One of the refreshing things about the contest this year on the Democratic side is that we are finally seeing the Clintons receive the scrutiny that they ought to have had during the time Bill Clinton was running and serving as president.
Of course, much of the critiques you'll hear are about Hillary Clinton not being sufficiently leftish. Not all are of this nature, though. Under an increasingly unfair barrage of attacks from Bill Clinton, Barack Obama has finally begun to speak out. In the process, as the Wall Street Journal notes today, Obama's lent credibility (at least in the minds of liberal reporters who never believed the conservatives who've said the same all along) to the charges that the Clintons get away with things that would be considered unacceptable for anyone else:
One of our favorite Bill Clinton anecdotes involves a confrontation he had with Bob Dole in the Oval Office after the 1996 election. Mr. Dole protested Mr. Clinton's attack ads claiming the Republican wanted to harm Medicare, but the President merely smiled that Bubba grin and said, "You gotta do what you gotta do."
We're reminded of that story listening to Barack Obama protest his treatment by the now ex-President Clinton on behalf of his wanna-be-President wife. "You know the former President, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Mr. Obama told a TV interviewer. "He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts -- whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas."
Now he knows how the rest of us feel.
The Illinois Senator is still a young man, but not so young as to have missed the 1990s. He nonetheless seems to be awakening slowly to what everyone else already knows about the Clintons, which is that they will say and do whatever they "gotta" say or do to win. Listen closely to Mr. Obama, and you can almost hear the echoes of Bob Dole at the end of the 1996 campaign asking, "Where's the outrage?"
This has been the core of the conservative critique of the Clintons for years. So it is illuminating to hear the same critique coming from Mr. Obama and his supporters now that his candidacy poses a threat to the return of the Clinton dynasty. Even Democrats are now admitting the Clintons don't tell the truth -- at least until Mrs. Clinton wins the nomination.