The Clinton years were a time of peace, prosperity and standing up for the rights of minorities. If the new Clinton library is anywhere near as successful as the Clinton administration, Little Rock has happy times ahead.
Those who are confident that the library will attract hordes of free-spending visitors and distinguished scholars — especially the former — follow the example of Clinton himself, who certainly has no doubts in the matter. When Ronald Reagan died, the pundits exhausted themselves talking about what a great optimist he was. Clinton was, and is, no slouch in the optimism department, either. All his life, he has expected that things will turn out well, and usually they have. Voters responded to his sunny certitude that good ultimately prevails over evil. (Our faith, if not his, is a little strained at the moment.)
That Clinton retained this rosy outlook throughout his presidency is even more remarkable than Reagan’s focus on the bright side. Reagan didn’t endure the kind of vicious attacks that the right-wing media launched on Clinton, nor the no-quarter hostility from the opposing party that was Clinton’s lot. His casual high spirits will be an asset to his wife, not as ebullient as he, if she runs for president. A Hillary candidacy will evoke the same kind of fury from the Far Right that her husband’s did.
For a time at least, we can all be Clintonians. It’s easy to be hopeful about the future when the downtown improvements that have already occurred because of the library are so vividly apparent. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow, as the man himself would say.
?Fulminating in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, among other papers, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote on Nov. 15 that the “liberal elite” had seized on “the myth of the Bigoted Christian Redneck” concerned only with “moral values,” to explain the Democrats’ defeat. He named columnists at the New York Times as among the worst offenders, and proceeded to debunk the myth and mock those who repeated it. That same day, the liberal Progress Report was writing on-line, “Conservatives have seized on the notion that the ‘moral values’ of the religious right determined the recent election. As [liberal columnist] Frank Rich of the New York Times points out, however, ‘There’s only one problem with the storyline proclaiming that the country swung to the right on cultural issues in 2004 … it is fiction.’ ” So, no bigoted Christian rednecks here. If there were such a thing, though, we suspect he might be found on the campus of Bob Jones University, whose president wrote to President Bush on Nov. 3, “In your re-election, God has graciously granted America — though she doesn’t deserve it — a reprieve from the agenda of paganism.”