The Clinton Puzzle: Why Do Liberals Love Him So?

Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2000.

Liberals love Bill Clinton; conservatives loathe him. No surprise there, some might say. Yet if one considers any number of things Mr. Clinton has done over the past decade, something of a puzzle emerges.

After all, Mr. Clinton brought Trent Lott’s political consultant, Dick Morris, into the White House and faithfully executed his strategy of “triangulation.” The result was the marginalization and demoralization of liberal Democrats in Congress. The president declared the end of “big government” and signed legislation ending the federal welfare entitlement. He joined Republicans in pushing through both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Mr. Clinton retained the Republican-appointed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He successfully pressed for trade policies with China that were favored by U.S. business interests and bitterly opposed by labor and human-rights activists. He signed the Defense of Marriage Act, proposed a victims’ rights amendment to the Constitution and promoted school uniforms. He aggressively supported the death penalty, even staging a high-profile return to Arkansas in the middle of the 1992 New Hampshire primary to sign a warrant to execute Ricky Ray Rector, a brain-damaged death-row inmate….

Wall Street Journal