If we can believe Hillary Clinton (and there's no reason why anyone should), she and Bubba have gone from "dead broke" when they left the White House to accumulating riches that beggar Croesus, the ancient king of Lydia, and Midas, who was rich even before he started selling mufflers for Pontiacs and Chevys. Nevertheless, Hillary and Bubba are lining up now for seconds.
Bubba was always untouchable, having established that he was a sinner from Hot Springs, where they knew about sinning, a good ol' boy who just couldn't help himself. The ladies were suckers for a wink and a smile, and the men envied his gift for getting away with what needed getting away with. He once even recruited a panel of preachers to examine his ethics, but he never submitted the promised copy of the diagnosis.
But that was then, and this is now, and the present day is a different day. Hillary has none of the Clinton charm. Unfair as it may be, and life as JFK reminded us is often unfair, ladies can sometimes get by with gifts of beauty and grace, but rarely with a rascal's deceit and charm.
The big media that gave Bubba all the breaks he needed and Hillary all the sympathy that a wronged wife is entitled to, seem in no mood this time to overlook the low crimes and misdemeanors that would have dispatched another president to oblivion long ago, relegated to speaking to Rotary Clubs and Ladies Aid Societies for nothing more than Certificates of Appreciation.
Some presidents have left office with a nest egg. Others leave office with a goose egg. Harry Truman drove home with Bess in a battered old Plymouth, and when someone asked him later what he did when he got back to the house in Independence, the new ex-president replied: "I took the suitcases up to the attic." Then he went to work on his memoirs and his library. He set an example other presidents could follow.
Hillary might get by with her negligence over Benghazi, even her attempt to cover up cold and brazen indifference to explanations - "what difference, at this point, does it make?" Most Americans might be willing to give her a pass because foreign affairs are alien, so to speak, to most Americans. But everybody recognizes money and understands greed and avarice, which the Clintons have demonstrated in such abundance. The big media that slept through the corruption of the early Clinton years seems to be waking up.
The Washington Post reports that Bubba has collected $26 million in speaker's fees from governments, institutions and individuals that donated as well to the Clinton Global Initiative, an arm of the Clinton Foundation. A Russian investment bank paid him a not-so-cool half-million dollars to make a single speech in Moscow. That's what anyone would call initiative. The New York Times reports that the State Department, under the guiding hand of Hillary, approved the sale of uranium mines to a Russian company that had donated $2.3 million to the Clinton Global Initiative.
There's more. Reuters, the British news agency, reports that five of the Clinton family's charities - new groups sprout from the Clinton amalgamation like mushrooms after a spring rain - are filing amended tax returns after Reuters found "errors" about how they reported donations from foreign governments in the original returns. Coincidences follow the Clintons like a dog following a meat wagon.
The coincidences accelerated after Barack Obama went to the White House. Bubba recognized profit in an association with a man whom he didn't like very much, and who returned the sentiment. He showed Mr. Obama how Hillary as secretary of state could help him, one hand washing the other, in this case one hand washing and the other grabbing. "Bill Clinton's been able to continue to be the Bill Clinton we know in large part because of his relationship with the White House and because his wife is the secretary of State," a Clinton associate tells Ryan Lizza of New Yorker magazine. "It worked out very well for him. That may be a very cynical way to look at it, but that's a fact. A lot of the stuff he's doing internationally is aided by his level of access."
Maybe these generous foreign donors don't expect to get anything for their money. Maybe they're just interested in good government. Maybe they just want to be entertained. Maybe they're smart investors looking for opportunities. If Hillary gets back to the White House, we ain't seen nuthin' yet. A president trumps a secretary of State.