Why do people hate Clinton so much?

My favorite President, Millard D. Fillmore had women hidden all over the White House. I presume he lied about them.
I dislike the guy because as Governor he signed a law making me pay sales tax on a used trailer. Cost me $2000.00 I don’t hate him. I don’t banish him to the seventh level of Dante’s Inferno.

What’s the deal?

Why do some people despise Bill Clinton? Interesting question, actually. I speak as a far right-winger who considers Bill Clinton a slimy, lying sack of manure… but who also finds him a charming, witty, likeable guy, and who would probably find Clinton a lot of fun as a dinner guest.

As I’ve said on these boards many times, when we like or dislike a politician, we usually have very good, rational reasons. But when we LOVE or LOATHE a politician, our reasons are usually ridiculous and irrational. They have less to do with what a politician has DONE than they do with what he “stands for” and for the way he makes us feel.

Examples abound! John F. Kennedy did absolutely NOTHING to further the cause of civil rights for black Americans (we now know that he used the “N” word regularly, and gladly signed agreements that he’d never sell his house to blacks or Jews). Lyndon Johnson did EVERYTHING imaginable to improve civil rights for black Americans. But which President do black Americans love and venerate? (Hint: His initials aren’t LBJ.)

Ronald Reagan promised the moon to the Religious Right, but delivered NOTHING! He never made any serious attempt to abolish abortion (indeed, two of his three Supreme Court appointments are solidly pro-abortion), to restore school prayer, to cut federal spending, to abolish the Department of Education, etc. On the whole, George Bush’s record in office was at least as conservative as that of Reagan. But which President did the Religious Right worship, and which one did they scorn?

If people LOVE Presidents for silly, irrational reasons, they HATE them for silly reasons, too. Richard Nixon was an extremely liberal President! Price controls, the EPA, the largest peacetime expansion of the federal government in history, the legalization of abortion (by Harry Blackmun, a Nixon appointee)… all in all, liberals should LOVE Nixon, and conservatives should revile him. In fact, liberals were always disgusted by Nixon. COnservatives embraced him ONLY because they figured anyone the liberals hated THAT much couldn’t be all bad. (They were wrong!)

Now… Bill Clinton is an utterly immoral, unprincipled individual. But that’s not why so many conservatives LOATHE him! They LOATHE him for the same reason that the wacko left-wingers of Hollywood LOVE him: because of what he “stands for.” Bill Clinton “stands for” the Baby Boomers! Bill Clinton “stands for” the Sixties!

So, to millions of people, it doesn’t matter that Bill Clinton has been, in many ways, a fairly conservative President. He’s a Baby Boomer, he used to have long hair, he used to smoke pot! To hard-line conservatives AND left-wing loonies alike, that makes Bill Clinton the perfect symbol of the counterculture.

So, people who idealize the Sixties, who thought the Age of Aquarius was an idyllic time that could have ushered in peace, free love, and racial brotherhood… Bill Clinton is a god! (Never mind that he’s only shown half-hearted commitment to the left-wing agenda, and has chickened out whenever his more “progressive” prposals met the slightest resistance.)

And to people who HATED the Sixties, who think the Sixties were an evil hedonistic era that saw Christian values and traditional values denigrated… Bill Clinton (the pot smoking draft dodger) represents pure evil! (Never mind that, as President, he’s continued to wage the war on drugs, and has been something of a hawk on foreign policy).

All in all, CLinton’s admirers and haters BOTH miss the point, and BOTH take him too seriously.

I think that people hate Clinton because his biggest scandal involved something people could understand.

Sure, Reagan may have lied about the Iran-Contra affair, but how many people really understood that? How many people could find Iran or Nicaragua on a map? However, people know what a blow job is, and they know you’re not supposed to be getting them from 21-year-old interns when you’re married.

I have also always maintained that Clinton is not any more crooked than your average politician, but he is much better at being crooked. He’s like the guy in the crooked poker game who does the best false shuffles and deals and knows exactly how to use them to his advantage–people can hate him because he cheats, because he cheats better than they do, or because he’s winning all their money. Clinton similarly has it coming from all sides.

I personally think that if Clinton and I sat down and talked politics, we would agree on quite a bit. Unfortunately, he has lacked either the support or the balls (often both) to get anything done. I don’t dislike him at all, but I don’t think he’s been much of a President.

Dr. J

First of all, I think astorian is correct about the primary reason for Clinton-hatred: they see his presidency as a triumph of the liberal sixties youth generation.

