Signs of panic in the Clinton War Room

For more than a quarter of a century, the Clintons have followed a strategy for overcoming the scandals that arise out of their personal greed and sexual misbehavior, one that always worked – until now.

The pattern is familiar.  Dismiss the charges as lacking factual basis (“there is no evidence of…” as opposed to actually denying the truth of the charge); viciously attack the person making the charge in defamatory language (“what happens when you drag a hundred-dollar-bill through a trailer park”); use lawyerly language to convey a lie in terms that can be defended in ways that offend common sense but hope to avoid perjury charges sticking (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”); and the clincher: wait for the media to tire of the story and the low-information voters to forget about it.

The glue that holds this together is charming Billy, the smiling, charismatic guy so likable that he even charmed Newt Gingrich when the latter was speaker and primary political opponent of the president following the disastrous 1994 congressional election that handed control of the House to the Republicans after roughly four decades of seemingly permanent Democrat dominance.  But Bill is no longer at the top of his game: those decades of stress, little sleep, skirt-chasing, and whatever substances he may or may not have used are now taking their toll, and heart surgery now makes robust health an elusive goal.  Besides, the star of the show is now Hillary, who does not have her husband’s charm, though she seems to think it ought to be hers as marital joint property.

But the strategy has stopped working.  And a veteran sagacious observer of the Clintons, Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, sees signs of panic.

… their bold talk about no one believing the book isn’t convincing anyone. The drip, drip, drip of scandal stories from a variety of news outlets inspired by Peter Schweizer’s muckraking book has kept the allegations in the news rather than it fading away. As a result, the Clinton “War Room” that has been assembled to trash Schweitzer and dismiss the book is starting to show the initial signs of panic. When longtime Clinton family retainer Lanny Davis called the book and those exploring its charges an example of “McCarthyism” during an appearance on C-Span, it was clear that Hillary’s friends have officially jumped the shark in their efforts to silence the nation’s unease about the former First Family’s conduct.

The context of Davis’s rant is the fact that even after weeks of news organizations seeking new Clinton Cash angles to explore, it appears they aren’t close to running out of material. Over the weekend, Politico began to unravel the complicated ties between Bill Clinton’s speechmaking business and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. According to their reporting, State Department officials vetted some of the former president’s speeches. While that isn’t evidence of criminal conduct, it does show how closely connected Hillary’s staff was to Bill’s fundraising and speaking business affairs, something her defenders routinely deny. And while questions remain about the Clinton’s involvement in the egregious sale of 20 percent of the country’s uranium reserves to Russia, a lot of reporting about their dubious role in vetting disaster relief for Haiti and the way Hillary’s brother profited from their work was being dug up by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. (snip)

Like other Clinton Cash critics, Davis kept repeating that there are no “facts” in the book. But this is absurd. The book is full of facts about the suspicious donations to the foundation and huge honorariums paid to Bill Clinton from foreign donors who had business before the State Department while Hillary was running it.

I think the MSM refusal to drop the matter and focuse on sliming the Clinton critics, their usual practice in the past, is the critical diffrence.  And I attribute this change of behavior to two related factors:

  1. The self-enrichment of the Clintons’ post-presidency is just too grotesque to stomach.  Especially given the unending self-pitying justifications (“dead broke” and “have to pay the bills”).  Most media types below the Brian Williams (cough, cough) level consider themselves underpaid compared to their intelligence and talents.  Seeing the Clintons become mega-rich by influence-peddling (and everyone but Lanny Davis understands that $500K for a speech is a payoff, not fair compensation for a riveting speech) just doesn’t sit that well.
  2. Hillary is seen as  sell-out, and she is blocking the path of current lefty heartthrob Elizabeth Warren.  The media want her to retire to her money bin and let Liz work her Cherokee magic on the economy.

I only hope that the panic spreads slowly enough to keep Hillary as the nominee.  That would be the most entertaining and productive scenario I could imagine.

