It is admittedly difficult to bear the obsequious servility that punctuates The New York Times editorial board’s latest gentle attempt to convince Hillary Clinton that she has a serious problem on her hands. Viewed, however, as a window into the thinking of the Democratic Party’s terrified pragmatists who are slowly coming to the realization that they backed the wrong horse, The Times’ latest is clarifying. It is a desperate and helpless demand that Clinton somehow stop the bleeding.
“Nothing illegal has been alleged about the foundation, the global philanthropic initiative founded by former President Bill Clinton,” The Times editorial averred. “There is no indication that Mrs. Clinton played a role in the uranium deal’s eventual approval by a cabinet-level committee.”
Well then, why did this editorial need to be written in the first place? Of course, the admission that corruption can neither be proven nor disproven is a condemnation of Clinton’s conduct rather than a defense of it. They know as well as anyone else that the evidence that presumably would exculpate Clinton was destroyed by her own hand. That reality certainly complicates the editorial board’s effort to exonerate the prohibitive Democratic nominee.
It doesn’t take long before The Times gets into the meat of the issue. Though they cling with all the conviction of a convert losing their faith to the notion that Clinton’s scandals are political rather than substantive in nature, the editorial board is nevertheless moved to demand that Hillary and Bill Clinton personally address the damaging allegations swirling around them and their family charity.
“The increasing scrutiny of the foundation has raised several points that need to be addressed by Mrs. Clinton and the former president,” The Times editorial read. “These relate most importantly to the flow of multimillions in donations from foreigners and others to the foundation, how Mrs. Clinton dealt with potential conflicts as secretary of state and how she intends to guard against such conflicts should she win the White House.”
The only plausible answer is full and complete disclosure of all sources of money going to the foundation. And the foundation needs to reinstate the ban on donations from foreign governments for the rest of her campaign — the same prohibition that was in place when she was in the Obama administration.
Considering that they tread lightly lest they dare permanently damage a political figure for which there is no ready replacement, this is as close as you can get to a vote of no confidence in the Democratic Party’s likely nominee.
It isn’t just the scandalous revelations swirling around the Clintons that have jeopardized her political prospects either. The former secretary of state’s efforts to appeal to the Democratic Party’s restless left-wing have been sloppy, polarizing, and have demonstrated the extent to which Clinton’s political instincts have atrophied. Rest assured, smart Democratic operatives are panicking, and they’re already contemplating a Plan B.
The Times might not be outwardly panicking just yet, but this editorial is a sign that the façade of calm is crumbling. This story will survive the weekend, and it has as much potential as did the former secretary of state’s email scandal to force her out of the bunker and in front of the media’s cameras. The question then becomes, how many hastily assembled damage control press conferences can one hold before the public stops listening?