From Marshall's Wednesday post (emphasis added):
But we do have a resounding counter-factual always ready at hand: Bill Clinton.
...[S]uffice it to say that if Republicans have gone batshit crazy on President Obama, it's pretty hard to distinguish the intensity of the crazy from what happened with President Clinton. Bribery, multiple murders, rapes, defections to Russia, endless would be "-gates" rising and falling like bubbles in the international economy before settling down as penny stock scandals with a permanent home at the American Spectator. There was no end of the Crazy. And much of it was aggrieved and intense in ways that today we'd find very familiar.
But if the intensity is comparable, the character seems different. There's a dimension of racial animus today lacking in the Clinton days...
But Bill Clinton may not be quite the counterfactual he may seem. Remember Toni Morrison's line about Bill Clinton being the 'first black president'...
Morrison...was talking about how Clinton was treated - the way he was stalked, convicted long before any wrongdoing was or even might be found, even having his body figuratively stripped naked and his sexuality put on vivid display before the whole country.
American demography is dramatically different than it was 22 years ago when President Clinton was first elected. The Democratic Party is now demonstrably a multiracial party, with at best a bit more than 50 percent of its votes coming from whites, facing off against a party that is now overwhelmingly white. To whatever extent opposition to President Obama is racial, it's not only because he's black himself, it's because he's the leader of the party that is the institutional representative of black people. Indeed, in a way that wasn't nearly so clear 22 years ago, the Democratic Party now disproportionately represents African-Americans, Hispanics, East Asians and South Asians. It's the most visible force in American political life that stands for an America that looks a lot more like the current Democratic Party than the current Republican Party.