Bob Franken

The Clinton Past Tenses-Enough Already

February 18, 2008
The Clinton Escapades — Enough Already (Bob Franken)
@ 9:11 pm

It is so easy to do and so many do. I’m referring to the Clinton opponents, as well as commentator critics, who invariably lapse into snarky remarks about Bill and Hillary’s marital past. When all else fails, make some sly reference to the shenanigans and melodrama that dominated the headlines in the ’90s.

It’s time to get over it. Even in this campaign battle, where cheap shots seem to be the only shots, it’s gotten to be too much. The only way Monica Lewinsky should be an issue this time around is if she endorses and campaigns for someone. Otherwise she and that other stuff are ancient history, refuges for those who have nothing else to contribute.

There is plenty to chew over about the Hillary Clinton campaign. How she’s run it and what she says are fair game. So are the charges she may bring an arrogant non-inclusive approach to the way she governs. So are the complaints that her staff operates behind a bunker where it has seriously bungled everything. All of that may be true, some of it, or none of it. All of it is relevant. The private Clinton family relationship 10-20 years ago definitely is not.

I spent several years as a reporter, back then, covering the various Clinton “scandals,” from Gennifer Flowers to “Troopergate” to Whitewater to Monica. We can debate whether these stories were frivolous, nasty sensationalism. Of course they were. We can also debate whether they should have gotten so much attention. I felt then and do now that they should have, that the media prominence was journalistically appropriate. Sadly, there was a lot of bad reporting, too, fueled by disgraceful conservative rumor-mongering. But as one of those who struggled to present the facts, I contend I was doing the right thing presenting an important issue of the day.

That day has come and long gone.

Those who insist on still dredging up this muck show how small-minded they can be. There is plenty to say about Hillary Clinton today — and for that matter, Bill.

Yes, I know the past is prologue, but that doesn’t mean we’re condemned to live in that past. What’s the future in that?

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