What is Hillary Clinton hiding?

Sen. Hillary Clinton’s past is catching up to her faster than was hoped or expected by the former first lady or the legions of Democrats praying for their party’s return to the White House in 2009.

As Lady MacBeth famously wailed, “Out damned spots, out!” to the convicting evidence of her guilt, so the New York Democrat must have spent countless sleepless nights during the last eight years wondering how to get rid of the stains of her own past.

We refer, of course, to the millions of documents generated during her husband’s administration, which have resided at the Clinton Library in Little Rock, Ark., since the couple departed the White House in 2001.

Even before Hillary announced her presidential candidacy, it was clear to anyone with two eyes that obliterating or at least obscuring those stains was a top priority for former President Bill Clinton and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

The Clinton Library has been a crucial tool in that effort, along with a curious executive order signed by President George W. Bush shortly after succeeding Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.

Brick walls are thrown up whenever somebody asks the Clinton Library for access to documents that might, for example, shed light on Hillary’s actions as first lady. That is an important line of inquiry because Hillary has often cited her eight years as first lady as among her principal qualifications to follow in her husband’s footsteps as commander in chief.

In a classic illustration of a Clinton trying to have it both ways, Hillary professes to favor public release, all the while insisting that bureaucratic delays — not political considerations stemming from the need to stall public release until after the White House is regained — are the only reason documents have been kept from public access.

The brush-offs at the library are made possible by the Bush executive order that lets Bill Clinton keep his administration’s documents from being released until 2012. Considering the many scandals in which Hillary was a central figure — the Travelgate firings, disappearance of her law-firm billing records, secret meetings of her health care task force, FBI background files on GOP officials that mysteriously turned up in the White House, to name only a few — she and Bill have lots of reasons to keep the lid on those documents.

Now we learn that the Clintons have agreed to a new process that empowers Bruce Lindsey, the longtime Clinton confidante and former White House counsel, to make the final decision about which of the millions of documents will be released and when. How convenient.

What is most amazing, though, is that both Clintons will keep straight faces as they ask the American people once again to give them a pass on the truth.

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