Bill Clinton is still fair game for criticism.
Scott Tibbs, September 15, 2003
I occasionally hear Leftists complaining that conservatives are "obsessed" with former President Bill Clinton. Perhaps it is time to move on, and stop hammering away at the former President. But then, I read stories like this. Bill Clinton is on the campaign trail for Democrats who hope to replace President Bush next year.
One cannot complain on one hand that conservatives are "obsessed" when we attack Clinton two and a half years after he left office while ignoring Clinton's determination to stay in the news. If Bill Clinton is going to continue to make speeches attacking President Bush and touting the qualifications of the Democratic presidential field, then he is fair game for a counterattack on both his remarks and his failings as President. Clinton has clearly chosen to remain a public figure, and neither he nor his supporters can pick and choose which aspects of being a public figure Clinton will take or leave.
It is traditional for a President to step out of the spotlight when his time in the White House is over. Rush Limbaugh predicted after President Bush was sworn in that Clinton not only would not, but could not stay out of the spotlight. As is often the case, Rush is right. Clinton has a tremendous ego, and it is not surprising that he would crave continued media attention.
If Clinton were to finally exit the stage, perhaps his supporters would have somewhat of an argument that conservative attacks on him should cease. But even that argument is shaky. Even if Clinton were to stop spotlighting himself, he was the President of the United States for eight long years. His record deserves to be examined, and it is silly to suggest a President be immune from criticism just because he has left office. The Left certainly has not ended its attacks on President Ronald Reagan despite the fact that it has been over 14 years since his second term ended.
The bottom line is that Bill Clinton was a highly controversial figure and his record, before, during and after his time as President, will be a subject for debate and discussion for many years to come. Instead of whining and crying about attacks on Clinton, the Left should actually engage in the arena of ideas.