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Even The Liberal Nation Magazine Hates Bill Clinton

That seems to be the gist of Peggy Noonan's column today, as she gloats that liberals are now coming around to seeing the Clintons as conservatives long have:

There are many serious and thoughtful liberals and Democrats who support Mr. Obama and John Edwards, and who are seeing Mr. Clinton in a new way and saying so. Here is William Greider in The Nation, the venerable left-liberal magazine. The Clintons are "high minded" on the surface but "smarmily duplicitous underneath, meanwhile jabbing hard at the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package. The nation is at fair risk of getting them back in the White House for four years."

That, again, is from one of the premier liberal journals in the United States. It is exactly what conservatives have been saying for a decade. This may mark a certain coming together of the thoughtful on both sides. The Clintons, uniters at last.

The only problem is, it didn't take this campaign to unite folks like Greider and Noonan, at least not when it came to the Clintons. They may have taken completely different routes to get there, but they arrived at the same anti-Clinton place.Here's Greider writing in The Nation in January, 2001:

The power play was swift, effective and ugly. Within hours of Albert Gore's concession, Bill Clinton was moving the levers of insider politics to install his personal money guy, Terry McAuliffe, as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Mr. Albert is already history because Mr. Bill intends to run this party for the next four years. That is terrible news for any hope that the out-of-power Democrats might regenerate themselves as the party of new ideas and fundamental reforms. Clinton will defend his checkered legacy and advance his own unspecified ambitions by dispensing the mother's milk of politics--money--to those Democrats who adhere to his manipulative, hollow style of leadership. Think small, act symbolically. Talk reform, but stick with the New Democrat moneybags on the big economic questions.  [Emphasis added.]

Flip through any issue from The Nation from the 1990s and you'll find similar anti-Clinton sentiments. In fact, the only time Nation-type liberals really rallied to Clinton was when he was on the verge of being impeached. So, while Bob Reich's 2008 distaste for the Clintons is noteworthy, The Nation's isn't.

--Jason Zengerle