Paul Waldman is wrong. On Monday, he wrote, An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton. Basically, he’s asking that Clinton prove to liberals that she isn’t going to squander what looks like a pretty clean run at the presidency. I don’t disagree with this. But the way he thinks she ought to earn that trust is all screwed up. I want Clinton to show me that she isn’t going to be just another New Democrat. And frankly, I don’t think she will ever convince me of that, because she has every intention of being just another new Democrat. Waldman wants her to prove that she won’t be a magnet for scandals.
I don’t think that the Clintons were scandal magnets. I think they were simply on the leading edge of the Republican lunacy that sees any Democrat as fundamentally invalid. Thus, any Democratic president — or potential president — must be involved in something nefarious to destroy America itself. If there was any doubt about this, it should have been clear in 2004 with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. That’s where Republicans showed that there is no level that they wouldn’t sink to for political gain. They smeared a military hero for no other reason than to gain a slight advantage in a political campaign. It was shameful.
But what have we been living through for the last six years? Has this not been one scandal after another? And really, who on the planet is more squeaky clean than Barack Obama? Waldman claims that with the Clintons there was always a “kernel of truth.” But that’s only true in the most ridiculous sense. The “kernel of truth” that ended in Bill Clinton’s impeachment was that Hillary Clinton actually did lose money on the Whitewater investment? This is what we are supposed to think the Clintons should have managed better? I don’t think so.
Waldman also wants Clinton to be more open with information. But wasn’t that also what led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment? Isn’t it always the case that if a determined critic digs deep enough for long enough, something will turn up? Ken Starr started with Whitewater and ended at a blowjob. He could have started anywhere and ended at that. The Clintons were probably lucky Starr didn’t come up with treason or at least sedition. I just don’t see this as being the Clintons’ fault. And the fact that they are worried about this stuff is not surprising.
The biggest problem with Waldman’s letter is how “inside the beltway” it is. When liberal voters think of the Clintons, they do not think of the scandals. Certainly, they remember them. But mostly, they remember that the Clintons survived them. The takeaway, however, is that the last time the economy was good was when Bill Clinton was president. Also, I think liberal voters are still disappointed that they couldn’t vote for both the African American man and the white woman in 2008. So for the last six years, they’ve been itching to have their second cake.
Like I said before, there are things that I want Clinton to show me. And I also hope that she can run a decent campaign. But scandal is going to follower her just like it is going to follow any Democratic presidential candidate. The GOP and Fox News will make sure of that. And if that reminds reporters of the 1990s, well, there’s a reason for that. And it has nothing to do with Hillary and Bill Clinton.