But in addition to this symbolic reason, plenty of people, myself included, hate Clinton for what he is: a shameless liar and manipulator who somehow always comes out on top. You remember in grade school there was always this one kid who could start a fight but somehow, when the teacher arrived to see the fighting he/she never got blamed for it? (substitute little brother/sister and parent if that analogy is more personally significant to you) Clinton is like that. While there were many right-wingers who hated Clinton prior to 1994, most of the gut-hatred comes from those who have seen Bill Clinton slickly make the Republican Congress take the blame and get a bad rap for Congressional tactics no different than what Democrats used when they were the power in Congress; from those who saw him lie bald-facedly to the nation and somehow get Ken Starr and Linda Tripp to come out as villains in the affair.

cmkeller gives a pretty good description.

I despise and fear the man.

Oh, I don’t really care that he gets head from any woman that comes close to him. That’s his business. But I do care that when caught he chose perjury over admission. The apparent reasons for the perjury are particularly troubling.

Mostly the man scares me for what he can get away with and what he won’t accomplish.

Remember the line, “The president has kept all the campaign promises he intends to keep”?

Remember when Clinton and Bush campaigned and debated? Clinton refused to address Bush as “Mr. President” or “President Bush”. It was always “Mr Bush” or “George Bush”.

Remember when Clinton got on national TV and with a much haggared look told us that he’d “worked harder than he had in his entire life trying to figure out how to bring down the deficit but it couldn’t be done”. We’d have at least a quarter trillion dollar deficit forever.

When Reagan bombed Lybia the left and much of the world went nuts. (The press, to their credit, was not as harsh as I would have expected.) It was news for months. When Clinton bombs a pharmaseutical and an embassy, he gets a pass.

Clinton organizes a government shutdown and passes the blame to the congress.
There have been many, many dangerous people throughout history that have achieved power simply through their charisma. Clinton is one of them.

I guess that the really scary part is that if he’d actually cared about the welfare of his subjects, he could have used his charms to be one of the greatest presidents in history. Instead, he wants simply to be remembered as one.


That was Chester A. Arthur, not Fillmore. Easy to confuse two such paragons.
Astorian, where did you find out about JFK ?


I don’t think Clinton-hating increased after the 1994 elections - it was in full-swing since his 1992 election. I believe that Rush Limbaugh deserves much of the credit, since Rush’s show peaked when Clinton was elected. Rush would hammer the guy for three hours a day, pointing out every time Clinton told one group the opposite of what he had said the day before (it would take three hours a day to point all of them out).

Why do we (conservatives) hate him so much? We dislike him because he stood for an expansion of the government, and because he would say whatever his audience wanted to hear, contradicting what he told another audience the day before. We hated him because, as cmkeller points out, he got away with it. The mainstream press never called him on it.

An example of this is about four years ago when there was much debate about cutting back Medicare. Clinton was winning the popular opinion fight, saying that the Republicans wanted to cut Medicare, and the Republicans were trying to point out that they weren’t cutting it, but just reducing the rate of its projected growth. The one time I ever saw Rush’s TV show (I dislike Rush btw), he showed clip after clip of Clinton, four years earlier, discussing how they were going to have to slow the rate of Medicare growth. Clinton pointed out again and again that slowing the rate of growth is not cutting, and anyone who said it was was lying. Then Rush played clips of a recent Clinton saying that the Republicans were trying to cut Medicare. That’s the kind of stuff that makes you hate him.

But there are some things that I admire about the guy. He’s a good speaker (the 1988 Democratic Convention keynote speech notwithstanding), and has the ability to make someone he’s talking to believe he cares. I think he really does care, and he’s obviously a very hard worker. If Clinton were in sales, I think he could double his current salary.

I dislike most pols. My observation is both liberals and conservatives want to run our lives as they see fit.
But I REALLY hate, hate, HATE Clinton! He is so without shame & honor it makes me want to puke! He is so quick to lie about everything & anything. His alliances with China, all his scandals. His being above the law. I don’t think he’s charming at all! I don’t know how any of you can say that. His personality is so phony. He’s like the sterotype of a used car salesman in a searsucker suit! I weep for that mans soul. He is going to burn in hell, folks!

If the economy wasn’t so good, he’d of been bounced out on his ass in 1996! And the economy isn’t even KKKlintons doings! But the slimy sob takes the credit. If that man was a Republican the media would be all over him!

[anal Historian mode ON]
Actually, Chester A. Arthur at least had the virtue of being a widower, so at least he wasn’t committing adultery- just fornication.

In fact, Arthur did a pretty decent job as President. Despite having made his success through the ‘spoils system’ (the idea of turning out the entire government bureaucracy after an election in order to fill it with your supporters) after he became President he helped push through major reforms (partly by playing on the martyred James Garfield’s memory, just as LBJ managed to get the Civil Rights Act passed partially by playing on the martyred JFK’s memory), and while no great, striving success as President, no screw-up, either.

