For close to a quarter-century now, the willingness -- make that eagerness -- of voices on the Right to embrace every accusation against the Clintons has proven to be a pearl of great price for Bill and Hillary, serving to insulate them politically from allegations that were, in fact, credible. (No, the Clintons did not murder Vince Foster, nor profit from the Whitewater deal. Yes, there was something distinctly non-kosher about how Hillary Clinton made so much money trading cattle futures. No, the Clintons did not hang pornographic toys on a White House Christmas tree; yes, the Marc Rich pardon was indefensible).I like the fact that, when enumerating Clinton non-scandals, Greenfield lumps together a story that could conceivably have uncovered wrongdoing but didn't (Whitewater), one that needed to be checked out as a matter of due diligence but was always far-fetched as a scandal (whether Vince Foster was murdered), and one that was just utter lunacy (the sex toys on the Christmas tree). That's appropriate, because the right is a scndalmongering machine, and that's true regardless of the plausibility of the (real or fake) scandals. The right milks them in different ways, but they all get milked.
And so on the right at this moment we have the alleged plot to seize control of Texas by means of the Jade Helm 15 military exercises; most Republicans whove talked about Jade Helm have said, in effect, Well, I don't think there's anything to worry about, but with these Obama people you just never know, do you? And then, at the "respectable" end of the spectrum, there's Benghazi, a scandal that Republicans expect to milk for another year and a half:
GOP slow-plays Benghazi investigationIt's obvious that there's no there there, but Republicans will continue to try to convey the sense that the smoking gun has yet to be discovered -- just as they continue to talk as if the Clinton murder of Vincent Foster has simply never been proven:
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has agreed to testify before the Benghazi committee this month but don’t expect Republicans to be satisfied with her appearance.
House Republicans have now spent a full year investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya -- including whether any of the former secretary of State’s actions may have contributed to the incident -- and there are few indications there will be a speedy conclusion to their inquiries.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, signaled he’s prepared to drag out his investigation well into 2016 if Clinton and the Obama administration continue to stonewall his requests for documents and answers....
Peter Schweizer and conservative radio host Dana Loesch speculated that Schweizer could be murdered by "the Clinton machine" over his new book Clinton Cash.The right just can't let go of any scandal, real or fake. This actually works for Republicans in non-presidential years, because it keeps the GOP voter base fired up and ready to turn out when Democratic voters won't. But it fails them in presidential elections -- as Greenfield says, the constant attacks on the Clintons actually boost their popularity, and help them downplay what might otherwise be legitimate scandals. To some extent, that's true of President Obama as well -- the people who tried to attack him over Benghazi seemed to be the same people who'd demanded to see his birth certificate; because he was a president, less engaged voters saw him as the victim of unsubstantiated attacks, and treated the attackers as lacking credibility about anything.
During a May 4 appearance on The Dana Show, Loesch told Schweizer "there is always that concern for anyone who goes up against the Clinton machine that they could be Vince Fostered" and asked if he considered that possibility when "getting himself security." Schweizer replied: "Yeah, I mean look -- there are security concerns that arise in these kinds of situations."
I'm pleased that Republicans scandalmongering often fails -- though I wish it failed all the time. In any event, it's practically all Republicans have got.