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“The National Bitch Hunt”: Nothing Ever Changes In Hunt For A Clinton Scandal

Where Hillary Clinton is concerned, nothing ever changes.

The National Bitch Hunt has been going on for more than 20 years. As a personal matter, the inimitable Camille Paglia set the terms in a long ago essay in The New Republic portraying Clinton as a “man-woman…bitch goddess,” and “the drag queen of modern politics.”

Crackpot New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd has taken up the theme with a vengeance, writing literally scores of columns depicting the former Secretary of State as a cunning schemer. One week Clinton’s a Stepford Wife, then she’s Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, next Mommie Dearest.

This is what happens when the Heathers at the Cute Girls lunch table suspect you’re smarter than they are. Paglia’s particularly troubled by “the brittle brilliance of Hillary’s calculating, analytical mind.”

I’m betting they’ve never met.

Meanwhile, here’s a Washington Post headline to ponder: “New scandals and reasons to wonder if Hillary is hiding something.”

Quick now: Whitewater, White House Travel Office, or the more contemporary “emailgate”?

It’s Eugene Robinson, March 10, 2015. As the immortal Yogi Berra used to say, déjà vu all over again. The Washington Press Clique’s standard story hasn’t changed for two decades. They can type it up in their sleep. “Washington may now have reached the state-of-the-art point of having a cover-up without a crime,” the Post editorialized back in 1994. By arranging to have Whitewater documents delivered to the Independent Counsel instead of the inept reporters who created the bogus scandal, the White House made “it appear as if the Clintons have something to hide.”

Back then, Time columnist Michael Kramer spoke for them all. Writing entirely in the subjunctive mood — “if,” “may have,” “even if,” “might not” — Kramer confessed he couldn’t make heads or tails of the swirling allegations. Even so, “how is it possible,” he demanded, “that two respected lawyers like Bill and Hillary Clinton don’t possess a paper trail capable of proving their innocence?” [my emphasis]

Many years, millions of dollars and scores of accusatory headlines later, of course, it turned out that they did. Even so, Hillary Clinton’s been living in a Kafka novel ever since. Her guilt is primal, like Original Sin. The “bitch” has to prove her innocence over and over again.

Never mind that no Secretary of State previous to Clinton ever used a government email address. Nor that inadequately protected State Department computers have been repeatedly hacked by Wikileaks and others. Nor even that, contrary to insinuations in the New York Times article that started the latest festival of speculation, the Obama administration law requiring a state.gov address wasn’t enacted until two years after Clinton left the State Department.

People expecting bombshell revelations must think that Clinton’s not only a cunning Machiavel scheming her way into the White House, but also as dumb as a box of rocks. Whatever you think of her politics, realistically, what do you think are the odds that somebody with her unique experiences connived to hide her torrid love affair with Vladimir Putin or her secret membership in the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Muslim Brotherhood, and wrote it all down in an email?

Again, love her or don’t, but here’s the thing about Hillary Clinton: Paglia’s right, she’s seriously smart, diligent, and she always does her homework. Certainly smart enough to understand Rule One of cyber communications: If you don’t want to see it in the newspaper or on Fox News, don’t text it, tweet it, put it on Facebook or send it in an email.

During her March 10 press conference, Clinton casually allowed as how she never sent or received classified information via email. That alone should dampen the enthusiasm of Republicans on the latest House Benghazi committee who leaked this overblown story to the media in the first place. Indeed that appears to be their motive. Evidence of the cover-up conspiracy theorists have imagined turns out to be entirely lacking.

“We knew as of last summer that the Secretary used a private email account,” said California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff. “This is not something new. We knew also that she was cooperating. She was giving us everything that we asked for. Nothing changed except for the pressure on the Republican members of the committee this week became too great for them to resist from the Stop Hillary PAC people and the RNC people, so they issued a subpoena for records that we already have.

“Now, the Secretary has called for those records to be made public. Why isn’t the chairman doing that? Why aren’t we doing that? The reason is we’ve read them. There’s nothing in them. My colleague says well, how do we know we have them all?”

