Q&A Friday #71: Why Do Average Americans Idolize Bill Clinton?

Question: “Your post titled ‘Has Someone Got Pics Of The Big Dog Without His Pants?’ raises a question in my mind that I really need an answer to. What has Bill Clinton done that commands such loyalty, such syncophantal adoration? I’m not talking about the people that have benefited from any personal connection to him. I’m talking about the average guy on the street that idolizes him.” — elo

Answer: Honestly, I don’t know that they do idolize him.

He’s a charismatic guy, he seems like the sort of person you could have a great time with at a ball game or restaurant, and additionally, I think a lot of Americans thought the GOP went way overboard in going after him.

Because of all those things, he’s well liked. Furthermore, because of his charisma and because he was the last Democrat to win the presidency, he’s the heaviest hitter in a political party that really doesn’t have a lot of popular figures to call on. That’s why he’s good at raising money, influential in his party, and a lot of Democrats defend him when the GOP tees off on him.

That being said, I don’t think that the American people have any sort of deep seated respect and affection for the man.

The liberals reflexively defend him, as much as anything, out of dislike for the right. Conservatives can’t stand Clinton. Moderates? They may think he is a likeable guy, but I doubt if there are many of them who would support a policy or candidate just on his say-so.

There’s a difference between liking a person and respecting a person. I’m of the opinion that the American people do like Clinton, but they don’t respect or idolize him.

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