CDS….Question of the day: Why is Andrew Sullivan reduced to a state of semi-coherent frothing when the subject of Bill and Hillary Clinton comes up? I wouldn’t bother asking except that over the past week or so this question has been the subject of numerous emails, listserv conversations, and even on Andrew’s blog itself. It is a mystery.

I don’t know the answer, but here’s what seems most mysterious to me. Obviously lots of people suffer from Clinton Derangement Syndrome. That’s not news. But over the past couple of years Andrew has practically scourged himself senseless over the fact that he got sucked into the hubristic and self-absorbed neocon dream of revolution in the Middle East. He plainly recognizes the danger of being dragged down into that particular fever swamp. What’s more, over the past few months he’s argued that one of the biggest problems facing the country is the “Christianist right” and its interminable inflaming of 60s-era culture war politics.

And yet, he’s somehow unable to see that his own visceral loathing of the Clintons — who are in truth fairly ordinary politicians — is the product of precisely the same two things that he so reviles in present circumstances. He can see how the toxic stew they bred warped his thinking over the past few years, but not how the exact same pair of pathologies so obviously warped his thinking during the 90s.

But I don’t know. Disliking the Clintons for one reason or another: sure, that’s easy to grasp. But during the 90s I never got CDS. I just flat never got it. Obviously I understand the explanations that I’ve read since then, but on a pure gut level it left me mystified then and it leaves me mystified still. For my money, the problem with the Clintons is that they’re too pragmatic, too centrist, and too accomodating. Where the white-hot hatred emanates from remains an enigma.

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