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Opinion: Columnists

Clintons' past is fair game for Republicans concerned about traditional values

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Opinion,Star Parker,Columnists,Hillary Clinton,Bill Clinton,2016 Elections,Rand Paul,Family Issues

When Republican presidential aspirant and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul revived the Monica Lewinsky scandal as relevant to Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy, fellow Republican Karl Rove immediately took him to task on national television.

“Frankly, Rand Paul spending a lot of time talking about the mistakes of Bill Clinton does not look like a big agenda for the future of the country,” said Rove.

Actually, it was Paul's wife, Kelley, who first brought it up in an interview with Vogue magazine. Why should Republicans be accused of a “war on women” when Mrs. Clinton's husband, former president Bill, chartered new territory in “predatory” sexual behavior, argued Mrs. Paul.

When Rand Paul was asked about this on NBC's "Meet the Press," he made the same point.

According to the latest realclearpolitics.com average of national polls, Rand Paul is a serious contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

So what’s up with one of the Republican Party’s pundit-in-chiefs, Karl Rove, attacking one of his own party’s presidential contenders? Isn’t it the other party’s candidates you are supposed to attack?

This, of course, is about the ongoing battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, which is the preliminary to the main event -- the battle for the heart and soul of the nation.

If understood correctly, Bill Clinton’s mistakes, and how his wife Hillary related to them, are indeed a “big agenda for the future of the country.” But it’s not where Karl Rove wants to go, nor does the wing of the party that wants to bury social conservatives. So he is already shooting intraparty friendly fire.

Some feel that collapse of “traditional values” is irrelevant to the nation’s future and getting back on track to fiscal soundness, growth and prosperity.

But can anyone really believe that if a few hundred years ago almost half of American babies were born to unwed mothers, if getting an abortion was like taking an aspirin for a headache, if marriage and family was considered one of many possible lifestyles, if marriage itself was open to redefinition based on whim, we would be where we are today?

A free society, a society where politicians are not in your face and running your life, requires personal virtue and responsibility.

It is no accident that as values collapsed, as family disintegrated, the welfare state -- big government -- has grown and taken its place.

In a recent Gallup poll, 71 percent of Americans between 18 and 34 years old said having a child out of wedlock is morally acceptable, 49 percent said pornography is morally acceptable and 48 percent said teenage sex is morally acceptable.

Can anyone really believe that a society with these kinds of values can and will have limited government?

We cannot underestimate the influence Bill Clinton, America’s first 1960s-generation president, played in creating this kind of popular culture. Once it was OK that the president of the United States could betray his nation and his wife and fornicate with a young intern in the Oval Office, the door was open to almost anything.

We also cannot underestimate the impact on our popular culture and values that the wife of this man — a woman who now aspires to be our next president — was willing to tolerate this behavior and rationalize it away.

This is not the behavior of a strong, courageous woman, but that of a weak, unprincipled woman.

The latest data from the Census Bureau show that 77.5 percent of households in the top fifth of income earners are headed by married couples. Eighty-three percent of families in the lowest fifth are singles or single-parent households.

Marriage and traditional values are the bulwark of a free and prosperous society.

The Clintons helped break it all down. Karl Rove is dead wrong. This is a very “big agenda for the future of the country.”

STAR PARKER, a Washington Examiner columnist, is an author and president of CURE, Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She can be reached at www.urbancure.org

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Star Parker

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The Washington Examiner