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The Clinton Rules: Still In Effect

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clinton benghazi

I mentioned earlier this week how the Washington Post used misleading language to try to turn distinctly non-scandalous behavior into a scandal because Hillary Clinton. Well, the AP had an even more ambitious attempt at making a scandal out of nothing at all, which Clizza et al. immediately swallowed whole. The problem is that it was also a massive trainwreck. LeTourneau:

But here is where the AP blew their story. In an attempt to provide an example of how this becomes an “optics” problem for Hillary Clinton, they focused much of the article on the fact that she met several times with Muhammad Yunus, a Clinton Foundation donor. In case you don’t recognize that name, he is an economist from Bangladesh who pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance as a way to fight poverty, and founded Grameen Bank. For those efforts, Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

The connection the AP tries to make is that SoS Clinton met with Yunus because he was a Clinton Foundation donor. What they didn’t mention is that their relationship goes back over 30 years to the time Hillary (as first lady of Arkansas) heard about his work and brought him to her state to explore the possibility of implementing microfinance programs to assist the poor.

During the time that Clinton was Secretary of State, the government of Bangladesh was trying to discredit Yunus and remove him from leadership at Grameen Bank due to the fact that he was seen as a political threat.

I used to be a Democrat, but since I found that Hillary Clinton met repeatedly met with Muhammad Yunus I’m outraged that Bill and Hillary Clinton lost money in a minor Arkansas land deal and plan to support someone who has ripped off and defrauded so many people he can’t get a loan from an American bank instead.

Yglesias:

According to their reporting, Clinton spent a remarkably large share of her time as America’s chief diplomat talking to people who had donated money to the Clinton Foundation. She went out of her way to help these Clinton Foundation donors, and her decision to do so raises important concerns about the ethics of her conduct as secretary and potentially as president. It’s a striking piece of reporting that made immediate waves in my social media feed, as political journalists of all stripes retweeted the story’s headline conclusions.

Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct. In fact, they found so little unethical conduct that an enormous amount of space is taken up by a detailed recounting of the time Clinton tried to help a former Nobel Peace Prize winner who’s also the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Here’s the bottom line: Serving as secretary of state while your husband raises millions of dollars for a charitable foundation that is also a vehicle for your family’s political ambitions really does create a lot of space for potential conflicts of interest. Journalists have, rightly, scrutinized the situation closely. And however many times they take a run at it, they don’t come up with anything more scandalous than the revelation that maybe billionaire philanthropists have an easier time getting the State Department to look into their visa problems than an ordinary person would.

There is a liberal critique of the Clinton Foundation, which as recently as last month I found fairly credible, that even if they weren’t doing anything wrong, it created the unnecessary potential appearance of corruption. The view of the Clintons is apparently that literally anything they do will be treated as scandalous so if they think the Clinton Foundation is a net positive it’s worth doing. I suppose both can be true, but the ridiculous reporting this week makes me think that the latter position is more accurate.

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  • so-in-so

    Or, maybe, keeping people from dying of AIDS by providing medicine is worth the cost of more Clinton deranged AP articles, especially since the Clinton deranged article will be written on a different subject anyway, and the people with AIDS will have died without the foundation money?

    • Pat

      +11 million lives

    • Jay B

      Pfft. You are clearly overlooking the terrible optics of politicians contributing to good deeds. Don’t you know the moral compromises they could have made if things that didn’t happen actually happened?

  • DrDick

    I have said before that I have issues with Clinton’s ties to the rich and powerful, especially in the financial industry. There are also some issues with the foundation and how it operates, but this is really a big nothing burger.

    • Dilan Esper

      +1

    • Yes, fortunately Republican presidents never have ties with the rich and powerful.

    • JustRuss

      What are the issues with the foundation? I hear a lot of innuendo, but as far as I know it’s never been nailed for anything specific.

      • brewmn

        Rich people are involved, basically.

        • catclub

          Rich people who are traitors to their class. Even worse.

      • ThrottleJockey

        The FBI recovered 15,000 emails that Hillary Clinton thought she had destroyed…There’s, unfortunately, still plenty of shoes to drop.

        Whether or not it was literally ‘Pay to Play’ it has the appearance of Pay to Play…And to what end? Would donations to CGI have dried up if they didn’t include access to the Secretary of State?

        To me it looks like they provided this ‘concierge‘ service because they could. Because, like Willie Sutton said, that’s where the money was.

        • humanoid.panda

          And by “destroyed” you mean “deleted e-mail chains, like any normal person does 10 times a day when.”

          But hey, that chicken won’t fuck itself!

          • ThrottleJockey

            Who deletes email? Especially work email? I never have, and never would, delete work email.

            And she deleted those 15,000 personal emails to prevent the House GOP from ever accessing them. It had nothing to do with regular ‘maintenance’, either real or contrived. You’ve been fucking too many pandas.

            • Jay B

              You don’t delete work emails? Your IT department must love you.

              • ThrottleJockey

                Its not their ass who gets fired if someone accuses me of doing or not doing something. I archive my email for my own job protection, not for theirs.

            • so-in-so

              My large employer automatically deletes all email after 30 days, I need to copy it into a separate place to retain it. This is pretty standard corporate guidance in the modern world. Keeps lawyers from digging two deep in discovery.

              • Yes, this.

                Our system enforces email deletion as well – after mandatory compliance retention (1-7 years, depending upon information classification), all emails are destroyed.

              • ThrottleJockey

                ITs great for lawyers, but its bad for people who get blamed for having not done something. EMail exists as CYA. I archive my email on the regular.

