Every night’s going to be Halloween night for Hillary. The skeletons in her closet are signing up now for the conga line. They’re impatient to put on their dancing shoes for the 2016 presidential campaign. Like it or not, it’s just around the corner.
Even when her friends try to raise their voices in Hillary’s defense, what comes out is mostly static. The attempted whitewash by The New York Times of the hash she made of Benghazi only reminds everyone that she was asleep when the telephone rang at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Robert M. Gates, the former defense secretary, tried to be nice in his bombshell book, “Duty,” but his assertion that she tried to meddle in Iraq war strategy for image-making purposes only confirms the widespread public view that Bonnie and Clod are always looking out only for themselves.
The White House bristled at Mr. Gates‘ description of Joe Biden as the bungling blowhard of his administration, the man with a bizarre quip always at the ready, and the president dispatched a spokesman to defend him, if not necessarily to reassure anyone else: “Joe Biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time and has helped advance America’s leadership in the world. President Obama relies on his good counsel every day.”
This leading statesman of his time is the party’s fallback if Hillary can’t make the sale, and if the party thinks Chris Christie’s got structural problems, someone should review Hillary’s colorfully checkered past. Gov. Christie might outlive the memory of a traffic jam, but surviving a stampede of skeletons will require luck as well as skill.
A considerably more restrained David Axelrod, who is only a former White House adviser, interrupted his breakfast to tell NBC’s “Today” show that he wouldn’t “suggest” that Mr. Gates “made up things to sell a book,” but the “language that he used … on that Iraq story [about the president and Hillary] was vague and it was subjective.”
Washington spin is often vague, and it’s always subjective, but when the skirmishes are over and the heavy cannonading begins, nobody will have to make up stuff about the former first lady, former senator, former secretary of state and reigning queen of the feminist wannabes.
The outlines of the Hillary defense are already clear. Her defenders, paid and otherwise, will borrow a page from Barack Obama’s playbook. The Obama campaign enjoyed considerable success early on, painting anyone who noticed his imperfections as an irredeemable racist, a bigot and a zealot who probably trades slaves on the side.
A similar strategy won’t work for Hillary.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, the eminently quotable onetime associate justice of the Supreme Court, once held that a woman demands that every man show cause why he doth not love her, but Hillary is a woman who can’t do that. Most men, according to the early public-opinion polls, would eagerly show cause.
The Hillary campaign will quickly call back old times. The trail of scandal is a long one, beginning when she was a bride in Arkansas and a lawyer at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Bonnie to Bubba’s impersonation of Clod.
She outgrew Arkansas soon enough, and had hardly got to the White House before making mischief. She sacked seven loyal and hardworking employees in the White House travel office to make room for pals and cronies. She insisted that she knew nothing, and The Los Angeles Times discovered “substantial evidence” that she lied under oath.
Laws against perjury are optional in Clinton World.
Hillary’s friends in high places in the media world will paint all criticism — all recollections of the past as prologue — as part of the “war on women.” They’re counting on the Republicans to let the canard go unchallenged, as Mitt Romney, the nicest of the nice Republicans, did.
The Hillary Democrats want equality for women, just not too much of it. They’ll appeal to what the feminist writer Camille Paglia calls Bubba’s “nostalgic popularity” while insisting that criticism, demands that she account for her dreadful irresponsibility, is the work of sexist men and their doxies.
But this time, it won’t work. There’s too much dreadful irresponsibility to account for. That conga line of skeletons is a long one, and they’re eager to do the two-step.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.