They [Hillary’s advisors] declared her husband's impeachment in 1998 — or, more accurately, the embarrassing personal behavior that led to it — taboo, putting her rivals on notice and all but daring other Democrats to mention the ordeal again.
It’s a clever strategy. It’s an attempt to conflate just about anything objectionable about Bill into an area that’s off limits.
Problem is, as the Post article points out, Hillary has introduced the subject of Bill into her campaign. His actions and punishments become relevant whether she likes it or not. Bill got fined and lost his law license for lying to a court, and that’s a simple fact. Hillary doesn’t get to point to Bill as one of the reasons for people to support her for the presidency, and then get to avoid the bad bits.
There are a lot of unsavory things about the Clinton administration that are complex matters of interpretations and opinion - Whitewater, Vince Foster, dodgy pardons, and the propriety of diddling interns, to give a few examples. It’s probably true that most voters don’t really want to slog through that territory again. Any opponent of Hillary shouldn’t depend on beating her on nothing more than Bill’s sleaze. Even though there’s a lot of it, it’s stale.
But it doesn’t take much reminding for people to remember that Bill’s presidency had its dark side. Just a side comment here and there will do it. And Hillary might as well get ready, because those comments are going to come.
The Post article was prompted by a contratemps resulting from David Geffen's comments last week. Geffen is supporting Obama, and the Post noted that he believes Hillary would be the easiest Democratic candidate for the Republicans to beat. But they didn't point out that he also said:
"Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”
That's the real issue Hillary has to deal with. She's in a tough spot with it, because even members of her own party have made similar comments before. She can't blame that perception on the vast right-wing conspiracy. Peggy Noonan pointed that out, and brought back up the famous Bob Kerrey quote:
"Clinton's an unusually good liar. Unusually good. Do you realize that?"
The subtitle to Noonan's article is "Mrs. Clinton seems less inevitable after this week." Well, I never thought she was inevitable, mostly because those who imagined she could get through the entire campaign without confronting any elements of her past or Bill's were wrong.
On the subject of the Iraq conflict, Hillary has now completely staked out her position. And, in what I think is one of the biggests mistake of her candidacy so far, she did it in a video.
I don’t think her political consultants have yet realized that we’re in the YouTube era. Or, more generally, the “Web 2.0” era, in which mashing content is a major part of the action. Michelle Malkin at HotAir already took a whack at it, but her version is intended as red meat for Hillary foes. If conditions in Iraq start looking like we might actually succeed, then Hillary is stuck. That video will be hung around her neck by anyone who wants to make her judgment look bad. Some clever editing could have the entire nation laughing at her.
In essence, she has bet her entire candidacy on us failing in Iraq. While it might appease the anti-war left, I don’t think mainstream voters will respond to that kind of pessimism.
The video also reminded me of Hillary’s biggest problem connecting with voters – she has all the warmth of cold pancakes without syrup. When she says she wants to “keep the conversation going”, it’s completely devoid of sincerity.
Wasn’t the 2000 election the "Search for the Un-Clinton" ? Even Al Gore didn’t want to bring up Clinton any more than necessary.
Is 7 years enough to forget why we were weary of the Clintons in 2000 (and 1999 .. and 1998 ..) ?
Can we at least get a promise that Craig Livingstone won’t be hired back into the White House ? And ban the likes of John Huang and Mochtar Riady from the premises (and their money from the campaigns).