                Both my parents worked for the government. I was taught about CYA by the time I was 10.

                “You say I didn’t inform you of this change, Mr. Busy Body?”

                “The hell I didn’t, here’s the email to prove it.”

                • ColBatGuano

                  So your position has gone from “Who deletes emails?” to “I don’t delete emails because I need proof that it wasn’t my fault.”?

                • ThrottleJockey

                  No I haven’t changed my story. Neither do I delete personal emails… But I sure as hell wouldn’t work emails even if I was the type to delete personal emails

            • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

              Right, Hillary sat at her computer for days sifting through her emails and deleting them.

              What happened was her lawyers hired some (I’m guessing) poorly-paid but expensively-billed people to sort through her emails. Reportedly they did this by just looking at the subject line.

              Also, you’re assuming that everyone handles emails the way you do. I’m closer to your behavior because my memory sucks and six months from now the only way I’m going to know something obscure is if I can locate the email about it. But I have worked with lots of people who consider it a matter of pride that when they leave work at night they have zero emails left in their system. My method works for me, theirs for them.

            • los

              I haven’t been attentively tracking the chain of email/server news issues, but…
              1. regarding personal email, Republicans appear to intend to violate privacy.
              if communications are personal, I can’t see that a committee led by a political group has the right to sift through the equivalent of “proprietary” information of the opposition political party.
              Much of Issa, Gowdy et al’s pursuits are siblings of witch-hunts (and we know that Issa et al are/were also ready to pursue a standard witch-hunt if opportunity occurred).

              2. credible articles indicate some security errors.
              * server lacked SSL/encryption certificate during the first months.
              * and apparently, Clinton’s “IT” failed to correctly delete emails.
              I feel the Obama administration shouldn’t have allowed the unusual arrangement.

        • rea

          And we’ve yet to see anyone who got to see her as Secretary of State who wouldn’t have got to see her in any event. Tell me that John Kerry, or Collin Powell wouldn’t meet with Muhammad Yunus.

          • ThrottleJockey

            Yes (so far) which raises the point of why she would even have the CGI and State Dept coordinate. It seems like so much of a grift. A grift for charity perhaps but a grift nonetheless.

            You can even hear the radio ad: “Donate money to CGI and you’re guaranteed access to the US Secretary of State–or your money back!

            • Pat

              Except that it didn’t work that way… which you would know if you read the article.

            • ExpatChad

              So, for Christ’s sake, go vote for your buddy Trump and stop boring us with your self-righteous, contrarian drivel, already.

              You sound like a good Trump committee member!

      • Denverite

        It was a potential conduit for donors to buy access/favors. It appears that Clinton was pretty strict about not letting that happen, but it’s the whole appearance of impropriety thing.

        • catclub

          It was a potential conduit for donors to buy access/favors

          So let’s count any good the foundation does, and maintaining an A rating with the charity navigators, at zero.

          • In general there’s a complication with Bill being an ex-president. Ex-presidents fundraise for their libraries and for charities. HRC being active in government means that Bill is a possible conduit and people might try to get to H via B. But short of Bill stopping everything it’s hard to see what could be done.

            • GFW

              Bingo, which is why this whole thing reeks of sexism – the effect of his career is to make her career impossible without “appearance of impropriety”.

        • ThrottleJockey

          It was a potential conduit for donors to buy access/favors. It appears that Clinton was pretty strict about not letting that happen

          Assumes facts not in evidence. There are far too many emails and its still too early to have any idea if there’s some smoking quo out there leftover from someone’s quid.

          • Jay B

            It’s exactly the opposite — ALL the evidence that exists at present shows Clinton was strict about not letting it happen. Literally all of it. Your conjecture however, has zero facts in it.

            • ColBatGuano

              Right. Somehow all the incriminating emails are still hidden away while the thousands that have been released showing nothing are a distraction. It’s the same old Clinton dilemma: The lack of evidence is not proof they did nothing wrong, it’s evidence they are very skillful at hiding it.

              • so-in-so

                Same logic saw the internment of the Japanese-Americans in WWII. They haven’t done anything is just PROOF they are saving it for a better time to strike!

              • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

                An entire media industry exists dedicated to your last sentence.

              • los

                Yep. Informal probability ‘estimate’ says that dirt in remaining emails is unlikely.

      • DrDick

        I do not think they are very substantial, mostly in how they are applied and the oversight, much like with the Gates foundation. I do not follow this closely.

    • ThrottleJockey

      No, actually it is a Big Something Burger. Sure the CGI is a charity but the road to hell is paved with good intentions. You can make a solid argument that Hill would’ve met with many of these folks anyways–they’re rich, powerful movers and shakers of the global scene. But where the Clintons have consistently failed for decades is in entwining the personal and the political.

      All this time in Chicago makes me a ‘good government’ progressive. Avoiding the appearance of wrongdoing is as important as avoiding wrongdoing. The way to do this is by setting up ‘Chinese walls’ and organizational boundaries. CGI should’ve been run the same way Hill’s SuperPAC is run, without any coordination with the State Dept.

      But, indicative of a lifetime of bad judgment, the Clintons did the opposite and let her foremost deputy, Huma Abedin, operate on the payroll of both State and CGI–simultaneously. Done that way its impossible not to have at least the appearance of a conflict of interest, and possibly, serious ethical lapses.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        “a lifetime of bad judgement”

        no, actually it isn’t. a career of public service you only wish you were capable of. thanks for playing, though

        • veleda_k

          The bad judgement of existing while a Clinton.

