Perhaps the most shocking thing about Gordon Fischer’s Monica joke is that it didn’t happen until now.
A key Obama organizer and adviser in Iowa, Fischer posted an item on his blog over the weekend slamming Bill Clinton for his comment late Friday that many interpreted as an attack on Obama’s patriotism.
"Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping—instead he is hurting—his own party," Fischer wrote. "B. Clinton should never be forgiven. Period. This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."
Cue outrage. On a conference call this morning, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer called it the "most personal attack yet" and an indicator of the Obama campaign’s harsh new strategy. Fischer took down the post and replaced it with a two-part apology . The Obama campaign reiterated its line that "comments like this have no place in our political dialogue."
So far in this campaign, we’ve seen some liberal umbrage-taking. But now it’s official: The Monica scandal is off-limits too. It’s still unclear, though, to what extent the ban applies. The scandal was a defining moment of her husband’s administration, after all. Is any reference to Monica considered unfair? If anything, the Clinton campaign is lucky the blue dress hasn’t resurfaced until now. Be sure that in a general election, Clinton's Republican opponents would not exercise the same restraint.
Also, here’s an idea. For one day, each candidate allows their surrogates to say all the hateful, inappropriate, uncalled-for things they can think of about their opponent. All the hurled insults would instantly cancel one another out. That way, they can get it out of their systems and bring the umbrage war to a stalemate. Or so we hope.