Republican presidential nominees normally run with one arm tied behind their back. Bob Dole shied away from discussing Bill Clinton’s scandals. John McCain ducked the subject of Barack Obama’s association with Jeremiah Wright. Mitt Romney dropped any mention of Benghazi in his final debate.
Donald Trump suffers no such inhibitions. He is swinging hard at Hillary with both hands, forcing her to retreat into a telling silence.
“I am going to let him run his campaign however he chooses,” she said. “I have nothing to say about him and how he is running his campaign.” Accused of rape by Trump, Bill Clinton didn’t deny the charge. He said elliptically, “I think people are smart enough to figure this out without my help.”
Hillary finds herself in a defensive silence, as her supposed commanding lead over Trump dissipates. Not so long ago Washington Post pundits were cackling over the ease with which Hillary would dispatch Trump. Now one of the paper’s own polls shows him up by two points.
Hillary had expected to be the one silencing Republicans on “women’s issues.” Perhaps against a timid, media-traumatized nominee she could have raised the specter of the “party of Todd Akins” and so on. But that avenue is now closed to her. She knows that anytime she describes the GOP as a “war on women” Trump will remind voters of her husband’s tours of duty. Bill’s war on the dignity of women dates to the 1970s and numbers conquests in the thousands, according to one of his mistresses. Before it occurred to Hillary that Trump might win the GOP nomination, she used to rattle on about Sandra Fluke and how important it is to keep men who disrespect the rights of women out of the Oval Office. Were she to pursue that line of attack in a debate, Trump would be liable to ask her: Do you mean your husband?
An unfiltered Trump is turning what Hillary thought would be a strength into a weakness. Every time she sends Bill out to campaign for her in states where she leaves voters cold, she now has to worry about how he will respond to Trump’s latest attacks on him. Flailing against Sanders, she has no choice but to use Bill in states like California, where he has been reduced to telling disaffected Dems to “relax” about Hillary’s general-election chances.
The New York Post noted that Al Gore hasn’t endorsed Hillary. He too is a Bernie person, though he hasn’t formally endorsed Sanders either. Hillary thought Gore made a mistake by not making use of Bill during his campaign against George W. Bush. But she may end up making the same decision. The more she uses him, the more Trump can talk about the chaos and corruption of the Clinton years. It also makes it easy for him to cast the election as a choice between the future and the past, between a fresh outsider and exhausted elites.
Hillary overestimated the degree to which people would look back fondly on her husband’s presidency. Not wanting to invoke Obama’s, she invoked his and hoped to catch whatever reflected glory it offered. But it is covering her more in a mist of slime.
And the hits keep coming. It was reported this week that the scummy governor of Virginia and old retainer for the Clintons, Terry McAuliffe, is under FBI investigation for taking money from a dubious Clinton Foundation donor.
Pundits are shocked that Trump would reference the “fishy” death of Vince Foster. But if Hillary is presenting this election as an opportunity to return to the glory of the Clinton years, why not mention its sordid moments? Trump could even broaden his commentary to include her other partner from the Rose Law Firm, Webb Hubbell, who went to prison for tax fraud after Hillary had Bill make him associate attorney general of the Justice Department. Hillary, these days, claims to be very worried about what Americans might find in Trump’s tax returns. She never showed the slightest bit of interest in Hubbell’s.
One of her law partners killed himself; the other went off to jail. These are the halcyon days to which Hillary thinks Americans want to return?
Casting about for an angle of attack against Trump, she told union workers the other day that Trump might “bankrupt” America like he “bankrupted” some of his companies. In a feeble quip, she said, “I mean ask yourself, how could anybody lose money running a casino? Really?”
To ordinary Americans, who struggle to make money off entrepreneurial risks instead of six-figure speaking fees like her, such failures are very comprehensible. Less comprehensible to them is how an Alinskyite liberal who preaches the gospel of socialism can make more money in an hour than most people make in a year.
Hillary’s mockery only draws attention to her entitled understanding of money-making. For her, life has been a casino in which her house was always guaranteed to win. This is the Wellesley graduate, after all, who once made a $100,000 off a $1,000 investment in cattle futures. “Crooked Hillary” indeed.
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