Diana West

A few weeks ago, I went rummaging through my attic looking for a box of books. Not just any box of books: my Clinton books. Or, should I say, given the range and number of tomes, my Clinton library.

I'd tucked it all away sometime after 9/11 when a burgeoning collection on Islam needed shelf space. Being able to reach for "What the Koran Really Says" by Ibn Warraq, say, and not chapter and verse on Clinton corruption, was suddenly an obvious priority. We were at war, yes, but there was some consolation in the fact that our long national nightmare -- the Clintons -- was over. At least it was safe to pack away the books. Temporarily.

We are still at war, but, like a recurring dream, the Clintons -- or, as Mark Levin pointedly prefers, "the Clinton crime family" -- is back, the missus now leading in their well-worn slot at the focal point of national politics. But there is something missing this time around. Something colossal.

That something is their past -- the Clinton past of political malfeasance and corruption. I'm not just talking about Bill's impeachment, although that's part of it, what with Hillary's never-revised contention that "a vast right-wing conspiracy" was behind all her husband's political travails. But I refer also to the commonplace lies and routine treachery the American people were confronted with, subjected to and degraded by over two Clinton terms. In other words, the Clinton past is our past as well -- the history of every American who lived through those years. And it has gone missing. To behold this presidential election cycle, it seems as if the entire nation has metaphorically put their Clinton libraries in their attics.

The resulting gap in national discourse keeps presenting itself to me, particularly when called on to discuss Mrs. Clinton just as though she were an ordinary presidential candidate -- someone with a modest Senate record and a keen interest in political affairs, weighing in on the events of the day.

She's not. There's not only all that shameful Clinton "baggage," but all those questions about what's inside that baggage, questions she has never, ever acknowledged, let alone answered. It's as though Hillary Clinton believes she has no past to reckon with; no broken trust to mend; no reason to acknowledge that, to name one example, amassing hundreds of FBI files of Reagan and Bush (I) officials for political use in the White House is a Bad Thing, even if neither she nor anyone else in the White House was actually indicted for it. And it's as though everyone else agrees.

Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).