        • ThrottleJockey

          You don’t think the Clinton’s have exhibited a lifetime of bad judgement? Have you forgotten about Bill’s strings of affairs? Or maybe when he stared indignantly into the camera and said, “I didn’t have sex with that woman.” Or maybe penetrating a 22yo intern with a cigar?

          Or maybe when Hill said, its time to bring these people to heel? Or maybe all that race baiting of theirs in ’08? Or maybe setting up a private email server so Hill wouldn’t have to comply with all those pesky FOIA requests?

          I wouldn’t want Bill’s or Hill’s career for all the oil in Saudi Arabia…and if I did I’d die of shame.

          • ColBatGuano

            Sorry, your lame anecdotes don’t add up to a lifetime of bad judgement. But you should rethink your ideas about dying of shame because you’d have used up many lives after your various performances here.

            • ThrottleJockey

              If I diddled my 22yo intern with a cigar in the office and then lied about it I’m pretty confident my employer would say, I’d had exhibited a lifetime of bad judgment… Shit I’ve seen trees that were less shady than those two.

      • Jay B

        “Federal employees, including [Special Government Employees — which was Abedin’s designation], are permitted to engage in outside personal activities, including outside employment or business activities, and as a general matter may receive gifts or reimbursements related to these outside activities. All federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to gifts and conflicts of interest.”

        You can also make a case that the Clintons are in no way unusual and that it takes a special talent to single them out and make a big deal out of literally nothing.

        • catclub

          it takes a special talent to single them out

          well, it used to be special, now everybody does it.

        • ThrottleJockey

          No one’s arguing that its illegal. Lots of unethical and/or unwise behavior is perfectly legal.

          • Jay B

            I’m pointing out that it’s not only NOT unethical, but it’s a specific designation that has ethical rules built in to those who have it. YOU think it’s unwise because something something something — but that’s because a lot of what you think is positively idiotic.

            • (((Hogan)))

              Clintons do bad stuff.

              A Clinton did this.

              Ergo this is bad.

      • GFW

        “[…] entwining the personal and the political.”

        If you actually have strong ideals, the political *is* personal (and vice versa).

        • ThrottleJockey

          If Huma Abedin had strong ideals I imagine she’d get rid of Mr. Huma Abedin, aka Anthony Weiner.

          • GFW

            Maybe her ideals have much more to do with public policy than where the Weiner goes.

          • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

            I look forward to your new career as an advice columnist.

      • Ask Me Gently

        You start by WANTING the Clintons to be guilty and then you look for evidence and create arguments to support that.

        Bad faith, don’t you think?

  • Srsly Dad Y

    LeToruneau LeTourneau

    This is old hat but I don’t see the conflict in your last three sentences. It was political malpractice not to wind down the foundation fundraising the moment HRC became SOS, because otherwise this kind of faux scandal was inevitable. That no one actually did anything wrong, and that she will win the presidency despite this, are nice and great reliefs but do not negate Chait’s critique.

    • Alex.S

      While she was Secretary of State, there never was any serious scrutiny or fake scandal created by the Clinton Foundation. There are also other examples of people having high-level government posts while family members run charitable foundations (the easiest one being Powell’s wife running Colin Powell’s charitable foundation after he became Secretary of State).

      I don’t know how Hillary could have avoided it as an issue, when it’s never been an issue for anyone before and may not be an issue for anyone in the future.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        Oy.

        While she was Secretary of State

        She knew she would run for president again and the foundation would get scrutinized.

        There are also other examples

        Who cares, we all agree the rules are different for HRC. That’s a reality.

        I don’t know how Hillary could have avoided it as an issue

        wind down the foundation fundraising the moment HRC became SOS

        • (((Hogan)))

          I’m pretty sure this isn’t just about donations made while she was SOS.

        • Denverite

          This is a really good point. The theory is that the Clintons know that they’re going to get knocked for some faux scandal, so they say “to hell with it” and just do whatever they want. But this ignores the fact that they could force that faux scandal to become increasingly off-the-wall and incredible to non-right wingers by refraining from doing the obvious stuff.

          Yeah, there would be a “scandal” involving Clinton if the Clinton Foundation didn’t exist. But then the scandal wouldn’t be about a billion-dollar foundation where donors appear to be seeking access to a major politician. It would be about whether Clinton had a stroke in 2012 or whatnot. I know which one I’d want the media to focus on if I was her.

          • (((Hogan)))

            SPEECHES. GOLDMAN SACHS.

          • Alex.S

            Except that the media couldn’t find a scandal with the Clinton Foundation and had to create one.

            And that’s kind of what happened.

            The scandal of “Secretary of State helping Nobel Peace Prize and Congressional Medal of Honor holder from persecution by their government” was such an obvious non-scandal that people in the media immediately pointed out that it was a non-scandal and this is a non-story that seems insane to have published.

            • so-in-so

              Plus, the foundation buys medicine for people with AIDS I’m sure that alone is scandal for some of the worst religious Right (those are people they think God has planned this for as punishment), but for the rest of us that ought to be a good thing. It’s not like it goes to a college that indoctrinates young people in a particular religion, or a think tank supporting a political or economic view point above others.

              • djw

                the foundation buys medicine for people with AIDS I’m sure that alone is scandal for some of the worst religious Right (those are people they think God has planned this for as punishment), but for the rest of us that ought to be a good thing.

                Clintons use foundation to line big Pharma’s pockets.

                (This is not a hypothetical reductio; one of my usual suspects posted a screed to this effect on facebook recently.

