I'd have had to have voted for the scoundrel to feel betrayed by him; I didn't, and I don't. Offhand, I can't think of anyone, except maybe Chelsea Clinton, who really has the right to feel betrayed, in the sense of once having trusted and later realizing that trust was abused. Consider:
Hillary? She knew what she was getting into, at least from the moment Gennifer Flowers pimped her story to the supermarket tabloids. And she'd have had to be both blind and stupid to have not at least suspected one of the myriad stories about her husband held some particle of truth.
Al Gore? CNN's Bill Schneider acutely noted that "Al Gore is locked in the trunk of Clinton's car." Of course it should be added that in 1992, One-Heartbeat-Away didn't exactly have to be pulled kicking and screaming into that car.
The American people? The one-quarter who voted for him knew what they were getting. The one-quarter who voted for his opponents suspected all along. And the roughly one-half who didn't vote at all can be held neither responsible nor blameless for the fact that our Republicratic system offers basically two choices, both in shiny packages pushed by aggressive ads, of products that are still ultimately just sugar-water.
In fact, the storm of betrayal seems centered almost exclusively on Capitol Hill, around think tanks, and in big-city newsrooms where a storm always boosts ratings or circulation. Those few protesting they are outraged - simply outraged - by Clinton's licentious behavior aren't feeling betrayed. They're expressing mortification because they got suckered.
Clinton's presidency now looks like one long scam, with the only payoff being that he gets to be president. He has shown no sincere interest in wielding the power of that office for any purpose other than that it is his. His cornerstone health-care plan was abandoned almost as soon as it was born, to Hillary's secret advisory committees, to congressional horse-trading, to unanswered attack ads, to creeping public indifference as economic recovery set in.
His other "achievements" were either natural outcomes of the economic cycle (balanced budget), initiated before he took office (NAFTA and GATT), implemented in forms no other Democrat would accept (welfare reform), or forced upon him by external developments (Bosnia). No progress has been made on America's Brobdingnagian debt, while U.S. military entanglements stretch farther around the globe than ever.
And as chief executive officer of the world's only superpower, the most powerful man on Earth, leader of what humorist P.J. O'Rourke called "the only undefeated socioeconomic system in the league," Bill Clinton still has time in the Oval Office to tryst with a 20-something intern for a hummer.
That's not betrayal you smell wafting over the land. That's shame and disgust, tempered by the embarrassed realization that we've all been had. Clinton's poll numbers remain strong in part because of the economy (watch this space), but also because marks don't relish confessing (especially to the told-you-so chorus of the Rabid Right) that they've been taken.
For his part, Clinton seems content to hang on, humiliated, useless impeachment-bait, come what may. His inner circle - Hillary, Al - will hang with him if not because they are complicit then out of hope that they may yet salvage something from the experience. Yet as always, larger forces are at work. Dittoheads scoff at the notion that Clinton's scandals may be reflected in our stuttering stock market and world market woes. They so far neglect to consider the reverse effect. Richard Nixon stepped down in 1974 on the cusp of a global recession, the first of three that rolled over the U.S. economy during the following eight years. Perhaps Hillary should ask her psychic to tune this channel for some insight.