Ezra Klein dredges up the famous Sally Quin article expressing her Establishmentarian loathing of Bill Clinton even as the country was clearly signaling that they were more interesting in the President’s impact on the economy, their health care, etc. than in his sex life.
The remarkable thing about the article, though, is what it isn’t. As in, at the end of the day it’s not an incredibly revealing piece of journalism that accidentally explains what really drives these people. I just read it through twice and it remains . . . incredibly opaque. She expends thirteen graphs explicating Point 2 THE LYING OFFENDS THEM but Bush lying doesn’t offend them at all. And, again, she says people were upset because “they feel Washington has been brought into disrepute by the actions of the president” but this is circular — its cogency depends on the view that Bill Clinton cheating on his wife was morally worse than Ronald Reagan sponsoring deadly acts of terrorism in Central America, it doesn’t explain the view.
Nor does Quinn’s column so much as broach obvious questions like why is JFK revered if Presidential infidelity so damn awful? Or how come nobody cares about all these divorced politicians? Like the press corps’ view that George W. Bush, dim-witted recovering alcoholic and religious fanatic, was someone they’d “like to have a beer with” it just makes no sense on any level.