            • ThrottleJockey

              No, this is a scandal, and a scandal that was easily preventable. How do you inoculate against it? How about you have your chief deputy, Huma Abedin, work at just the State Dept instead of both State and CGI? Is that too hard??? For most people that would seem to be the most sensible–and easy–thing to do. But, no, just like with her private email server, she had to go and do the things the hard way–because the Clintons like co-mingling their public and private affairs.

              • rea

                E.g., the sensible and easy thing to do is to stop trying to prevent AID victims from dying for lack of drugs?

                • veleda_k

                  Dead AIDs victims are a small price to pay to avoid the hypothetical possibility of corruption.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  You’re right, Rea. Only Huma Abedin was able to stop the AIDS crisis. In all the world, she was the one person who could be entrusted to lead CGI’s fight against AIDS.

                  And it was so important to Hill that she only worked at CGI part time.

                • Pat

                  Without getting paid.

              • Jay B

                So, what’s the scandal, exactly? Something something, you think it looks bad? That’s NOT ACTUALLY ANYTHING.

                • FlipYrWhig

                  Every Hillary Clinton “scandal” is exactly like this. She did a thing that allows people who want to say mean things about her on the basis of ignorance and innuendo say more mean things about her, which she should have known better than to go and do! A/k/a “optics.” Fuck that.

                • Jay B

                  Yep. As soon as I saw some lefties freak out about it, I admit to worrying a little. Then I read the stories. Unmitigated bullshit. Not only was there no scandal, they actually showed that Clinton routinely shut people out, DIDN’T meet with them and showed impeccable ethics. There wasn’t any — zero — quid pro quo. Not even for small things. All while the Clinton Foundation was doing admirable things.

                  It’s just total bullshit.

          • junker

            Doesn’t this story prove you wrong though? In this case, in spite of zero evidence of ethical violations, she is still being reported on as though she has done something wrong.

            I would be extremely careful at this point about the idea that the Clintons only need to make the right choices and they would be home free from scandal. The whole point is that they are dinged for scandal even if they do nothing wrong – to look over this and say “it’s their own fault” is sort of absurd at this point.

            • Denverite

              This isn’t my point at all. My point is that they will gin up a scandal about something, but by removing the low-hanging fruit, it’s likely that the scandal will be a crazy one that only resonates with the hardcore right wingers.

              • Rob in CT

                I lean toward thinking you’re right.

                Obama being the example here.

                • Denverite

                  That’s what I was thinking of as well.

                • But let’s consider the chain of events that lead to this:

                  0) Bill Clinton creates the Clinton Foundation in order to do good. It does good.
                  1) HRC as SOS sets up a private email server (pretty standard practice, who would even think about it?)
                  2) No corruption or undue influence happens between the SOS and Clinton Foundation. Everyone loves the CF and thinks it’s a good thing. Most people are pretty happy with HRC as SOS.
                  3) BENGHAZI!!!!
                  4) HRC resigns as SOS and then takes a role in the CF.
                  5) Email non-scandal hits.
                  6) CF-Email non-scandal hits.

                  Ok, so what should she have done differently? 1, for sure. Ok, but it’s hard to see that it would have been *obvious* that it was a bad idea at the time. Indeed, paranoid thinking could make it seem like a *good* idea.

                  So, 0? Bill Clinton shouldn’t have set up the Clinton Foundation? Or 4? (But what difference does that make?!)

                  I mean, ex ante, was any of this low hanging fruit? It’s not like the speeches (and even the speeches seem a tad weird to get worked up about at their level).

                  Is it even really “fuck it, we won’t care about appearances because everything sucks” or just they make normal decisions (for people in their situations)?

                • (((Hogan)))

                  That would, of course, be the whole point of “Clinton Rules.” They apply only to Clintons.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Precisely. Obama has been scandal free because he has Ethical Common Sense.

                  This is such an obvious ‘screw up’ by the Clinton that I’m inclined to think that its not a screw up at all. With their educations, intelligence, and experience they have to have known better. This is literally Ethics 101, any 24 year old should’ve known better. I’m inclined to think that somewhere out there among the 15,000 emails Hill deleted but the FBI recovered that there really is evidence of Quid pro Quo.

                • Denverite

                  HRC as SOS sets up a private email server (pretty standard practice, who would even think about it?)

                  People keep saying this over and over, but it simply isn’t true. The only SOS to do anything even remotely similar was Colin Powell, who used a private email address. Hillary’s team was the first to ever come up with the private server idea.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  1) HRC as SOS sets up a private email server (pretty standard practice, who would even think about it?)

                  Bijan—What are you talking about “pretty standard practice”? Do you have your own private server for work email? I know I don’t. How many of your friends have their own private email server for work email? Any?

                  Point of fact there’s not a single other SOS who employed their own private email server. Powell and Condi used gmail I believe, but that’s merely somewhat similar, and even that practice is nothing but a cynical attempt to get around FOIA requests–which flies in the face of progressive governance!!!

                • Denverite

                  Powell and Condi used gmail I believe

                  Rice reportedly didn’t use email.

                • People keep saying this over and over, but it simply isn’t true. The only SOS to do anything even remotely similar was Colin Powell, who used a private email address. Hillary’s team was the first to ever come up with the private server idea.

                  I’ll withdraw the “pretty standard practice” but the difference between setting up your own server/email address and using Gmail is not big, conceptually speaking. Indeed, there’s an argument that it’s better because you haven’t put your email in Google’s hands.

                  But fine, let’s grant the email server. Done.

                  You were saying that the *CF* was the problem!

