Hillary Clinton is likely to win the presidency in part because she is largely immune from attack for her past scandals. Put simply, people are tired of hearing about all the terrible and sleazy things she’s done in her life. The topic even bores Hillary:
Hillary has more skeletons in her closet than any other candidate on either side of the aisle. But unlike the scary unknown skeletons in the other candidates’ closets, Hillary’s skeletons are familiar, like old friends.
Hillary’s skeletons are so well-known, they should have their own nicknames. Hey look, it’s “Whitey,” the Whitewater skeleton! Over there is “Pink Slip,” the Travel Office Firings skeleton — right next to the collection of bones labeled “Hillarycare.” That grinning skull on the shelf? His official name is “Cattle Futures Skeleton,” but he goes by “Hundred Thousand” — the eye-popping sum of money she made off those trades. It just sounds more “street.” And that bag of bones in the corner is the one formally known as “Magic Reappearing Rose Law Firm Billing Records Skeleton.” Yeah, it’s kind of an awkward name; just call him “Rosie.” Everyone else does.
These skeletons may not offend voters . . . but they may bore them. You want proof? Let me take just a few paragraphs to remind you of the details of the Whitewater scandal.
I’m just kidding. I’m not really going to do that. But you cringed, didn’t you?
So it’s no surprise that, although Hillary’s past scandals say much about her tendency towards dishonesty and abuse of power, nobody seems to care. Big Media, which in years past had showed at least occasional interest in these matters, no longer considers them news. For example: the editors of the Chicago Tribune wrote the following passage in January 1996, about the Clintons’ behavior during the Whitewater scandal:
The legal issues will sort themselves out in time. But one thing has become all too clear. Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides have made a concerted effort to deceive official investigators and the American public with half truths and outright lies . . . It’s not clear what the Clintons want to conceal, but it’s clear that they have made extraordinary efforts to do so.
That was Then, and this is Now. These days, your average Chicago Tribune editorial writer won’t wear out his typing finger producing an angry screed about Hillary’s past dishonesty. He is more likely to spend his time churning out an editorial about campaign videos — with praise for Hillary’s little Sopranos spoof. Concerns about Hillary’s deception of the American people now give way to more vital issues, like John Edwards’s $400 haircut.
Hillary understands this. Newsweek reported recently about opposition research into Hillary’s past, and noted:
If Clinton is worried about the new dirt-digging efforts, she isn’t showing it. When two much-anticipated biographies dropped into bookstores last week, her campaign dismissed them as “old news” and “cash for rehash.”
That will be her consistent response throughout the campaign — and it will likely work. Every candidate would love to be able to dismiss their political baggage with an airy wave of the hand, and a statement about the need to “move on” to the “real issues” facing the country. But this strategy is likely to prove particularly effective for Hillary, because people are just sick of hearing about these scandals.
That’s why Hillary is going to win. She’s the only candidate whose dirt is all old news.
[Patterico blogs at Patterico.com and can be reached at patterico -AT- gmail -DOT- com.]