Bill Clinton was the most divisive US president since World War II, and this is ironic. Republican strategists often aim to set parts of the electorate at odds with others①, but that was never Clinton's intention. He is by nature a unifier, a man who enjoys people in all their diversity and who very much likes -- indeed needs -- to be liked by them. There are plenty of Americans who adore him, but there is another group, almost as large, who find his charm repellent, nauseating, toxic. People tend to love him or loathe him, and the middle ground is thinly populated. Richard Nixon, another divisive president, was widely reviled, but it would be hard to say that his supporters "adored" him. Unlike Clinton, he wasn't a warm man, much less a cuddly one, and he was devoid of charm.
Clinton continues to be one of the most important figures in American politics today, certainly the most influential Democratic politician. He is still young: he turns 58 on 19 August and is actually a month younger than George W. Bush. (John Kerry was born in 1943, John Edwards in 1953; Vice President Cheney is two years older than Kerry.) Since leaving office Clinton has slimmed down a good deal, and thanks to energetic lecturing and a lucrative deal with the publishers of his memoirs, he has paid off all his legal debts from the scandals that dogged his presidency. His wife Hillary is a senator from a key state, New York, and though she is anything but②her husband's puppet, her career is another factor keeping the ex-president in the thick of politics.
But no matter how youthful and popular he is, Clinton cannot be president again. The 22nd amendment to the US Constitution, passed by irritated Republicans after Franklin Roosevelt's 15 years in the White House (1933-45), sets a limit of two four-year terms for presidents. As David Horsey's cartoon shows, however, this does not keep Democrats from daydreaming. Clinton made a huge splash at the Democratic Party convention that wrapped in Boston last week. Kerry's advisors had to struggle to keep him (and his wife) from inadvertently stealing the show.
What does Horsey think of the Democrats' fascination with Clinton? Obviously he is amused, but there is a critical edge③to the cartoon: a hint of something Monica Lewinski-like in the lustful Democratic donkey. The title ForbiddenLove suggests the world of soap opera and adolescent melodrama. The cartoonist seems to imply that if the Dems really mean to get Kerry (sigh) elected in November, they'd better snap out of it④.(听英文53581,文章注释535811)