Joe Biden would like us all to stop talking about Bill Clinton’s past record with women, but not because it’s not germane to the conversation in this presidential cycle. “He paid a price for it,” Biden tells Meet The Press host Chuck Todd, “he was impeached” — although the impeachment was for perjury and obstruction of justice, not directly about his sexual peccadilloes in the Oval Office. Rather than talk about Bill Clinton’s past conduct with women, Biden wants voters and the media to focus on Donald Trump’s past conduct with women:

CHUCK TODD: As you know, Donald Trump is bringing up everything Bill Clinton– right now. Should that matter?

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: No, it shouldn’t matter. Look, I can’t make any excuse for Bill Clinton’s conduct. I– I– I– and I wouldn’t attempt to make any excuses for the conduct. But he paid a price for it. He paid a price. He was impeached. And he was– he expressed his deep sorrow and acknowledged what he did. This guy, as I said, has acknowledged that he has been a sexual predator. He’s acknowledged that he’s abused his power. And the– as I said, the textbook definition of what constitutes sexual assault.

Hmmmm. Wasn’t the Democratic line at the time was that personal behavior shouldn’t overcome policy?

The issue at hand — and the reason that Trump’s attacks on Bill still have some impact — is because the Clintons and their allies have spent the last twenty years attacking women who came forward to discuss some unacknowledged conduct on Bill’s part. That may be understandable from a survival perspective, but one cannot run on the basis of “women should be believed” and then help frame a narrative for accusers of one’s husband as a little bit nutty, a little bit slutty. Hillary took part in those attacks, and since she’s making this a central issue in the campaign, Bill’s behavior and her actions in regard to it become germane.

This, however, may be an argument that goes in circles, as John McCormack put well on Twitter yesterday:

Or Paula Jones, for that matter, who brought the lawsuit in which Bill Clinton deliberately perjured himself. After retweeting those yesterday, I received a number of responses from partisans of both sides explaining how they saw differences between the two, but for most others, they negate each other. And that might be why both sides won’t let either argument drop.

As for having paid the price, as Biden argues, that’s a tough argument to make as the Clintons near another term at the pinnacle of American political power, and after earning over a hundred million dollars while manipulating it. And American voters have a funny way of deciding for themselves what matters in elections — a lesson both sides ought to remember.