Now, you want screw-ups and adultery galore, go look at Warren G. Harding (or Warren G. Hard-on, as we wags like to call him). Had at least one illegitimate child, carried on long-term affairs with at least two women while President, not to mention the possibly hundreds of one-night stands he had (he actually had a tunnel built between two hotels so that he could ‘go up to play poker with the boys’ in one (thus leaving his wife and Secret Service detail cooling their heels in the lobby) then slip through the tunnel to meet a paramour at the other hotel). Throw in filling up his Cabinet with cronies who saw this as a golden opportunity to get rich by fleecing the government, and, well, scandals galore of every shape and size.
Anyways, as to the OP- Clinton is hated for a lot of the same reasons that Nixon was hated.

1.) “Completely devoid of ethics.” Nixon was willing to subvert the Constitution in order to keep himself in power; Clinton tells lies, and then lies to cover his lies. This raises a double offense in most opposition’s minds- the original offense, and then the fact that N/C was never called upon it.

2.) “Subverted agenda.” Nixon stole a good number of ‘liberal’ ideas- price controls, the EPA, relations with China, etc. Clinton stole a good number of ‘conservative’ ideas- NAFTA, welfare reform, etc. The offense to the opposition is that the idea that they endorsed, that they loved, that they had worked so hard upon, has now been stolen away and is being used to glorify someone who stands against them upon nearly every other issue. Imagine how you’d feel if your boss stubbornly opposed every new idea you came up with, then suddenly stole one of them to present to his boss, and was now being trumpeted for his ‘success’.

3.) “Why doesn’t anyone believe me?” Nixon was absolutely hated by many since the early '50’s and his involvement with MacCarthyism; by his initial election in '68, there was a strong, vocal minority which vehemently despised him and the fact that he had gotten into office. But general public opinion never truly went against Nixon until well into Watergate; '73 or '74 was when things truly began to fall apart in general. Thus, that vocal minority had years to vent and rage and hate and be constantly faced with the fact that no one else was listening. If you knew that Richard Simmons was actually the Anti-Christ, but no one listened to you- or worse, they laughed at you- or even worse, they just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well, sure he eats babies; but as long as I’m losing weight, why should I care?”- how would you feel? Likewise, Clinton has had the spectre of shady dealings dogging him almost from the start of his candidacy- adultery, WhiteWater, the Travel Office firings, the FBI files, etc.- but no one ever seemed interested. Heck, even when he was caught nearly in flagrante delicto regarding Monica, the nation just sort of yawned and said, “As long as my stocks keep going up, I really don’t care where Willie puts his willie.”
Basically, it comes down to- he lies, he cheats, he steals, and he gets away with it.

I dislike Clinton because of his desire to increase the power and role of government in our lives. I really hate his anti-gun rhetoric.

Most of all, I think that he is a power hungry tyrant who is willing to drive the country into the ground for his personal gain. In other words, he is slightly worse than your average pol.

But I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE him for being a turncoat to the liberals. He has put through many republican initiatives by annexing them as his own! I love that!

I don’t think it has as much to do with Clinton himself as it does that most people enjoy having someone to hate more than they seem to enjoy having someone they can admire. Why this is I’m not sure. Perhaps it is similar to the way some people’s self esteem seems to thrive on making others look less worthy than themselves. In other words they love to hate someone else and talk loudly about another’s shortcomings because they feel somehow it negates theirs. I just think he became a symbol for hypocracy both himself personally and his detractors. No one in this one came out looking good. The people that vehemently condemned him ended up looking every bit as bad as he did if for nothing else than their rabid hatred of him.


That’s a new, um, nickname.
What have they done to deserve that moniker?
Is this about the reports of the ethnic slur Hillary allegedly used?
I usually see people write it Klinton.
I never understood that one either.
Any reason behind that one?

I hate Rush Limbaugh. I checked some of Rush Limbaugh’s claims of Clinton’s supposed contradictions and it turned out that Rush was either lying through his teeth or misinformed. I’m sure that Clinton contradicted himself sometimes but Rush’s lists were not accurate. I, a democrat, listened to Rush for a while to get a taste of the other point of view. I would write stuff down and check it later. I found that he used false info about 1/3 of the time and seriously misleading info about 1/2 the time. It disgusted me. This was from about a two month sample during the campaign(and I didn’t hear every show during that time). Also, the issues I wrote down and checked were all issues I had a question about in the first place, so that would skew the percentages. But it’s disgusting to me that he doesn’t just use all facts because it’s easy to verify and there’s enough to criticize as it is.

