PERSPECTIVErnFrom White House to Blockhousernby Thomas FlemingrnBill Clinton is the American icon, whose face is rapidlyrneclipsing both the prohle of the heroic young Kennedy andrnthe simpering grin of Jimmy Carter—the presidential imagesrnthat until recently symbolized victory and despair for Democratsrnand something else for Republicans. It was understandablernif, in the early 60’s, Republicans could not appreciate thernKennedy charm. If only Americans knew the truth, they mustrnhave felt, about this womanizing son of a rum-runner, theyrnwould not make the mistake of yoting for him a second time.rnPediaps they were right. In those days, there may well havernbeen American citizens who cared enough about the intellectualrnand moral qualities of their leaders to take up their pitchforksrnand drive Mordred and Guinevere from Camelot.rnThere is no excuse for this kind of fantas today. Ever sincern1992, conservative journalists have been telling me that Clintonrnwould end up impeached and indicted. The London SundayrnTelegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who had the goodsrnon Bill long before any American reporter, confidently predictedrnhe would be out by 1994. Unfortunately, the rugged honestyrnof 18th-century Americans is stored in a museum of moralrnhistory along with chaste women, chivalrous gentlemen, andrnthe complete works of Parson Weems. If Clinton had beenrnGeorge Washington, he would have turned the cherry treerninto gunstocks to sell to the Indians and spent the profits in arnbrothel. Confronted by his father, he would have pinned therncrime on his mother and run for office on a platform promisingrnprice supports for fruit-growers and civil rights for children andrnNative Americans.rnAlmost the entire summer was consumed by the President’srn”ethical” problems. Senator Thompson’s investigations intornClinton’s ties with the two Chinas were, unfortunatch’, complicatedrnby the Republicans’ Asian skeletons in their ownrnfundraismg closet. Still, the only conservative books to make arnstir were exposes of the first family. Enough dirt has been unearthedrnto turn Arizona into a potato farm, and yet Clintonrnkeeps smiling. His smile only deepened when House Republicansrnwere dumb enough to stage a coup against Speaker Gingrichrn(haven’t they heard about not dividing your forces in thernface of the enemy?) and then lose.rnIt is not that no one cares. Obviously, many Americans thinkrnClinton is the worse thing to happen to this country sincernFranklin Roosevelt, but how many people even know who FDRrnwas or what he did? Most of us might even enjoy the spectaclernof Bill and Hillary being dragged through the mud, not becausernwe are virtuous republicans but for the same reason that wernread the tabloids. Like most slaves, we are content to lick ourrnmaster’.s boots until the day he needs our help. When he fallsrnfrom power, we loot his house and insult his wife. We strip thernsheets off his deathbed even before the corpse is cold.rnPresidents are our masters. They know it, and we know it.rnThey rule b right of popular will instead of the will of God, butrnthey rule nonetheless. This was not the intention of the menrnwho fought in the bloody war of secession from the Englishrncrown. At the Constitutional Convention, Alexander Hamiltonrnwas suspected of harboring monarchist sentiments, but arnHamiltonian monarch would have been a very Whiggish kindrnof king, more like George II than either his son or his Stuart predecessors.rnFor all his faults, Flamilton was no friend to atjsolutism.rnHe favored a broadly republican regime directed by representativesrnof a dedicated aristocracy. A strong executive was arnnecessity, if only as a symbolic representative of the dixersernstates and communities that were cobbling together arn10/CHRONICLESrnrnrn