Mitt Romney's 47% gaffe was fatal because it played into the Daddy Warbucks caricature that had already been created. With even the New York Times now willing to speak some truth about Hillary's ethical vacuum, the "morally bankrupt" narrative is so rich that there are actually three varieties: that which she inherited from husband Bill, that which she shares with him, and that which she has earned all by herself. Since most current voters were underage when she first entered public life, and a sympathetic media will support the "that's old news" defense, it will be important for Republicans to develop all three.
The Bill Clinton stuff - Jennifer Flowers; Paula Jones; Monica Lewinsky; countless other "bimbo eruptions" - can probably be dismissed as the suffering of the wronged, yet faithful wife. She has come to grips with it, and even jokes about his behavior in a Hillary Clinton White House. One would think that feminists would be offended, but the allure of having a woman Democrat president seems to trump any rejection of Bill as a "First Husband."
The shared type of ethical failure is a bit trickier - but she may be able to deflect most blame to the guy who was governor or president while she was a "powerless supporter". Some examples:
- The Whitewater investment fiasco occurred when Bill was governor of Arkansas and they use his influence to help with financing an investment in the Whitewater Investment Company. Accomplice Susan McDougald went to jail, but the Clintons escaped prosecution; when president, Bill Clinton pardoned McDougald who had refused to testify against them. In an aftermath popular with conspiracy theorists, Deputy White House counsel Vince Foster was found to have committed suicide early in the first Clinton term as president.
- The "Travelgate" episode in 1993 in which Hillary led the firing of the White House staff responsible for arranging official travel, to replace them with cronies. She was cited for lying to investigators, but the employees were rehired and no charges were brought.
- The Marc Rich pardon on Bill Clinton's last day in office. Rich, who had evaded some $48 million in taxes and acted as a go-between on large deals with embargoed countries like Libya, was recommended for a pardon by deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, and later made major contributions to the Clinton Library and Hillary's Senate Campaign.
- The Ed Mezvinsky affair in which Chelsea Clinton's future father-in-law pled guilty to 31 counts of bank, mail, and wire fraud, for using his Clinton connections to dupe investors of millions.
- The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Foundation, peopled by Clinton-machine regulars and the recipient of some $2 billion in donations, much from foreign governments seeking access in circumvention of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act; much intertwined with consulting and speaking fees which have made the Clintons multi-millionaires; much going to political staffers between assignments. The initial claim was that foreign contributions were suspended during Hillary's time at State, but it turns out that was only for new contributors.
But the "Hillary did it" category cannot be deflected to Bill, and must be defeated by relying on the "that's old news" or "vast Rightwing Conspiracy" lines of defense. Unfortunately for Hillary and the Country, this category also has a growing list of good stories for the Republicans.
- The oldest (other than her early affiliation with Saul Alinsky) is her role as a junior lawyer for the Congressional panel investigating Nixon's Watergate break-in. Her role revolved around an effort to deny Nixon the right to defense counsel. After hiding recent legal precedents from the panel, she was fired by long-time Democrat Jerry Zeifman for lying and conduct which he described as unprofessional and unethical.
- Most recent is her unfathomable e-mail saga - violating State Department protocols and basic security concerns by installing a private server in her home to bypass any government access to any of her e-mails sent while she was Secretary of State. She has since deleted half of the e-mails and had her staff review the rest to determine what should be turned over to Congressional committees looking into Benghazi and other activities during her term at State.
One really does have to wonder about the moral climate of our country. Some foreign leaders have lamented that the American people are lost if we would elect Barack Obama twice. Electing morally bankrupt Hillary would be well beyond people wanting to elect an African American or taking a big ideological jog to the Left for awhile. It would be a clear admission by a majority of Americans that personal ethics and morality do not matter. As he leaves 21st century American politics, Mitt Romney must be compelled to look over his shoulder at the pillar of salt.
Robert Gibbs' comments about it taking 8 days for Hillary to respond to the e-mail furor reflects the real concern of Democrat operatives - not that she is corrupt, but that her public relations operation is not ready for prime time.
bill bowen - 3/13/15