I’m ok with Mr. Clinton. I think he’s been mostly ineffectual except on foreign policy where I think he’s done well. I think the one individual most responsible for the economy is Alan Greenspan, originally appointed by Bush I believe. - One of the VERY few things I liked that Bush did. You can’t give Greespan too much credit though. Our economy is booming because of a long, long series of events. It’s like saying Elvis created Rock and Roll.

I don’t like Bill Clinton because I think he has done more than any other president to dishonor the office he holds. I couldn’t give a shit about his personal life, who he sleeps with, how, or when. But he had an obligation to control himself and his baser impulses while in office lest he dishonor the presidency. He didn’t do the former; he did do the latter. He lied to the American public (“I did not have sex with that woman”); he took advantage of his position and its power and prestige to exploit an employee; he refused to take responsibility for his own actions until forced to do so by the media – and he could have avoided the whole thing if he had had the modicum of self-control necessary to keep his pants up.

I am a Republican, and that’s the reason, oddly enough, that I really don’t take issue with his political positions, many of which I strongly disagree with. Of course I disagree with them; I’m on the other end of the political spectrum. I have no problem with him being true to his party ideals and attempting to further a Democratic (capital-D) agenda; I would expect him to. Presidents come and go, and I can’t get too worked up over his policies. But I belief that the damage he has done to the office of the presidency – significantly reducing the respect accorded to it – will be long-lasting and difficult to overcome.

And I don’t want to hear about how Kennedy slep around, Nixon lied, and Reagan exploited his position – the question was why Clinton is hated. I’m not thrilled with those other guys, either.

I’m reading this thread and I guess I believe astorian’s reasoning as to why a subset of the population loathes Mr. Clinton.
This hatred didn’t materialize whole-cloth from l’affaire Lewinisky. If I recall correctly, some peoples wish to destroy him helped to snowball in to impeachment. I remember that some congressmen had impeachment documents drawn up just as the Whitewater investigations were beginning. Hell, he had enemies back in 1990, before he even considered running for president.

What l’affaire Lewinisky did was vindicate those who loathe him, in both that that he’s a bad man and he can get away with anything.

If you are a minority and you think the Clintons are on your side, you are a freaking idiot! Bill & Hillary are just using you. That’s all they know how to do is use people! Hillary should come out and say “yes, I was very upset and made that remark” (you God damn well know she did!) but those people can’t tell the truth. Liars are actually wose than bigots!

I actually think Clinton has been an excellent President. He has done wonderful things for the economy. Personally slimey, yes, but he’s a POLITICIAN, and he is not alone, in fact the slimey ones outnumber the non-slimey one 99-1. Clinton is a target of the Religous right, and they have spread the REALLY virulant hatred of him.

Yes, getting your knob gobbled and lying about it is wrong, but Kennedy & Johnson slept around WAY more than that, not to mention Ike. None of them admitted it, even when asked.
Nor did Clinton actually commit perjury, altho he certainly lied.


I dislike the RR more then I dislike Clinton. I do think the President gets to much credit and blame for the state of the economy. After all every budget proposal made has to be approved by the folks that hold the purse strings which is the House if I’m not mistaken. I feel Clinton is personally and politically slime.

Actually it seems that a federal judge in Arkansas thinks he committed perjury. There’s a good chance that the President will be disbarred after his term is over.


I could care less about the sex life of President Clinton. What he does with his private time is his own business, I don’t think he has to answer to anyone other than his wife and daughter.
I think he has done a good job, and this is the gist of the point. He can’t be criticized about his job so his detractors focused on anything and everything else. The public was led to believe the President was a position that should answer to everyones morals.

The President was grilled again and again but not on his job but his private life. The truth came out that he was adulterous, and the adultery wasn’t the issue. The issue was he did not confess his sins to the congress, never mind if any of them are in an adulterous relationship.

President Clinton should not be hated but admired for doing a great job for eight years. The congress that hates him so much probably wouldn’t want a close examination of their activities. Person who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

For what it is worth…

I do NOT agree with that statement. Bill Clinton did not do anything worse than every other president before him. The only difference is, the press reported it. In the 60’s the press wouldn’t DREAM of reporting JFK’s affairs. Now nobody even turns a hair at it. I personally think the media did more to dishonor the office of the president.
I personally like him cuz he lies and cheats and gets a way with it. Because that means he is good at what he does. He’s a lawyer, he’s a politician, and he’s very intelligent. If he lied and couldn’t get away with it, than he wouldn’t be president.
They are ALL liars, and the people vote for the one who lies the best.

I would have lied to if I was in his shoes. Nobody, not even Congress, as the right to ask me questions about my personal life. And nobody had the right to ask Clinton either. I think the whole thing was a joke.