For the Republicans, worthy or not, Hillary and Bubba are the gift that keeps on giving. Whoever is responsible for writing the thank-you notes has a big job ahead. The dynamic duo keep a network of warehouses just to house and keep track of the gifts. No wonder Hillary needs her own Internet server.
Recent gifts have established Hillary as fully the equal of Bubba as a fount of scandal and calumny. Hillary’s scandals are about grubbing for cash, and Bubba was more fun as the bane of nymphs, striking with his pants at his ankles, which many voters — but by no means all — thought was tacky and beneath the dignity of the presidency. Bubba’s final years in office were the stuff of an unscripted reality show, and it had very high ratings. Who could write a better final scene than a presidential impeachment trial?
Hillary, on the one hand, is merely the queen of the light-fingered grubbers, advancing from dealing Bubba’s discarded underwear to eager charities, en route to striking it rich peddling $500,000 speeches that carry the promise of future access to the levers of presidential power. Some speech brokers predict that her inaugural address, if she is elected to succeed Barack Obama, could net a cool million dollars if she can figure out a way to get the U.S. Treasury to cut the check. Her lawyers are no doubt working on it.
Hillary reckons that since her scandals are about money, boodling and loopholes in the law that few of the great unwashed can understand, she will soon be able to dismiss them as harmless “old news.” Indeed, many in the army of lawyers in the nation’s capital don’t understand all the fine print that entangles parties of the first part with parties of the second part, either. But everyone in Washington, including those charged with dealing with fine print, understand that some of the squiggles and feints in her machinations are beginning to smell bad, and the longer they lie marinating in the sun of a campaign, like the one hard upon us, the worse they’ll smell.
Bubba’s scandals, on that other hand, were about temptations wrapped in silk, satin and lace. Everyone, even the curious in cotton drawers, understand such invitations to hank-panky. Just when the Clintons thought they were safe at last from stirring up the sexually sordid memories of unhappy times of yesteryear, a London newspaper with an enormous Internet following brings Paula Jones back by popular demand. An entire generation now emerging for the polling booth has never heard of the iconic Ms. Jones, who was the first of so many women in Bubba’s life that he had to appoint an aide charged with dealing with what the White House called “bimbo eruptions.”
Ms. Jones, now 48 and a demure and respectable housewife in Little Rock, was a clerk in the Arkansas state government when she met Bubba, who was then merely the governor of a state that many Americans found hard to place on the map. Arkansas, a wondrous land of the magic huckleberry whose native sons are universally clever, intelligent and thought by the ladies good to look at, foretold a coming epidemic of bimbo eruptions, like mushrooms after a hard rain, a legion of ladies with tales to tell about a new president on the prowl in the corridors of the White House.
Paula Jones’ anger at Hillary, after two decades of compensated silence, has obviously not cooled. She thinks Hillary, now revered as the Mother Teresa of the noisy feminist sisterhood, betrayed women everywhere by winking at her husband’s dalliances. “There is no way that she did not know what was going on, that women were being abused and accosted by her husband,” she tells the London Daily Mail. “They have both lied.” And that, in her view, makes her unfit to return to the White House.
“She should not be running with the terrible history they have made,” she says. “Who would want Bill Clinton back a second time, doing the same stuff he was doing before, philandering with women? He does not have the right to be in the White House to serve the people the way he treated women, sexually harassing women.”
Ms. Jones could take solace that ol’ Bubba, now 68, with a history of tickie-tackie trouble, has moved well beyond the foolish games of youth. This latest bimbo eruption, if only an eruption of bimbo memories, could be valuable for Hillary. Scandal can have a longer shelf life than she and her campaigners dream of.
Hillary has her own scandals, and they’re not going away, either. She might outlive them, but she can’t outrun them.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.