                  Bijan—What are you talking about “pretty standard practice”? Do you have your own private server for work email?

                  I have had servers even within organisations. Computer Science depts have often done such and even research groups.

                  I know I don’t. How many of your friends have their own private email server for work email? Any?

                  Eh, whatever.

                • Jay B

                  The only SOS to do anything even remotely similar was Colin Powell, who used a private email address. Hillary’s team was the first to ever come up with the private server idea.

                  So over the three presidencies when email existed, two of them did something similar? And this is proof of something?

              • calling all toasters

                it’s likely that the scandal will be a crazy one that only resonates with the hardcore right wingers.

                Like when they lost money on a land deal? Like when she somethinged Benghazi? Like when she replaced the White House travel office?

                When you say “hardcore right wingers” you should add “and 90% of the media.”

                • Denverite

                  Like when they lost money on a land deal? Like when she somethinged Benghazi? Like when she replaced the White House travel office?

                  Yes, precisely.

                • efgoldman

                  Like when she somethinged Benghazi? Like when she replaced the White House travel office?

                  You forgot the part where she killed Vince Foster with her own two hands and her extra tentacles.

              • Srsly Dad Y

                Denverite, your point is so right that it can only be straw-manned or whatabouted. It’s basic politics that you don’t hand your adversaries “scandal” fodder, you at least make them stretch for it.

                • Well, obviously, I don’t agree.

                  When “handing stuff to your adversaries” is “behaving like normal members of their class and not doing anything unethical” then we’re really in Clinton Rules Land.

                • Srsly Dad Y

                  whatabout

                • I don’t even know what you mean by “what about”. I don’t see that my earlier argument is unsubstantial.

                  Again, trace the history and point to where the decision was obviously scandal fodder or they obviously should have done something different other than withdraw from public life.

                • efgoldman

                  It’s basic politics that you don’t hand your adversaries “scandal” fodder

                  Sure, but if your opponents and the Villagers are going to make a scandal out of the fact that you breathe air, you get to the point where you say “fuck it.”

                • Jay B

                  Now there’s someone who never lived in the 90s. After endless investigations they got the guy on a blowjob. There wasn’t any scandals. Nothing that even rose to the appearance of a scandal. A bunch of Arkansas hillbillies wanted to destroy Clinton and credulous idiots in the press bought every claim hook line and sinker. Just like you’re doing now.

                  Whataboutit?

                • ColBatGuano

                  you don’t hand your adversaries “scandal” fodder

                  Yes, investing in a money losing land deal should have obviously been seen as handing their opponents fodder.

              • (((Hogan)))

                It’s not clear yet whether this scandal resonates more widely than any other.

              • dr. fancypants

                I get what you’re saying, but with Clinton the sources of “scandal” are sometimes so off-the-wall that it seems like it would be incredibly difficult to figure out a priori what constitutes the “low-hanging fruit.” At some point, worrying about that stuff is just going to be a recipe for paralysis.

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  well, that’s the thing: all this nose-holding shitweaseling that certain people are doing is about their deep need to make “the Clintons” go away. If that means kids in Africa die because they didn’t get the medicine they needed, no big deal

                • (((Hogan)))

                  From what I saw on CNN at lunch time, the latest criticism of Clinton is that she’s raising too much money. Obviously she should be giving half of it to Trump to make it a fair fight, but she’s too sleazy and coldly ambitious to do the ethical thing.

              • johnnypez

                You’re missing the point. When it comes to the Clintons, there is no such thing as high-hanging fruit. Everything they do is considered scandalous.

          • djw

            But this ignores the fact that they could force that faux scandal to become increasingly off-the-wall and incredible to non-right wingers

            Well, perhaps, but Whitewater (for example) should have been off-the-wall and incredible to non-wingers, but it wasn’t.

            • Denverite

              Wasn’t it? At least by the late 90s?

              • Scott Lemieux

                I don’t think so, no. Stuff like the Pilsbury report was buried.

              • efgoldman

                Wasn’t it? At least by the late 90s?

                By the late 90s, after impeachment wound down, sure. OTOH, the RWNJ have lists of grievances going back to Chamberlain, for FSM’s sake; they’re still re-litigating Vietnam, and Watergate, and ALL the Clinton scandals. And the Village scum are their aiders, abetters, and enablers.

                • so-in-so

                  Good thing Lincoln wasn’t a Democrat, or they’d still be fighting the Civil War – oh, wait….

        • tsam

          wind down the foundation fundraising the moment HRC became SOS

          I wonder how this would have changed the media’s portrayal of Clinton as a shady liar who kills Dem staffers and also Bin Gazi plus other stuff OH I HATE HER SO MUCH

          • junker

            One gets the sense that if they had shut down the foundation we would instead be hearing stories about all of the people whose lives are now worse because of that decision.

            “HILLARY CLINTON CALLOUSLY KILLS AIDS PATIENTS!”

            • tsam

              Of course–then they would be killing people for political gain–the pattern sticks either way.

              • David Hunt

                There would be one difference. The people arguing that they were killing people for political gain would have been correct. But, no biggie. At least that potential scandal will be replaced by some other potential scandal about their manifest evil.

                It took me a while to understand HRC’s adversarial view of the Press, but totally get it now.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Yes it’s one great big vast Right Wing conspiracy and the Media hates them.

                  But the Right Wing loves Obama so much because he’s a neo liberal secretly closeted Republican.

            • Rob in CT

              AP, Washington. In a decision many say was politically motivated, the Clinton Foundation has shut down. [RW Pundit/shitstirrer], when reached for comment, stated that “obviously, there were ethical problems with the Foundation, and the Clintons decided to shut it down rather than answer questions.”

