Bill and Hillary Clinton are the first couple to appear simultaneously and independently on the national political stage. They are using their special circumstances as a convenient shield for one another, fulfilling, at once, Hillary's dream of no accountability and Bill's of being able to take both sides of an issue.
Did Hillary know that Bill was pardoning the FALN terrorists to help her win Puerto Rican votes in New York? Oh, she was opposed to the pardon.
Did Hillary find out that Bill was granting pardons to felons and drug dealers who had hired her brothers for six-figure fees to lobby her husband for pardons right under her nose? No way. In fact she was "saddened" at her brothers' involvement.
And we all know that Hillary was "gasping for breath" when she first learned the truth about Monica Lewinsky.
And the former first lady was "bewildered" that members of the White House staff would treat her demands that they fire the travel-office staff as an order.
Bill has been out there criticizing the war while Hillary plays to the center by voting for it.
And now, this heavy-footed pas de deux straddles the issue of whether a Dubai company should run six American ports.
Are we truly to believe Hillary's insistence last week that she knew nothing about Bill's counseling of his friend and benefactor the crown prince of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, on the ports deal? Do Bill and Hillary Clinton ever speak to each other, or do they just attend funerals, fundraisers and Billy Graham crusades together for photo-ops?
Bill is, after all, a regular in Dubai. The crown prince — that is, the government — contributed to his presidential library and pays him $300,000 per speech. Recently, Yucaipa, an American company that has Bill Clinton as a "senior adviser" and pays him a percentage of its profits, formed a partnership with the Dubai Investment Group to form DIGL Inc., a company dedicated to managing the sheik's personal investments.
No doubt Bill Clinton was brought in to cement this lucrative deal from which he — and therefore Hillary — will likely make millions. Neither Bill nor Hillary will disclose how much he is paid, but her Senate financial disclosure says that he will make "more than" $1,000. They also won't say how much Dubai royalty gave to the Clinton library.
So when Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) broke the story that the administration had approved the Dubai ports deal and Bill Clinton started to defend it in public, are we to believe that Hillary did not know that the sheik had called him to ask his advice, and are we to believe that Bill's defense of the deal was unrelated to his myriad financial ties to Dubai?
Hillary stands to gain millions in income from her husband's Dubai connection. She knows he flies there very, very frequently. And she must realize that Bill is close to the Dubai royal family.
So why did she dump on the port deal? Likely to cover herself. If she were anything less than front and center against the Dubai port deal, she would vulnerable to criticism over Bill's involvement with the Dubai royal family. So she held marathon press conferences denouncing the deal and professed not to realize her husband was defending the deal at the sheik's request.
What's really going on here is that Bill Clinton is trying to please his Arab patrons and business partners at the same time that Hillary Clinton is trying to capitalize on American stereotypes about Arab terrorists.
More important, she's desperately trying to distract attention from the Dubai dollars that flow into her family checking account from Bill's political and business dealings with the Dubai crown prince. What better way than to attack them?
We should insist that:
Bill Clinton register as an agent of a foreign principal.
The Clintons say how much he makes from Dubai.
The Clinton library tell us how much Dubai royalty gave to the library.
And Bill disclose, in the future, whenever he is speaking as an ex-president or as a paid public-relations flack.
Written in conjunction with Eileen McGann