Something wild is going on in the bizarre world of Democratic campaign politics, and I have a hunch I know what it is. Since no one else wants to talk about it, I'm going to.
The blogosphere has been buzzing for a few days over a scurrilous column by Robert Novak, claiming that Hillary Clinton's campaign has some kind of devastating information about Barack Obama but--guess what--doesn't plan to use it. One might naturally infer that this has something to do with sex (assuming, which I certainly would not, that there is anything to it at all.)
Now as many of my friends know, I have taken the position for more than twenty years that politicians' sex lives should be their own business. At the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky madness, I wrote an op-ed fantasizing about the consequences if Jefferson, FDR, and Martin Luther King had been driven out of public life by revelations about sex. No one would print it. I still believe that--but most of the world does it. The man whose sex life is hanging like a black cloud over the current campaign is Bill Clinton's, and several different people from different walks of life have told me that the Republicans are only waiting for Hillary's nomination to spring some new revelations. Inevitably, it seems to me, that has to start other Democratic candidates asking themselves why, if there are damaging revelations to come, we should wait until after the convention to hear them. My hunch is that the Clinton campaign used Novak to threaten a preemptive strike.
Now I repeat--in a better world (such as the one I grew up in), what Bill was doing wouldn't make any difference--and it shouldn't. But in the world we are living in it could make a lot of difference--specifically, a disastrous election of Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney. I have no idea what kind of information is out there--indeed, there may be none at all. But if there is, may I suggest to both newsmen and rival campaigns that it would not be fair to the country to hold it until after Senator Clinton has been nominated. If it is going to come out, let it come out now, so that my fellow Democrats can make an informed choice about the candidate most likely to win.