- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 28, 2001

The Democratic Party finds itself in a period of chastisement. I suspect Democrats feel the way St. Bernard, the Abbot of Clairvaux, did almost 900 years ago regarding the effects of a failed crusade: "The enemy has caused the breath of corruption to fly over all regions; we behold nothing but unpunished wickedness … God has sent forth His malediction upon [us.]" St. Bernard was thinking of the infidels. The Democrats, of course, are thinking of Bill Clinton.
Every way they turn, in their unspeakable agony, they find only the choking, stinking fumes caused by the last gasps of Clintonism. And, just as our medieval ancestors, the Democrat Party is turning primitively to self flagellation in a vain effort to expiate its sins. Just listen to them yelp.
Bob Herbert, the New York Times columnist and one of Mr. Clinton's foremost hagiographers wrote this week: "Now, with the stench of yet another scandal polluting the political atmosphere, some of Mr. Clinton's closest associates and supporters are acknowledging what his enemies have argued for years the man is so thoroughly corrupt it is frightening."
CNN's Al Hunt, who for eight long years loyally transcribed the White House talking points no matter how implausible they were calls Mr. Clinton "the Democrats' Albatross" and publicly calls for him to "drop dead." Former President Jimmy Carter, the moral light of Georgia, who maintained his silence through the years of Mr. Clinton's perjury, obstruction of justice, sexual depravity and infidelity now proclaims Mr. Clinton to be "disgraceful."
And, just as terrified sinners fall to their knees in anticipation of Judgment Day, Democratic senators, congressmen, former Cabinet secretaries, White House staffers, lobbyists, political consultants and other Democratic Party grandees are lining up before the cameras to add to the record their ungracious insults of their former president and hero.
These jackals, who for eight years fattened themselves at Mr. Clinton's side when he was their hunter, would now start gnawing on his hindquarters for their own sake. Leading that pack is St. Hillary, the fighting Prioress of Manhattan, who, but for Mr. Clinton probably would be just another burned out, bitter, feminist scratching out a career in the barren world of left-wing interest group politics.
At her press conference late last week, after explaining that she merely passed on, uninspected, sealed packets from favor-seekers, she told the reporters to ask "him" about the pardons: "I'm very disappointed about what's gone on for the last weeks," she said. "It is certainly not how I would have preferred or planned to start my Senate career." She is so self-absorbed that she can only measure Mr. Clinton's conduct by how it is affecting her brilliant career. She expresses no regrets for the country, for justice or even for the lacerating effects of the pardons on her husband's reputation.
I have never felt much sympathy for Mr. Clinton, but I feel even less for the Democrats as they coldly, sordidly attempt to separate themselves from him. For the last week Democrats have been talking about "divorcing" Mr. Clinton. But, unlike the lax matrimonial laws in several of our states, in politics there is no such thing as no-fault divorce. In fact, the very metaphor of divorce is inadequate.
The Democratic Party and the media that supported Mr. Clinton were never his betrothed they were Mr. Clinton's collaborators. They were never bound by vows of loyalty, love or obedience to defend his indefensible behavior over the years. They chose to protect and defend him for their own self-interested reasons.
Like the contemptible citizens of an occupied country, they collaborated with the intruder because it seemed easier and safer than resisting what they knew to be wrong. In villages and towns throughout France after the German occupation of WWII, the female collaborators were herded into the town squares to have their heads shaved. The male collaborators were often shot. Denouncing the Germans after they left was insufficient. When it mattered, the collaborators failed in their duty as patriotic citizens.
The time for the Democratic Party, its media cheerleaders (and a few Republican senators) to have renounced Mr. Clinton was when it mattered when his contemptible presence in our sacred presidency could have been ended. Had Al Gore spoken out after the impeachment, he would not have been found ethically wanting when he sought the office himself. Had the Democratic Party elders told Mr. Clinton it was time for him to go as the Republican Party elders told Nixon a generation ago they would not now be usefully saying what they always knew, but once found it unuseful to express. The odor will not quickly dissipate.
These latter day moralists will find themselves thinking what the murderous Lady Macbeth once said: "Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!"
E-mail: TonyBlankley@erols.com


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