How, indeed? That too has been an unvarying feature of the National Bitch Hunt. The incriminating evidence remains forever over the event horizon, and tantalizingly just out of reach.

 

By: Gene Lyons, The National Memo, March 11, 2015

March 16, 2015 Posted by | Election 2016, Hillary Clinton, House Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Bowe Bergdahl Story Is Right-Wing Crack”: And Sure Enough, Republicans Are Hitting The Pipe Big Time

I was amazed but not surprised by my Twitter feed Monday. More than 200 tweets from conservatives, I would estimate, calling me a host of names and Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl a menu of worse ones. That’s the most ever in one day, I think, even more than for my most scorching anti-NRA columns, which have heretofore set the gold standard for inspiring drooling right-wing vitriol.

I was not, as I say, surprised. This story has every element right-wingers dream of. Every dark suspicion they harbor about President Obama can be wedged into the narrative conservatives are constructing about how Saturday’s prisoner exchange supposedly went down and what the president’s presumed motivations were. So I knew instantly, when I read Michael Hastings’s 2012 Rolling Stone profile of Bergdahl on Sunday afternoon, that this was going to be the next Benghazi. The story is right-wing crack. And sure enough, Republicans are hitting the pipe big time.

Some of the wilder criticisms of me notwithstanding, my column Monday made two basic points. First, if a Republican president had swapped five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl, all the people howling today would be spinning it positively. And second, while there are legitimate questions here—yes, I wrote that it was “fair to ask whether the price” of Bergdahl’s freedom was “too high”—what we’re about to get is another relentlessly politicized series of investigations that will be aimed not at determining the truth but at trying to turn possible errors of judgment by the White House into high crimes and misdemeanors. That’s the game here. Anyone who denies it is being naively or intentionally delusional.

Time, even the short amount that has passed between then and now, has proved me all too prescient—not that I’m patting myself on the back; it was a painfully easy call. The most notable development Tuesday was that former Romney adviser Richard Grenell was found to be setting up interviews for soldiers in Bergdahl’s battalion who wanted to go public trashing him. It may be, as Grenell’s partner said, that the soldiers found him on Twitter and it just kind of worked out that way. But the bottom line is what it is. These soldiers joining forces with a PR guy who used to work for John Bolton and then for candidate Mitt Romney, a man who is so deeply enmeshed in partisan politics, puts a political coloration on their words whether they mean it to or not.

I’m not defending Bergdahl here, and I didn’t Monday. Somebody on Twitter made a big deal out of the fact that I put the word “deserter” in quotes. You’re fucking-a right I did. He’s not officially a deserter. He is officially a sergeant in good standing. People can believe he is a deserter all they want, and maybe he is. But is the military’s official position worth nothing? That’s an interesting right-wing posture.

The military should investigate whether Bergdahl was a deserter, and it should court-martial him if the evidence supports doing that. In the meantime, what end is served by the character assassinations of him and especially of his father, who’s a citizen with all the usual rights? The creepy bottom line of the right-wing position, mostly unstated but often implied in tweets and comments, is that the U.S. government should have just left Bergdahl to die. That’s an appalling position. Bring him back alive, then let him face whatever justice he must face. But bring him back. That’s what civil societies do. What kind of society and leader lets their captive soldiers die in enemy hands? Recall that the guy who wouldn’t even trade a Nazi general for his own son (who died in German custody) was named Stalin.

That is why John Bellinger, a national-security lawyer in George W. Bush’s administration, said on Fox that he believes the Bush administration would have done exactly the same thing the Obama administration did. From Think Progress:

Asked about reports that Bergdahl deserted his unit in 2009, Bellinger added that the former hostage “will have to face justice, military justice.” “We don’t leave soldiers on the battlefield under any circumstance unless they have actually joined the enemy army,” he said. “He was a young 20-year-old. Young 20-year-olds make stupid decisions. I don’t think we’ll say if you make a stupid decision we’ll leave you in the hands of the Taliban.”

 

By: Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast, June 4, 2104

June 5, 2014 Posted by | Bowe Bergdahl, POW's, Republicans | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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