              FOX: Hillary Clinton’s political ambitions more important than the lives of people with AIDS.

              • Denverite

                I don’t think they would have shut it down, I think they would have renamed it and transferred control to a non-Clinton.

                • David Hunt

                  [RWNJ]”The new head of the CF is an obvious front for the Clintons and inserting this puppet is just a way to hide the buying of political influence via donations to the Foundation.”[/RWNJ]

                  At some point they’re going to accept that they’re going to be under constant political assault if they want to have any world influence.

              • Srsly Dad Y

                strawman

                • Rob in CT

                  How so? I actually agree that HRC does stuff that is self-destructive because of her toxic relationship with the press and because she’s sometimes tone deaf. I basically agree with Denverite that things could’ve been done better. Including with the speeches.

                  I can recognize that AND get that there would still be a witch-hunt.

            • Yes, I was going to post precisely this. They’re already getting the “if it’s not a source of corruption, why are you shutting it down now?” questions from the media.

              Assuming the Clinton Foundation funds work that Hillary Clinton thinks is worthwhile (as opposed to being, say, a pure vanity thing, slush fund, or tax haven), she has a strong incentive not to shut it down for the benefit of her political career. That is, of course, unless her political career is that much more important to her.

              So obviously a corrupt, cold-blooded careerist would have shut down the foundation ages ago.

              • Denverite

                See above. They would have renamed it like the WJC Foundation and transferred control to some nonprofit who does this sort of thing.

                • Let’s recount some history:

                  Bill Clinton founded the William J. Clinton Foundation in 2001 following the completion of his presidency.[2] Longtime Clinton advisor, Bruce Lindsey, became the CEO in 2004.[10][11] Later, Lindsey moved from being CEO to being chair, largely for health reasons.[10] Other Clinton hands who played an important early role included Doug Band,[12] and Ira Magaziner. Additional Clinton associates who have had senior positions at the foundation include John Podesta and Laura Graham.[2]

                  Most of the foundation’s successes came from Bill Clinton’s worldwide fame and his ability to bring together corporate executives, celebrities, and government officials.[2] Similarly, the foundation areas of involvement have often corresponded to whatever Bill Clinton suddenly felt an interest in.[2]

                  Preceding Barack Obama’s 2009 nomination of Hillary Clinton as U.S. Secretary of State, Bill Clinton agreed to accept a number of conditions and restrictions regarding his ongoing activities and fundraising efforts for the Clinton Presidential Center and the Clinton Global Initiative.[13] Accordingly, a list of donors was released in December 2008.[14]

                  By 2011, Chelsea Clinton was taking a dominant role in the foundation and had a seat on its board.[2][15] To raise money for the Foundation, she gave paid speeches, such as her $65,000 2014 address at the University of Missouri in Kansas City for the opening of the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame.[16]

                  In 2013, Hillary Clinton joined the foundation following her tenure as Secretary of State. She planned to focus her work on issues regarding women and children,[17][18] as well as economic development.[10] Accordingly, at that point, it was renamed the “Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation”.[2] Extra attention was paid to the foundation due to the United States presidential election, 2016.[2][10]


                  On February 18, 2015, The Washington Post reported that, “the foundation has won accolades from philanthropy experts and has drawn bipartisan support, with members of the George W. Bush administration often participating in its programs.”[3]

                  So,

                  They would have renamed it like the WJC Foundation

                  Like it was already named.

                  transferred control to some nonprofit who does this sort of thing.

                  It *is* a non-profit that does this sort of thing. But the CF is effective because of Bill Clinton (primarily). So you’d have to remove him altogether, which is basically shutting it down.

                • Denverite

                  Like it was already named.

                  No, it wasn’t. It was named the “William J. Clinton Foundation” until 2013. In my experience, when a charitable foundation is spun off from a family or individual, the convention is to use the individual’s initials, or some amalgam of the family members’ if it’s a family.

                  It *is* a non-profit that does this sort of thing. But the CF is effective because of Bill Clinton (primarily). So you’d have to remove him altogether, which is basically shutting it down.

                  He could still fundraise if he wasn’t a board member. He just couldn’t sit on the board or have any control over the management.

                • No, it wasn’t. It was named the “William J. Clinton Foundation” until 2013. In my experience, when a charitable foundation is spun off from a family or individual, the convention is to use the individual’s initials, or some amalgam of the family members’ if it’s a family.

                  Oh, I didn’t realise you meant the initials per se, as opposed to not having Hillary’s name in the foundation name.

                  He could still fundraise if he wasn’t a board member. He just couldn’t sit on the board or have any control over the management.

                  So…why? I mean, the emails don’t show Bill being the conduit, do they?

              • Yossarian

                Not only that, as Yglesias sarcastically tweeted earlier today, if she had shut it down or never started it to begin with, all the focus would be on her for-profit speeches with a bunch of “but why didn’t she start/what happened to the Clinton Foundation? Other politicians and relatives of politicians have created nonprofits with no problems, and her failure to do so/decision to shut it down just shows how obsessed both Clintons are with personal financial gain.”

                It’s the same way that NBC News went looking for corruption/influence-peddling by for-profit colleges who gave Bill lots of money, found no actual quid pro quo, and smoothly pivoted into a “hypocrisy” story about the candidate who doesn’t like for-profit education but is willing to take their money. The “there’s no there there” narrative is almost impossible for elite media to stomach, especially when the Clintons are involved.