For more than a quarter of a century, the Clintons have followed a strategy for overcoming the scandals that arise out of their personal greed and sexual misbehavior, one that always worked – until now.

The pattern is familiar.  Dismiss the charges as lacking factual basis (“there is no evidence of…” as opposed to actually denying the truth of the charge); viciously attack the person making the charge in defamatory language (“what happens when you drag a hundred-dollar-bill through a trailer park”); use lawyerly language to convey a lie in terms that can be defended in ways that offend common sense but hope to avoid perjury charges sticking (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman…”); and the clincher: wait for the media to tire of the story and the low-information voters to forget about it.

The glue that holds this together is charming Billy, the smiling, charismatic guy so likable that he even charmed Newt Gingrich when the latter was speaker and primary political opponent of the president following the disastrous 1994 congressional election that handed control of the House to the Republicans after roughly four decades of seemingly permanent Democrat dominance.  But Bill is no longer at the top of his game: those decades of stress, little sleep, skirt-chasing, and whatever substances he may or may not have used are now taking their toll, and heart surgery now makes robust health an elusive goal.  Besides, the star of the show is now Hillary, who does not have her husband’s charm, though she seems to think it ought to be hers as marital joint property.

But the strategy has stopped working.  And a veteran sagacious observer of the Clintons, Jonathan Tobin, writing at Commentary, sees signs of panic.

… their bold talk about no one believing the book isn’t convincing anyone. The drip, drip, drip of scandal stories from a variety of news outlets inspired by Peter Schweizer’s muckraking book has kept the allegations in the news rather than it fading away. As a result, the Clinton “War Room” that has been assembled to trash Schweitzer and dismiss the book is starting to show the initial signs of panic. When longtime Clinton family retainer Lanny Davis called the book and those exploring its charges an example of “McCarthyism” during an appearance on C-Span, it was clear that Hillary’s friends have officially jumped the shark in their efforts to silence the nation’s unease about the former First Family’s conduct.

The context of Davis’s rant is the fact that even after weeks of news organizations seeking new Clinton Cash angles to explore, it appears they aren’t close to running out of material. Over the weekend, Politico began to unravel the complicated ties between Bill Clinton’s speechmaking business and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. According to their reporting, State Department officials vetted some of the former president’s speeches. While that isn’t evidence of criminal conduct, it does show how closely connected Hillary’s staff was to Bill’s fundraising and speaking business affairs, something her defenders routinely deny. And while questions remain about the Clinton’s involvement in the egregious sale of 20 percent of the country’s uranium reserves to Russia, a lot of reporting about their dubious role in vetting disaster relief for Haiti and the way Hillary’s brother profited from their work was being dug up by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. (snip)

Like other Clinton Cash critics, Davis kept repeating that there are no “facts” in the book. But this is absurd. The book is full of facts about the suspicious donations to the foundation and huge honorariums paid to Bill Clinton from foreign donors who had business before the State Department while Hillary was running it.

I think the MSM refusal to drop the matter and focuse on sliming the Clinton critics, their usual practice in the past, is the critical diffrence.  And I attribute this change of behavior to two related factors:

  1. The self-enrichment of the Clintons’ post-presidency is just too grotesque to stomach.  Especially given the unending self-pitying justifications (“dead broke” and “have to pay the bills”).  Most media types below the Brian Williams (cough, cough) level consider themselves underpaid compared to their intelligence and talents.  Seeing the Clintons become mega-rich by influence-peddling (and everyone but Lanny Davis understands that $500K for a speech is a payoff, not fair compensation for a riveting speech) just doesn’t sit that well.
  2. Hillary is seen as  sell-out, and she is blocking the path of current lefty heartthrob Elizabeth Warren.  The media want her to retire to her money bin and let Liz work her Cherokee magic on the economy.

I only hope that the panic spreads slowly enough to keep Hillary as the nominee.  That would be the most entertaining and productive scenario I could imagine.