis. After we agreed to drop the subject (not before she told me a story about how she was recently deeply moved by the Chimp giving a welcoming speech and some Army choir singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” for Pope Ratzo, and how liberals would be disgusted with that sacred patriotic experience), the woman calmed down to her pleasant self.

I was quite fascinated by how– when faced with the concept of her chosen party being dominated by craven, self-serving hypocrites– this otherwise pleasant, articulate, mature, and seemingly educated Republican voter’s first line of defense was to fall into a primal rage at The Clenis. And don’t be fooled, dear reader, her rage wasn’t inspired by NAFTA, or by the Wen Ho Lee debacle, or by the starving and bombing of civilians in Iraq. No: it was the semen stain on the blue dress, the “I-did-not-have-sexual-relations-with-that-woman,” and the rest of the tawdry dreck that was drawn up by that right wing fishing expedition. That is what we’ve allowed our national politics to sink to.

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