Should Mormons hate Bill Clinton?

Steve Olsen

It seems odd that after all these years, and after most of America has gotten over it , lots of Latter-day Saints seem to have a dark spot in their hearts for President Clinton.

Part of this is partisanship. It's also true that we never really bought into the story that his personal weaknesses were irrelevant. The man undeniably has his faults. But is the continued hatred justified?

I could talk here about forgiveness. He wronged his wife, and she has apparently forgiven him. But here's the more important point:

If Mitt Romney were presented in my next sacrament meeting as my new bishop, I'd enthusiastically raise my hand in affirmation. He appears to be a good family man and a faithful Latter-day Saint. But we are not electing a bishop. We're electing a President.

Bill Clinton had his faults, but he was undeniably an effective steward of the nation during his eight years. America prospered under his leadership. He was an effective President, and so has some authority on the best course for America's future.

He is also one of the smartest, well informed Americans of our generation, and is without peer in his ability to understand wonkish, complicated policy issues and explain it to the rest of us in plain English. He used that skill Thursday night as he made a devastating critique of Republican economic policy, showing it to be an empty shell supported by rhetoric and ideology but with no substance.

The man has important things to say about the future of our country. I think it is very short sighted when we ignore voices of reason just because we dislike someone. The rest of the nation has moved on; Clinton has the highest approval rating of any living former President. Even Paul Ryan is saying kind things about him and his time in office. Let's get over it, people.

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