Imagine, if you will, that back in the 1990s, a man had come forward, claiming in an Op-ed in the Wall Street Journal he had overheard Hillary Clinton give the order to have Vince Foster killed. We’ll call him Bob Spaulding. Bob even had a witness who (he claimed) could corroborate the conversation. You see, shortly after the deputy White House Counsel had committed suicide in 1993, some on the right speculated Hillary had ordered her former law partner killed to prevent him from talking and revealing the “truth” about this or that nefarious Clinton scheme.
That Foster was murdered was a favorite theory of many conservatives whom the media dubbed “Clinton-haters.”
In making his claim, Spaulding would become a folk hero in the conservative media — and to conservative activists, delighting right-wing conspiracy theorists. Given what Ken Starr found, however, we know Foster did indeed kill himself. So, in investigating Foster’s death, the panel would have looked into Spaulding’s claims and found them false. Perhaps, when Bob was in the room with the then-First Lady, she was actually talking about killing the plans to have Foster work on some project. Or to transfer him to another post.
Even Spaulding’s corroborating witness acknowledged that Clinton had clearly said “kill the plans” not “kill the man.” Spaulding would go from folk hero of the right to crank. To be sure, A few conspiracy-minded individuals might still cite him (as some web-sites still contend today that Foster had been murdered at the Clintons’ behest), but the serious conservative media would acknowledge that they had been duped and then ignore him.
As Spaulding (in my hypothetical) emerged to confirm a conservative theory, so did Joe Wilson emerge in 2003 to confirm a liberal theory that George W. Bush and his “cabal” lied us into Iraq. But, just as in my hypothetical, an investigation (bipartisan in this case) dismissed his claims. And while John Kerry removed that dishonest Democrat from his campaign, Wilson has not disappeared from the scene.
He keeps popping up again, but not only at far-left fora. He appeared alongside another Democrat with credibility problems in Philadelphia recently. He was even featured in a documentary on the Iraq War.
Can you imagine, a Republican presidential candidate appearing alongside the hypothetical Mr. Spaulding? Do you think newspapers would reference his dishonest editorial while ignoring the fact that it had been found to be false (as they do readily with Mr. Wilson)?
I realize this is a hypothetical, but I imagined it to show how absurd it is that Joe Wilson, long since discredited, continues to enjoy a degree of prominence in mainstream Democratic and media circles. And wonder yet again what conservative whose main claim to fame has been exposed as a lie has ever been held in such high esteem.
But, I guess the issue for the left is not the truth of the allegation, but the intent of the one making it. And when you intend to show that George W. Bush is a horrible, no good, very bad, dishonest man, well, anything goes.