After that debacle, Hillary retreated into a more traditional first lady role for a while. Or so we thought. Now we're told that she was really a dynamo behind the scenes. Like that old "Saturday Night Live" skit in which Ronald Reagan was an amiable dunce in front of the cameras but a Patton-like commander in chief behind closed doors, the revisionist history of Hillary Clinton is that she was involved in everything, including dropping into the Balkans under sniper fire to conduct cowboy diplomacy. Or something like that.
It's worth recalling that during the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton also tried to make any criticism of his wife unacceptable. When rival candidate Jerry Brown accused Bill of funneling money to Hillary's Arkansas law practice, Bill snapped: "You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You're not worth being on the same platform as my wife."
If Brown had accused Clinton of funneling money to someone else, say Hillary's colleague Webster Lee Hubbell, the vein-popping outrage wouldn't have worked. There's just something about wives that make husbands go all gallant. Trust me, I know.
But gallantry has to take a backseat when your wife is riding shotgun. Indeed, there might even be something sexist in all of this, somewhere. After all, no one thinks that criticizing Hillary's husband is "unacceptable."
Americans don't know Barack Obama very well. Part of the election process is getting to know the candidates. All politicians are desperate to control that process, but the rest of us aren't on their campaign staff and are under no obligation to follow orders.
Michelle Obama says some fascinating, substantive things. She appears to have a gloomy opinion of America, for instance, a country apparently full of desperate, isolated people whose only hope lies in an Obama presidency.
I, for one, want to hear more from her, and she seems perfectly willing to oblige. But if I don't like what she has to say, I reserve the right to say so, whether her husband finds it acceptable or not.