The Associated Press reported earlier today that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) launched one of her most strident attacks against President Bush to date as she courts liberal voters for the nomination of the Democratic Party for president in 2008. What I found striking about the senator’s most recent attack against the current president was her stark choice of words. Consider the following as she discusses the Bush presidency:

“[Bush’s government has] a stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok … It is everything our Founders were afraid of, everything our Constitution was designed to prevent.” That’s a very interesting observation from Sen. Clinton regarding the Bush White House, but I think she may have been confused with the administration run by her husband, the former president. 

Let’s break this down piece by piece, shall we? “A stunning record of secrecy and corruption and cronyism run amok,” Sen. Clinton asserts. Does Whitewater ring a bell to her? Rose Law firm records “lost” and then found in the Clinton’s private residence at the White House during an investigation? Mysterious firings of employees from the White House Travel Office? These events occurred during the Clinton, rather than the Bush, administration. I won’t even touch on the number of Clinton administration officials — some close associates from Arkansas, mind you — who were forced to resign due to criminal indictments or convictions. I won’t even elaborate on the mysterious pardons President Clinton granted to convicted felons against the wishes of his own Justice Department during his waning moments in office.

Then Sen. Clinton notes that the President Bush’s government was “everything our Founders were afraid of, everything our Constitution was designed to prevent.” Yes, well, our Founding Fathers were also concerned with malfeasance in office by the president of the United States and they provided a mechanism in the Constitution to remove the president for commission of such acts, namely, the impeachment and conviction of the president.

Whatever your personal opinion on the matter might be, President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for his false and misleading testimony during the Paula Jones investigation. As a result of this testimony, the State Bar Association of Arkansas suspended President Clinton’s law license for that testimony. I don’t know how Sen. Clinton can assert the Founders would have been afraid of the Bush administration when the White House presided over by her husband will go down as one of the most ethically challenged in American history.

Sen. Clinton has surprised her critics by being an intelligent, hard-working junior senator from the State of New York. My own interactions with Clinton while a member of President Bush’s staff have been strong and favorable. She has amassed a record to run for president that the voters can judge her on one way or another. Attacking the ethics of President Bush while ignoring the ethical transgressions of her husband’s administration is a strategy fraught with peril.