Published on Townhall.com
The Hillary imbroglio makes it one too many for the Clinton Brand, doesn’t it? Through the Nineties, the outhouse aromas greeting our nostrils with unwelcome regularity were many: Whitewater, Little Rock bimbos, Filegate, HillaryCare, Monica, Ed Mezvinsky, Marc Rich—just to hit the lowlights.
One might argue they were Bill’s issues, not hers, but anyone who seriously believes Mrs. Clinton had no knowledge or involvement in many of them—except for the Bimbogate assignations—needs another think. Her CV undoes her, does it not? Either she was an honest and proper First Lady leading do-good projects in the background, or she was a principal in her husband’s administration and business dealings. Neither claim earns her qualifications to become the next POTUS.
That was then, her acolytes will quibble, but let’s take a look. In the Two Thousands, as a US Senator from New York, she is accountable for all of her statements about WMDs and the Iraq war. Yes, they existed—as the Clinton Administration, she, and the New York Times proclaimed—and Yes, she supported it, except when she didn’t.
In 2008, Mrs. Clinton was the standard bearer for the vaunted Clinton Brand, and despite what they expected it to mean, she let a one-term freshman Senator from Illinois with no brand whatsoever beat her pretty handily. As a campaigner, she’s short on karma and charisma.
One has to use Aristotelian logic to tease out what happened next. Careful readers of the news since her assumption of the Secretary of State’s mantle will know that like the Secretarys of Defense elsewhere in the cabinet stable, she became for President Obama a star horseholder, but never once sat in diplomacy’s saddle. She exists between two damns: she’s damned if she claims a major policy role in what has proven to be a disastrous state of international relations, and she’s damned if she says she was just a message bearer for Obama’s micro-managed foreign policy. In the second instance, she becomes just another one-term Senator with Oval Office delusions.
What few news analysts have attempted to parse is her relatively sudden, unexpected resignation from a post, which, under ordinary circumstances, would have helped burnish her credentials for the nation’s top spot. It is hard to argue that staying on board would have precluded her from launching her own campaign. The easy counter is that she would better have stayed on until late 2015 or early 2016, then honorably resigned to pursue her political ambitions.
That should have been the course of events. Right? Because it didn’t happen that way requires us to consider a political, self-serving reason for her departure: she was scared to death the wheels would come off the Obama foreign policy wagon—with her name on it—before 2016. What compelled the decision? Benghazi. For the months leading up to 9/11/12, she may even have been a proponent of a sensible, robust approach in Libya, but when Ambassador Stevens and the others were sacrificed on the altar of Obsequious Obeisance, enough was enough. And she knew more was to come.
If not true, why did she resign? If true, why does loyalty to party policy trump the courage to speak out? Mrs. Clinton might say, “What difference does it make?”
Now we have still another Clinton Brand challenge: Rules that apply to everyone in government regarding email/internet security, David Petraeus included, she dismissed for “personal convenience.” Confessing to a minor sin distracts us from the mortal one of harboring sensitive information on a personal, non-sanctioned, taxpayer supported server. A nice dodge.
When you think about it, the outhouse aromas never really went away. We just dealt with the stink. This year, we need to remove the clothespins from our noses and say, “Not this time.”
Warren is a political observer, commentator, and author (Turnover), who writes from western Pennsylvania’s Amish country.