With the recent birthdays of two presidents famous for their honesty, "Honest Abe" Lincoln and George "I Cannot Tell a Lie" Washington now past, Kentucky Democrats welcomed the president who is the polar opposite of these great and truthful ones. Bill Clinton recently came to Kentucky to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Clinton's appeal is difficult to understand. He is dishonest and was not nearly as good a president as adoring Democrats and their mainstream media allies claim.
Irony abounds in Clinton's support for Grimes. She bases her candidacy largely on the ridiculous notion that Republicans are somehow waging a "war on women." To the extent there has ever been such a battle, Bill Clinton was an aggressor against women, not a defender of them.
It is bad enough that Clinton defiled the Oval Office with tawdry trysts. It is worse that he thereafter looked the American people in the eye, shook his long, crooked finger at them, and lied: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
Democrats defend Clinton by saying that some of their other favorite presidents, like Franklin Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, were also adulterers. That is hardly compelling, but, regardless, neither FDR nor JFK lied to the American people or under solemn oath about it. Clinton did both.
It is incomprehensible that Kentucky Democrats and some of the state's political press fawn on a former president who was suspended from the practice of law in his home state of Arkansas and disbarred by the U.S. Supreme Court for dishonesty. Yet Kentucky's governor, Steve Beshear, unabashedly boasts that Clinton is "greatly admired" in the state.
Democrats also excuse Clinton's venality, vulgarity, and lack of veracity by arguing that he was a good president. But Clinton must share any credit for prosperity during his presidency with the Republicans who captured Congress in 1994 and saved him from himself by forcing at least a rhetorical end to the era of big government.
Clinton's failure to forcefully confront Islamic terrorism after the first World Trade Center bombing and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole set the stage for the September 11, 2001 attacks. Clinton passed on the chance to kill bin Laden in 1998, but ordered other controversial military strikes that even some liberals lambasted as "wag the dog" distractions from his sex-and-lying-related political problems.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, recently ventured where few Republicans dare by calling Clinton a "sexual predator" and advising Democrats to distance themselves from him if they "want to be credible in saying they defend women's rights in the workplace." Paul realizes that while those who were adults during Clinton's scandal-plagued administration are fixed in their views, younger voters may have more open minds.
Republicans, including this one, must concede that Clinton is the consummate politician. He gets great press and rolls in money despite having done despicable things that would have destroyed more decent men.
Clinton has campaigned for Kentucky candidates more than once. There is little evidence that his presence helps. It is therefore especially sad that Kentucky Democrats are once again selling their political souls cheap just to be near the scoundrel.
John David Dyche is a Louisville attorney and a political commentator for WDRB.com.