An unexpected love letter to the Clintons: Why this Republican misses them

By Emily Mabey Swensen

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 7 2012 3:31 p.m. MST

As a moderate Republican, today I find myself longing for a Clinton White House —either the Bill or Hillary variety. If it has to be a Dem, I'd rather it be one of 'dem. Though his personal morality was deplorable, Bill Clinton was an old-fashioned kind of politician who seemed to feel he should at least pretend to court the red half of the country. As much as I disliked him, I felt he conveyed some desire to win over people like me. From Hillary I felt it even more, especially in her run for president.

Barack Obama is a new generation of politician — the paternalistic kind who clicks his tongue in dismay at my woefully misguided views, then pats me on the head and tells me to run along and play while he and the other grown-ups take care of the country. I don't get any sense of him wasting a single thought on the views held by that vast red swath of country in the middle. Naw, we're just dumb kids — no need to pretend he cares what we think. Just lay down the law, the "Better Way," and haul us around by the collar 'till we see the error of our ways.

And Michelle? She's no Hillary. If Hillary made Bill slightly more tolerable, Michelle does the opposite for her husband. She reminds me of a friend I had who always used to say, "Look at my husband! Isn't he hot?? Isn't he the best husband EVER?!"

Awkward. Get a room. That's how I feel when I hear Michelle fawn over her husband on "Access Hollywood" — or "The View," "Entertainment Tonight" or any one of those other important news shows she's always on. Is she wondering about the huge sections of the country that went red last night? Um, no. If we don't think Barack is all that, we are so clueless and uncool we are not on speaking terms with her.

So give me Bill and Hillary — heck, even give me Ted Kennedy. I know. I never thought I'd say it, either. But give me the old blue guard who pretended to give a darn about me.

Emily Mabey Swensen is an editor at familyhow.com. She has an MA in Writing & Publishing from Emerson College in Boston.

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