It's a little late for New Year's resolutions, but I'll make one anyway. I swear that I will never again write anything even mildly critical of the heroic President Clinton or his brilliant wife.
This is the first time I've taken such an oath and it isn't easy because I have been sniping at presidents -- Republicans and Democrats -- since Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House.
But I'm calling it quits because I cannot endure the shrill shrieks of Clinton's liberal Democrat admirers.
Their furious howls are far worse than anything I ever heard from the conservative Republican supporters of Ronald Reagan, the tight-lipped hisses from George Bush's fans, or even the raspy snarls of Richard Nixon's crowd.
The Nixonites and Reaganites were big on the word "ilk," as in: "You and your liberal media ilk, who are trying to lead this country into the hands of the communists . . ." etc., etc.
I couldn't take offense at being called an "ilk." My wife has called me far worse.
The Bushies were more restrained, as was their hero. When they were angry, they'd say something like: "You and others in the liberal media are just jealous because you are not a fine, upstanding, decent person like George Bush . . ."
And how could I take offense at that, since those who know me are aware that I am not fine, upstanding or decent, and have never even given these virtues a whirl?
Ah, but the liberal Democrats -- they come at you with dripping fangs.
"You and all of your filthy-rich right-wing Republican bastard pals . . ." is the way one of them began. And she ended it with, "In your greed, you want to keep the working class down and your pockets stuffed."
How quickly a person can change. In almost a twinkle of time, I have been transformed from part of the liberal media ilk to a filthy-rich right-wing Republican bastard. It's the fastest switcheroo since the old Wolfman movies.
And there is the man who wrote: "It is obvious that you are doing the bidding of your fat-cat Republican employers. I once had respect for you. But now I see you are nothing but another journalistic whore. Why don't you just hang it up, retire? You are worse than a senile burnout -- you are a senile sellout."
The only people who might be more surprised by that would be my employers, who have never once offered a suggestion as to what I should write. Not even one word, when I was counting Ronald Reagan's naps or trying to read George Bush's lips.
Another Clintonite wrote: "Where were you when Spiro Agnew was . . ." And he went on to list Agnew's sins.
Where was I? Agnew once invited me to his hotel suite to tell me that I was a dumb, misguided, unread, pinko fool. As politely as I could, I told him he was a double-talking, dishonest, bigoted national embarrassment. Having cleared the air, we had a few drinks and swapped political gossip. That's what makes the job fun.
Even Agnew, hidden from public sight in Palm Springs, might be surprised at my personality change.
So would Mario Cuomo, who was my personal choice for president, although he was detested by conservatives.
And how did I do a Wolfman switch from part of the liberal ilk to rotten, low-down Republican lackey?
It wasn't Whitewater, since I have admitted I don't understand what it's all about.
Nor do I feel threatened, as many feminists have suggested, because Hillary Clinton is a strong, intelligent woman who has genuine power. My mother, my wife, my two older sisters, my first editor and many of my associates were or are strong, intelligent women. I hire strong, intelligent women. Strong, intelligent women are my kind of dolls.
On the other hand, I am not a weepy Alan Alda type. But few men are perfect.
What seems to have brought on all of this liberal animosity is my doubts that the Clintons are what they led us to believe.
On the one hand, they pushed the idea that anyone who made any money during the 1980s was greedy, crooked and an exploiter of the weak and helpless.
Actually, in every decade in our history, there are those who made money by being greedy and crooked. But most people who have a surplus in the bank did it through hard work and/or smarts.
So I merely pointed out that the Clintons -- while posing as part of the underclass -- had stashed it away back in Arkansas with as much greedy zest as the next hustler. When was the last time you -- or anyone else -- turned $1,000 into $100,000 by betting on cattle futures?
And I questioned the way the Clintons stretched the tax laws by inflating the value of the underwear he gave to second-hand shops. True, it didn't represent big money. But it is what the tax experts call an "aggressive" interpretation of the tax laws.
Now it turns out that the Clintons once forgot to tell the IRS about several thousand dollars that Hillary picked up in her cattle wizardry. So they have finally paid up.
But because I have taken an oath not to be critical of them, I'm not going to ask how the heck a couple of Yale-educated lawyers forgot to list $6,000 in trading profits on their tax return.
If I did, some liberal would instantly shriek at me that it could happen to anyone. Doesn't everybody forget to list $6,000 on their tax returns?
And they're probably right. I'll have to ask my accountant if he can develop any sweet memory lapses.
I think he's liberal and might understand.