The Clintons: They're your problem

Posted: Jun 14, 2003 12:00 AM

While I continually read and am constantly told that conservatives have a problem with the Clintons, I think it is more accurate to say that Democrats do.
Because many of us on the right were highly critical of the blameless Clintons during their joint, two-term regime, some on the left -- especially my liberal e-mail critics -- assume we are personally obsessed with them.

 We Clinton detractors (the non-Kool-Aid drinkers) don't even have to say anything negative about the Clintons in order to be reprimanded for doing so. Just mentioning them at all is irrefutable proof of our unhealthy fixation.

 But when they insist on continuing to insinuate themselves into the public arena, there is a point beyond which we should resist the temptation not to comment -- no matter how much it may reveal about our neurosis.

 And they both do -- ad nauseam. Not long ago, Sir Bill was lamenting that wretched 22nd Amendment, which bars him from a third term and rescues us from the problems directly associated with his absence from office. Can you imagine Bill at the helm post 9-11? At the risk of incurring further charges of Clinton-phobia, I must confess that I shudder at the thought.

 As for Hillary and her book, I doubt I'll read it. And, at the risk of being accused of Clinton-dementia, I'll tell you why. Over the decade or so that I've observed Hillary Clinton I've come to conclude that she is neither an open nor truthful person. Thus, the book will either be dull or dishonest, either of which will make it unworthy of reading.

 I don't need to read it to know that. From what I've read about the book and seen of her interviews I know she is still peddling the whopper that she was shocked to find that Bill had broken his marital vows. It would be one thing for her to be discreet and refuse to talk about it. But she's exploiting it for book profits and her future political career. (This is the same lady who saved Bill's failing presidential campaign by telling a similar, premeditated doozy about Bill and Gennifer Flowers on "60 Minutes." You will recall he was later exposed by his own voice on an audiotape telling Jennifer to deny everything -- kind of like he did later with Monica.) But neither audiotapes nor DNA are sufficient to apprise the smartest woman in the world.

 What's annoying about these lies is that Hillary portrays herself as a victim. She not only is not a victim, she is a co-conspirator. She has known longer than any of us about Bill's proclivities -- period. No reasonable person can contend otherwise. And while some might argue she has a right not to volunteer that "private" information, does she also have a right to bring up the subject herself and then lie about it solely to promote his and her political ambitions?

 While Hillary and Bill are distasteful to many of us on the right, we don't have nearly the problem with them that Democrats do, on several fronts. First, Bill will simply not get off the stage. (His inability to abide by the unwritten rules of deportment for former presidents regarding criticism of the sitting president is objectionable to conservatives -- and ought to be to fair-minded liberals.)

 But when his addiction to the spotlight leads him to release his memoirs in 2004 at the very time Democratic presidential candidates are vying for the public's attention, he becomes the Democrats' problem. And they recognize it, and some have said so publicly.

 The same goes for Hillary, who is Bill's equal when it comes to putting personal interests above those of their party and nation. My belief is that they will do whatever they deem necessary to achieve their mutual goal of restoring the Clinton presidency -- a goal so strong as to provide cohesiveness to a marriage of expedience that would otherwise have ended long ago. That means doing everything they can to situate Hillary for a 2008 run -- including gleefully sending to sacrificial slaughter whichever Democrat can capture the nomination -- both of them realizing that she would have no prayer to beat Bush in 2004.

 Those are just a few of the reasons I regard the Clintons as a bigger long-term problem for Democrats than Republicans. You see, I still don't think she can ever win the presidency, because too many people realize that she, just like her husband, does not possess the requisite character for the highest office in the land. And post-9-11, at least, that matters again.