Saturday, May 09, 2015


At the Daily Beast, as part of his effort to explain why character attacks don't hurt the Clintons, Jeff Greenfield writes:
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 investigation

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....
It'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:
Peter Schweizer and conservative radio host Dana Loesch speculated that Schweizer could be murdered by "the Clinton machine" over his new book Clinton Cash.

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."
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.

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.


Chris Andersen said...

The best example of this was the opening week of the Lewinsky scandal. I remember watching the weekend news talk shows and seeing several commentators saying that Clinton's presidency could be measured in days.

As the week went on the first polls on the scandal started to come out. What did they show? Bill Clinton's approval rating jumped nearly 10%

This pattern repeated several times. Every single time there was another revelation that was touted as the thing that would bury the Clinton's, his approval rating would get a bounce. This happened even after his Grand Jury testimony was broadcast, an even his critics was sure would destroy. If anything, it produce the biggest jump yet of the whole scandal.

By the end of his Presidency, Clinton had far higher approval ratings than he did before Lewinsky.

So, GOP, "please proceed".

Victor said...

The gullibility of these conservative people is astounding.

They've gotten mail soliciting money to defend conservatism from the looming doom of the liberal takeover for 50 years.

We liberals are nowhere near taking over - witness our Congress - and yet, they still send in money to stop the Jade Helm takeover of TX.
Who wants TX?

peabody nobis said...

"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)"

Did it really "need to be checked out"?The man was depressed and demoralized by the savagery of the DC press corps. He even left a suicide note naming the WSJ as one of drivers of his taking his own life(a detail studiously ignored and dismissed by the DC press corps).
For the GOP to pursue an investigation against the Clintons for Foster's death was beyond the pale.

Blackstone said...


Victor said...


'There wolf. There castle. Why are we talking like this?'