                • Yossarian

                  The more I think about this the more it pisses me the fuck off. The one legit, if I think overstated, hit in HRC over influence/money/access was taking the Wall Street money to do speeches (although as a former speechwriter, I can safely say that the chance that those speeches were anything other than wholly anodyne pieces of fluff for bankers eager to bask in the presence of celebrity approaches zero).

                  Everything else, when you really boil it down, is an attempt to punish the Clintons for, as Obama put it in his convention speech, “staying in the arena.” In other words, to actually serve. Either Bill should not have started the Foundation OR he should have but Hillary shouldn’t have served as SOS OR both are fine but they should have gone out of their way to limit its effectiveness by turning it entirely over to functionaries who lack Bill’s fundraising ability and start power OR…something. Bill Clinton was a successful if flawed two-term president who decided not to repair to the quiet life and instead did everything he could to make a real difference in the world. His wife then decided to do the same by running for Senate, then President, then taking the job of America’s chief diplomat when offered it by a formerly bitter adversary. And at the age when both of them are well past retirement both in terms of years and, frankly, what anyone could expect of public servants, she decides to keep going and run for President.

                  Not that running to be the most powerful person in the free world is some selfless act, but neither of the Clintons can tear themselves away from public service and the issues they care about (and, OK, maybe the spotlight too, although with HRC I genuinely wonder about that part). And every prior part of public service is being used to undermine their future efforts at public service. It’s maddening — to me, anyway.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Yes we all know that Hill is running because she’s passionate about political service and not her ambitions.

                • I’m with you.

                  And really, the more you poke into the CF the more maddening it is.

                • so-in-so

                  YES!

                • MAJeff

                  My recollection is that the guy working to organize was an asshole history student who would wander around in a black leather jacket and harass you outside your classrooms.

                  These two things could actually be related to each other….

        • She knew she would run for president again and the foundation would get scrutinised.

          Which is why she was not involved with it while SOS! Which is why the CF release donor lists annually. None of the Clinton’s take salaries.

        • efgoldman

          Who cares, we all agree the rules are different for HRC. That’s a reality.

          Yeah, team R only needs eight yards for a first down, while team HRC needs twelve.

          Bull. Also shit.

          AP, the Times, WaPo can all go fuck themselves.

          • so-in-so

            Where’s Peter Theil, AKA Nosferatu, when you need him!

            • q-tip

              Do not call up that which you cannot put down

          • ThrottleJockey

            It’s a vast Right Wing conspiracy! Vaaaaast I say!!!

        • addicted44

          #1 – Hillary Clinton DID NOT know she would run for President again.

          This is 2009. She just got done with a heartbreak of a campaign not even a year ago. If Barack Obama is successful, she won’t be running in 2012. If he is unsuccessful to the point he gets primaried, the 2012 Dem is almost certainly not winning. If Hillary was thinking of running for President, she wasn’t thinking until 2016 at least.

          She was 60 at the time. She would turn 68 when she would first have a chance of running for President, and would be trying to do something that had never happened before. Become the first female President of the US. And she would do it at a time when a Democrat would likely be ending 2 terms as President (or against an incumbent Republican, but if the first black President was a 1 term President, I doubt the country elects a first woman President). Obama’s 2 terms made her chances much lower.

          She almost certainly did not rule out running when she became SoS, but it’s likely that she considered that there was an equally, if not more, likely chance that Secretary of State would be the highest political office she would ever hold.

  • scott_theotherone

    There is a liberal critique of the Clinton Foundation, which as recently as last month I found fairly credible, that even if they weren’t doing anything wrong, it created the unnecessary potential appearance of corruption.

    I agree…and yet at the risk of Both Sides Do It’ing, I have to say that post-Bush v Gore, as well as subsequent instances of Scalia and Thomas refusing to recuse themselves from cases in which there were certainly at least appearances of conflicts of interest, I very much want the oh so respectable people who find this charity’s possible conflicts of interest unseemly—even as it does unquestioned good around the world—to go fuck themselves.

    • gratuitous

      Yes, the ongoing conflicts between Justice Thomas and any number of matters coming before the Supreme Court because of his wife’s job, would seem to be a fruitful field for scrutiny by some enterprising journalist. Wouldn’t even have to work that hard or stovepipe anything at all.

      Instead, we get breathless coverage that Hillary Clinton met with a Nobel laureate with whom she has a 30 year history of working with. The Republic, it totters! Crowded with dark innuendo and baseless speculation, this becomes some sort of sinister plot to help people around the globe actually get a fair price for their work.

      • lunaticllama

        How dare a presidential candidate engage in a serious charitable endeavor!

  • twbb

    The AP clearly thought they had something juicy, and when it turned out they didn’t they just pretended they did. It’s disgraceful, and it would be really great if Clinton could figure out a way to publicly push back in a way that actually is effective, instead of having her campaign release a quiet rebuttal.

    The Clinton campaign has clearly decided that the best way to weather all the attacks is to ignore them and run out the clock, and I really don’t think that’s working. Even if she gets the election the GOP and the incompetents in the media are poisoning the well for the next 4 years.

    As Yglesias notes, people usually don’t read through the article. And even less will critically evaluate it. So for every 100 people who see the headline, maybe 10 will read the article, and 5 of them will see that the article doesn’t support its headline or blurb. And those 5 are already voting for Clinton. So you have 95 people who add to the jumble in their head the fact that Clinton sold access to her donors.

    That’s why all the idiotic Salon.com style “[obscure liberal] EVISCERATES Trump” articles were so annoying. They don’t represent the dynamics of how the vast majority of voters get their information.

