Hillary Clinton and her friends in the media have been testing messages for her expected presidential campaign. The case for her will be built on four pillars: that allegations of her corruption are unfair; that she is highly accomplished; that she is above partisanship; and that she is a woman. The first three are dubious and the fourth will matter less than you may think.
Do you remember Webb Hubbell, the McDougals, the missing Rose Law firm billing records, Travelgate, or Hillary’s surprise acumen at high-risk commodities trading? Super PACs and other groups will remind voters of all of these case studies of corruption if Hillary proceeds with a campaign. Democrats are terrified of this likelihood, not because it points to Hillary’s distant past, but because it helps illustrate her more recent corrupt behavior – and that of the elite political class she represents.
Liberals are already honing a preemptive counterattack. They will pin any corruption on Bill Clinton and say it was long ago and therefore boorish to discuss today. A case in point was a dialogue this month between MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and liberal New York Magazine editorialist Frank Rich, formerly of the New York Times. In it, they artfully channeled allegations of the Clintons’ corruption to the sole issue of Bill’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Matthews and Rich readily agreed that this is brought up today only by “puritans,” and Matthews asked, referring to the Clintons, “How many marriages last as long as this one has?” He added: “I think people look at people over a long period of time and they know everything the Republicans are going to throw at [the Clintons] and they’ve already discounted it.”