The Corner

“Payback’s a Bitch”

I can’t tell you how many liberal readers of my columns (NRO and syndicated) say this to me in emails when I complain about the left’s unprincipled behavior on any number of issues. They invoke what “happened” to Clinton or Florida or whatever. Regardless of whether or not those events were unjust or not, even if you think Bill Clinton was mistreated at every turn, simply saying “payback’s a bitch” as a justification for violating your own principles is astounding to me. And don’t get me wrong, I’m quite fond of vengeance and wrath, but in the realm of domestic public policy it’s the worst form of hypocrisy (in foreign policy payback is often vital). To say, for example, that the Independent Counsel law was horrible and a violation of the constitutional order under Bill Clinton but a worthwhile measure under Bush is a flip-flop to be sure. But to offer nothing more than “payback’s a bitch” as a justification is so thoroughly reprehensible and craven it astounds me that intelligent people can say it with a straight face.

Sorry, I just wanted to say that somewhere as I don’t have time to write it three dozen times to various readers.


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Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.