Rich Lowry

In the 1990s, a few lunatics accused President Clinton of murder and other crimes, leading to the coinage of the phrase "Clinton-hating." Thereafter, anyone who said a discouraging word about Clinton's sex-and-lies scandal, his slipperiness with the truth or his poor performance was tarred as a "Clinton-hater" and considered somehow illegitimate. The charge of Clinton-hating, constantly retailed by the media, became one of the most useful tools of the president's defenders.

It is curious, then, that the press, which lately was so sensitive to any "hatred" directed toward a sitting president, has shown no curiosity about the bile routinely directed toward President Bush. Byron York, in the latest National Review, has dipped into the anti-Bush fever swamps and come back with evidence of "Bush-hating" to rival anything directed at his predecessor.

Bush is routinely portrayed as a Nazi on left-wing Web sites, which post pictures of Bush with a Hitler mustache and sell T-shirts with Bush's name spelled with a swastika. The anti-war Web site features a Flash movie complaining that "the media will not tell you of the Bush family Nazi association" and theorizing that in order "to offset their reputation as World War II traitors, former President Bush joined the U.S. Navy as a pilot." (Clever, those Bushes.)

"It's going a bit far to compare the Bush of 2003 to the Hitler of 1933," writes a judicious Dave Lindorff in "Bush and Hitler: The Strategy of Fear" on the left-wing Web site "Bush simply is not the orator that Hitler was. But comparisons of the Bush administration's fear-mongering tactics to those practiced so successfully and with such terrible results by Hitler and Goebbels ... are not at all out of line." Lindorff, a contributor to The Nation magazine and, maintains that Hitler "would be proud that an American president is emulating him in so many ways."

A staple of Clinton-hating in the 1990s was the accusation that he was involved in murder. Clinton defenders often referred to these accusations. Hillary Clinton noted on her famous "Today" show appearance in 1998 that enemies had accused her "husband of committing murder, of drug running." George Stephanopoulos said Clinton's critics were "accusing him of murders. ... That's unheard of." Clinton observed in a 1999 press conference: "I've been accused of murder and all kinds of things."

Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
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