During his presidency, and afterwords, Bill Clinton was a frequent target of humor in the satirical newspaper The Onion. As is often the case with The Onion's brand of humor, the articles featuring Bill Clinton often had very little to do with the actual, historical Bill Clinton or the political issues of his presidency, but instead feature stories that could be about an average person.
Although the portrayal was not consistent throughout the years, there are several Onion articles ("Clinton Blows Paycheck", "Clinton Calls for National Week off to Get Shit Together", "Clinton Googles Self", "Clinton has a case of Senioritis", "Gore Already Regretting Promise to help Clinton Move Out", for some examples) that portray Bill Clinton as an average, goofy guy. This is of course not exclusive to Clinton, one of the Onion's humor hallmarks is to write about official government figures as if they were normal people (just as it writes about common people and everyday happenings in the stilted vocabulary of the newsmedia). However, with Clinton, it is especially significant because it seems to reflect the image a great many people have of Clinton.
In the recent year, much of the opposition to the Iraq War has been based around people's personal vitriol to George W Bush and his Texas cowboy imagery. While there is some truth to this, much of the Iraq war, including the doctrine of regime change, was laid down in the Clinton administration.
Despite the fact that his administration pursued about the same amount of realpolitik as any administration in the past sixty years, many people on the left and right still view Bill Clinton as bubba, the left with affection, and the right with anger.
I wonder to what part The Onion has helped in shaping people of my age groups understanding of Bill Clinton. Upon reflection, I realize that for me, a lot of what I think of Clinton has been shaped by articles in the Onion. I really do think he is the type of person who would go to a convenience store and buy Yosemite Sam mudflaps? I really do think he is like a cheerful yet irresponsible uncle. Perhaps this image is something we should all investigate in our minds, since Clinton is many things, including a Rhodes Scholar, a person probably suffering from sexual compulsion, and a very ambitious politician. A far cry from the simplistic image of a chubby, easygoing Southern man.