Reckoning comes late to the Clintons, but it comes. Bubba has skated past a lot of transgressions, always counting on his gift of gab and his deep-dyed Southern charm to escape retribution. He played the charm card with consummate skill: "Aw, shucks, what can you do with a good ol' boy like me?"
For a long time, not very much. His touch with the ladies at Hot Springs High School, where he competed with the athletes (most of them not very good) when the boys in the band were always in the shade of the quarterbacks and running backs in a ferocious football culture, would only be perfected later.
But even in the White House, Bubba apparently thought seduction was for sissies. A man must have his rape, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, as a succession of women in his life could testify. But it's difficult for any well brought-up woman to slap the face of the president of the United States, no matter how deserved, and few angry husbands would dare to seek revenge in the face of a president's Secret Service bodyguards.
So Bubba got a pass. Until Donald Trump. The Donald's rough reprise of the scandals that shocked everyone, or at least entertained them, two decades ago took both Bubba and his enabler back to the bad ol' days. The adventures of Bubba among the bimbos, as his onetime aide for "bimbo eruptions" called it, might be old news for the old folks but it's all new and lively stuff for the millennials and others of the younger persuasion. The modern culture, which could put two men atop the wedding cake, made changing sexes all the rage and decreed that anything goes, all the way and all the time, is just the place for the Clintons to practice their cheap arts.
But if nearly everyone, but definitely not including the objects of lusts and affections not so sublime, was willing to cut Bubba a little slack for his fabrications and fornications, there's no such slack cut for the lady of the house. For one thing, Bubba's peccadillos are entertaining, in a sad and sinful way. Hillary's greed and the pursuit of mammon entertains no one. She has been with Bubba for a long time and none of his roguish charm rubbed off on her. She reminds every man of his first wife and every woman of the dullest man whose path she ever crossed. People, one pollster recently concluded, "just don't like Hillary, and there's nothing she can do about it." Her only hope is to remind everyone of what they don't like about the Donald.
Hillary's negatives now pile up beneath her. Her email scandal just won't go away, no matter how hard she tries to make it irrelevant. Bernie Sanders can rue the day he stood up to say how tired he was of "Hillary's damn emails." He seems to understand now, in a distracted way, that if he had put aside gallantry (as gallantry is measured in cold New England precincts) and made her careless and irresponsible dismissal of the requirement to guard the nation's security secrets, he and not the Lady McBeth of Little Rock, would now be the presumptive Democratic nominee.
The 83-page summary of the State Department's investigation of Hillary's determined use of a private email server, stubbornly used despite dozens of warnings from high and low in the government, was released Thursday and it's devastating.
Beginning in late 2005, when widespread use of email was first introduced, the State Department revised its Foreign Affairs Manual and "issued various memoranda specifically discussing the obligation to use Department [email] systems in most instances and identifying the risks of not doing so." Hillary knew these rules and she knew the risks when she arrived as secretary of State, and she ignored them. Rules are necessary to guard the nation's secrets from prying eyes, but such rules were not for Clintons. Rules never are.
So outrageous has Hillary's wanton disregard for rules and responsibility become that even her friends are saying enough is enough. The Washington Post, the Praetorian guard of the interests of the Democratic Party, is typical of Democrats who are now saying they're "mad as hell and can't take it anymore."
Others, like Colin Powell, have used personal emails to override archaic government technology, as The Post carefully notes. "But there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications." Indeed there is not, and the long-awaited reckoning is at hand, and not a minute too soon.
• Wesley Pruden is editor in-chef emeritus-of The Times.