Imagine: even the New York Times’ Ross Douthat now thinks that Bill Clinton should have stepped down over the Monica Lewinsky affair. Douthat’s mea culpa op-ed in this past weekend’s paper, in which he confesses that he and others may have been wrong to dismiss Bill Clinton’s indefensible behavior, will serve as the official political obituary for Clinton, Inc.
Hillary Clinton is done, finished, kaput. Dogged by scandals old and new, out of step politically, her excess baggage has morphed into an entire baggage train, dragging her towards political oblivion. While it is refreshing to consider the landscape unadorned by Clintons, Republicans will miss her. Only Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have contributed as generously to GOP fund-raising efforts in recent years, or so energized voters.
Mrs. Clinton is finally being held to account, at least in the court of public opinion, where it may matter most. As charges of sexual aggression swirl around prominent figures on the left and right, Bill Clinton’s gross and possibly criminal behavior is getting a second look. New York’s junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took the revisionism to a whole new level when she told the New York Times that President Clinton should have stepped down when his sexual relationship with 22-year old staffer Monica Lewinsky came to light.
Though Gillibrand later tried to soften the blow by putting her statement in a modern context, the damage was done. Bill Clinton’s affairs and sexual aggression are now fair game, at a time when the country is outraged over such activities. Many have long considered Hillary’s defense of her husband hypocritical in the extreme. Even as she postured as a champion of women’s rights, she tossed Lewinsky, Juanita Broaddrick (who accused Clinton of rape), Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones under the bus. These women accused Hillary of trying to intimidate them into silence. As recently as last year, Broaddrick broke down in tears as she recounted her 1978 ordeal. It would be hard to muster that emotion if the story were bogus.
Bill Clinton’s affairs and sexual aggression are now fair game, at a time when the country is outraged over such activities.
It is high time Bill Clinton’s misdeeds and Hillary’s defense of them received bipartisan condemnation. Gillibrand broke that sound barrier. Others have piled on, including Clinton-friendly pundits and apparatchiks like David Rothkopf, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, and Michelle Goldberg. Liberal screed and former staffer at the Center for American Progress Matthew Iglesias wrote on Vox recently, “I think we got it wrong”, saying that defending Mr. Clinton was a mistake.
Meanwhile, there are increasing calls for a special counsel to investigate accusations that Hillary sold out the country by green-lighting the sale of Uranium One to a Russian state-linked entity, in return for cash donated to the Clinton Foundation and to Bill directly. Mrs. Clinton is in a precarious position here; as she becomes more assertive in blaming her election loss on Moscow’s intervention, she has called for ever-widening scrutiny of all things Russian. This is a risky gambit for Mrs. Clinton; comparisons between actual payments made to Clinton, Inc. and smoky speculation about “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia do not favor the former First Lady.
The Russia probe has also unearthed revelations that Hillary’s campaign shelled out millions of dollars to finance the infamous “Trump dossier,” which fed speculation about the president’s ties to Russia and how Moscow might have influenced the election. In other words, the Clinton team paid for a hit job on Trump that has been widely discredited but that ultimately led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and the ever-expanding investigation that Democrats hope will bring down a duly elected president. It is a shocking chain of events, and one that has been extraordinarily damaging to the country.
Nonetheless, Hillary continues to tour the country, claiming with ever-greater vehemence that Russia undermined her campaign and put Donald Trump in the White House. That’s when she’s not blaming misogyny, the media, the DNC, Bernie Sanders, President Obama, James Comey and a host of others whom she considers responsible. Her tour is an embarrassment, not only for its content, but because it is yet another example of the never-ending Clinton lust for cash. She has been selling “VIP” tickets for nearly $1,200; you would think she might treat her loyal supporters to a freebie, after they doled out billions only to see her lose. The good news: plenty of websites are advertising tickets at 50 percent off.
Those steadfast supporters need some good news. Donna Brazile’s revelations that Hillary effected a clandestine takeover of the Democratic National Committee almost a year before the election, and made sure that the supposedly neutral organization pushed the nomination in her direction was salt in the wound. Aside from the shocking disclosures, Brazile’s break with Clinton, Inc. is a sure sign that Hillary and Bill’s dominance of Democratic politics, nurtured by an incomparable fundraising behemoth, is coming to an end.
Not that they have yet ceded the floor. Last May Hillary and former DNC Chair Howard Dean launched Onward Together, a PAC established to fund groups dedicated to “encouraging people to organize, get involved and run for office.” Presumably Hillary tapped Dean for credibility in sponsoring the “progressive values” the PAC’s website claims. The Daily Caller has reported that six months in, Onward Together seems mainly intent on fundraising, with scant evidence that its revenues are being distributed to other organizations.
With the Clintons, it has always been about the money. Onward Together will be a test. If the millions roll in, the Clintons will remain a force to be reckoned with. If not, they will fade into political obscurity. Already, monies flowing into the now-tainted Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation have tumbled – down 42 percent in 2016 on top of a 37 percent drop the year before.
It’s also about the politics. Democrats have moved far to the left of Bill and Hillary. Worse for the Clintons, they are moving on.