Paul Greenberg

Conflating the two Clintons is scarcely fair-it wasn't Miss Hillary who admitted to giving false testimony-but it's bound to happen. The two Clintons are as inseparably linked in the public mind as they are in Mr. Geffen's.

That such talk should come from David Geffen, who once enjoyed Bill Clinton's confidence and hospitality, complete with the Lincoln Bedroom treatment, adds authority to what otherwise would have been cocktail party chit-chat. It must have hurt. So much so that the Clinton campaign played the I Am Deeply Offended card, which has become the standard substitute for rebuttal in American political debate.

The Clinton machine wasted no time demanding that Barack Obama's campaign renounce David Geffen's support and give back any funds the Hollywood mogul had raised for Sen. Obama's presidential campaign. Meanwhile, Senator Clinton herself was clambering up to the high ground ("I want to run a positive campaign") and warning against, yes, the Politics of Personal Destruction.

Tell that to Billy Ray Dale of the White House travel office, who had to defend himself against false accusations when the Clinton administration purged that whole office in its opening days.

But that was long ago, and Hillary Clinton has undergone many a makeover since. Now, while her flacks try to blame Barack Obama for Mr. Geffen's broadside, she adopts the above-the-battle stance of any establishment pol when challenged by some upstart. And her campaign staff has learned that, these politically correct days, the best offense is to sound offended.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.