In my opinion, one thing the national press has ignored is just how nasty Arkansas politics was at that time. However, I believe it’s critical to understand and acknowledge its historical significance and how it trailed Bill and Hillary Clinton to Washington D.C. My eight years as Governor of Kansas overlapped six of Bill Clinton’s first years as Governor of Arkansas. One of my clear memories has always been how lucky, especially in respect to politics, I was to be here in Kansas and not in Arkansas. Relatively speaking, there was no comparison. Here in Kansas in the 1980’s, the coverage wasn’t always positive, but it was usually based on the truth and differences in opinion. In Arkansas, with Clinton opponents, the truth often took a back seat, the viciousness was frequently over the top, and it was day-after-day, year-after-year, not just weeks before an election.
Not helping the situation was the political establishment, the elite of the east seeing this upshot young couple from, in their opinion, a “backwater state,” trying to play in the big leagues. When they started to succeed, it only got worse. The Republicans and much of the press never needed any hard evidence, only the slanted appearance of wrongdoing, for it to be treated as a capital offense.
Then my friend Bill gets elected President and the false scandal image moves to Washington with the press, it appears, assuming it was just a part of who the Clintons were. In fairness, not helping were mistakes made by the Clintons in how they responded and dealt with the political quagmire into which they had been drug. But, Monica aside, when you review all the so-called scandals—from Whitewater, to Foster, to Travelgate—you end up with lots of negative press, understandably pushed by political opponents, and millions of tax dollars spent that, for all practical purposes, produced nothing of substance.
Any objective look at what went on in Arkansas, their service in Washington, and now with the Clinton Foundation, will show their steadfast commitment to public service. And as for Hillary, I know from experience that she can most certainly be trusted to work very hard in service to the common good. Have your policy disagreements, and if supporting someone else—even the Donald—makes better sense to you, do so. But that decision shouldn’t be based on very questionable coverage of a series of incidents that to this point have never really panned out beyond political talking points and press coverage.