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Jewish World Review April 5, 2002/ 24 Nisan, 5762

Ann Coulter

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The Rube Goldberg Clinton Rehabilitation Project | I thought they wanted to "move on." But now that all the statutes of limitations have expired, liberals won't shut up about Bill Clinton. To little evident success, they have been desperately been trying to launch their lumbering Rube Goldberg of a Clinton Rehabilitation Project for months now.

It's striking how the many testaments to Clinton's vaunted accomplishments follow a precise script, invoking the exact same talking points. The single most important talking point is to smear conservatives as "obsessed" and "Clinton-haters." Clinton-lovers want to be able to drone on about his "legacy" without contradiction. Thus, CNN host Aaron Brown wonders aloud: "What is it about Clinton? I've asked this question on this program about five different times to five different people."

Have we been cryptic? Right-wingers said Clinton was a lying, unscrupulous traveling salesman. It turned out he was a lying, unscrupulous traveling salesman. Now liberals scratch their heads demanding to know: So what was it about him you didn't like? Newsweek calls Clinton a "punching bag" for the right. Reviewing Joe Klein's book about Clinton for The New York Times, some guy Clinton took to Ireland ruefully remarks that Clinton had "given a sword to those who hated what he'd stood for."

Inasmuch as liberals insist that conservatives had some secret reason for disliking a president who lied constantly, smeared women, obstructed justice, perjured himself and tampered with evidence, it's striking that even the Rehabilitation Project is hard-pressed to come up with anything Clinton "stood for."

The Times book review proudly crows: "Clinton had also promised welfare reform and in his second term he got some." Actually, welfare reform came in his first term. It just seemed like a second term because it was after Republicans swept Congress and Clinton became irrelevant. Republicans simply called Clinton's bluff on welfare reform.

Indeed, engineering the first Republican Congress in half a century was Clinton's only genuine accomplishment. After masterfully ending the Democrats' 50-year hegemony of Congress, Clinton's genius political initiatives were all bite-sized, irrelevant gestures, such as class uniforms and tax credits for college tuition.

Consequently, the Clinton Rehabilitation Project invariably falls back on a series of meaningless platitudes about Clinton's greatness. According to the guy Clinton took to Ireland: "Clinton's immense talents might have made him a great president." Hillary aide Maggie Williams cites Clinton's "convening power" as his "greatest asset." Klein says his "strongest character trait" was "persistence."

Does it occur to anyone else that these sound like the vague adjectives of a tabloid horoscope?

The Clinton Rehabilitation Project insistently claims the traveling salesman was a complex man, citing the "duality, triality, quadrality of Bill Clinton's nature." Klein says Clinton was "larger-than-life." Only liberals would discern stunning complexity in such an infinitely small man driven by no greater impulse than his "little head."

We are also endlessly informed that Clinton was, as Monica-replacement Klein puts it: "charming, mesmerizing and wickedly smart. A bit too smart, at times."

Not only are there no actual facts to support such encomiums, but that precise statement -- "wickedly smart," "too smart" -- happens to refer to Clinton's performance before the grand jury. Yes, that grand jury. The one that famously laughed out loud listening to Clinton's "wickedly smart" answers.

Also without any supporting evidence, Newsweek calls Clinton "the major strategist in his party." It did not raise any flags at Newsweek that despite Clinton's desire to "stump this fall for Democrats," there are evidently no Democrats willing to accept Clinton's offer. At least one Democrat, Erskine Bowles, has openly refused Clinton's "help."

However, Clinton's services are being eagerly sought by game shows in Italy and England. When the only people who will be seen with you after your presidency are Hollywood liberals and foreigners looking for a game show host, you might want to drop the "love of the American people" as a talking point.

Still, the Clinton Rehabilitation Project preposterously insists: "The electorate would have gleefully voted him a third term if only it had been legal."

Actually, we have data on that. Just as George Herbert Walker Bush's landslide victory in 1988 was a tribute to Ronald Reagan, Al Gore's historic loss in 2000 was a tribute to Clinton. Thanks to Clinton, Gore became the only incumbent to lose in peacetime and a good economy for more than 100 years. Following the advice of every single one of his pollsters, Gore would not allow Clinton within 10 miles of his campaign. For his running mate, Gore pointedly chose the Democrat who had most harshly criticized Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky. Still, Gore could not escape Clinton's stain and he lost.

Even before the Lewinsky scandal, Clinton himself never conned as much as half the country into voting for him -- and, let's be honest, he was not exactly facing stiff competition.

But don't cite any facts questioning the claims of the Clinton Rehabilitation Project! By responding, you will only prove that you are an obsessed Clinton-hater.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton.

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