    • Steve LaBonne

      They did everything they could to poison the well for Obama too. Ask President Romney how well that worked. Clinton’s offer to the media should be this: nothing. If I were her I’d never have a single news conference even in office. Let them pound sand.

      • calling all toasters

        YES.

      • twbb

        “They did everything they could to poison the well for Obama too.”

        And unfortunately, we’ve seen the results of that in the obstructionism excused by credulous reporters insisting bothsidesdoit.

        • Steve LaBonne

          I fail to see what the reporters added to the obstructionism the Republicans adopted as their strategy the moment Obama was sworn in.

          • twbb

            By normalizing what the GOP has been doing during the Obama administration, by pretending it was just normal politics, and both-sides-do-it, by keeping negative stories about Democrats in the news for months while letting negative stories about Republicans fade away the next news cycle.

            You don’t think the media deserves ANY blame for the 2010 elections?

            • Steve LaBonne

              Not really, no. Midterm elections are a structural problem because old white farts turn out at a much higher rate than everybody else.

    • Boots Day

      The AP clearly invested tons of resources in its Clinton Foundation story, and they didn’t want to waste all that time. “Records Show Clinton Ran a Clean Operation” isn’t really a news story, so they had to go with something else.

      Unfortunately, that’s the way journalism works. Nobody wants to have their star reporters spend weeks on a story, only to come away with nothing publishable.

      • NonyNony

        “Records Show Clinton Ran a Clean Operation” isn’t really a news story

        I beg to object. In that “AP Headline: Records Show Clinton Ran a Clean Operation” would in fact be a news story.

        A news story about the AP. And how they were committing an act of journalism unseen in recent years.

      • Reporters are supposed to do research on stories before they even pitch them. It happens that a story that looks good at the research stage doesn’t pan out. At that point it gets dropped. If it doesn’t, it’s because the reporter (and/or organization) is doing something other than journalism.

        • so-in-so

          In the “old days” perhaps. Anyone wanna bet that the reports got told by an editor to find a story here, and not come back without one?

          • If that’s what happened, it’s still not journalism.

      • JustRuss

        Unfortunately, that’s the way journalism works.

        You seem to have misspelled “hackery”. “Journalism” actually requires “ethics”. I know, stop laughing.

        • NonyNony

          I believe it’s what we call “journamalism” these days.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        IMO Journalism is on the endangered-species list. I certainly have rarely seen it in recent years.

    • [obscure liberal] is available as a handle to LGM commenters with actual jobs.

    • efgoldman

      Even if she gets the election the GOP and the incompetents in the media are poisoning the well for the next 4 years.

      They’ve been doing that since 1993. They’re not only going to poison the well, they’re going to salt the earth around the White House. It is/was going to happen regardless.
      That’s why the single most important thing is to get out the fucking vote and win the down ballot races.

  • Joe_JP

    I don’t want to endorse all what he says, but this part of Kevin Drum’s reply to this general matter hits home for me:

    It’s not just that everyone does this. It’s not just that everyone in American politics does this. It’s the fact that everyone, everywhere, throughout all of human history has done this.

    http://electionlawblog.org/?p=85830

    The PTB will have connections that others don’t have. The vapors, they are overwhelming me. And, you have (1) the good done (2) don’t know what Bill Clinton would have done with his time (other than maybe academia? nah. find something.) that wouldn’t be used against her.

    Is this something to be somewhat concerned about? Yeah sure. But, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly special there & the reactions are as usual overblown anti-Clinton. Their reaction that the criticism is thus basically right wing b.s. is something of an overcorrection but understandable and not THAT wrong.

    • Dilan Esper

      Really, the actual problem here is the nepotism built into the American (and others too) political system.

      The Clinton Foundation would be no more controversial than the Carter Center if nobody related to Bill Clinton was running for President. But since our celebritized system of democracy turns politicians into brand names like Kennedy, Bush, and Clinton, who then have huge advantages in running, you can certainly argue that creates appearance problems for anything like this.

      There’s a more general point here. HRC’s fans HATE when people tar her with stuff Bill did. But always remember- there’s no way she could have ever become a presidential nominee without both Bill’s successful political career and the presentation of her as his partner.

      That shouldn’t be the case. It should be possible for a talented woman who isn’t married to a President, like Maria Cantwell or Condi Rice, to credibly run for the office. But in our system, that’s impossible. And that may mean that there will be some de facto ethical limitations with respect to members of these brand name families.

      • sibusisodan

        But always remember- there’s no way she could have ever become a presidential nominee without both Bill’s successful political career and the presentation of her as his partner.

        I’d take that bet. Obviously it’s not a something we can ever play out the counterfactual, though.

        There’s a reason there’s an old joke which ends where Hillary says to Bill, ‘no, I’d be first lady, and you’d be here pumping gas.’

        • delazeur

          I heard that one about the Obamas at a restaurant run by one of Michelle’s old boyfriends (remember in 2009 when they went on public dates?).

          Barack: Just think, if you had married him you could be running this fine establishment.

          Michelle: If I had married him, he would be the President of the United States.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            First told about Mr. and Mrs. Taft I think.

          • Donalbain

            It was also in an episode of The West Wing.

      • Spiny

        It should be possible for a talented woman who isn’t married to a President, like Maria Cantwell or Condi Rice, to credibly run for the office. But in our system, that’s impossible.

        I hope you don’t actually mean what you appear to be saying, because what you appear to be saying is that men like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – who did not come from politically powerful families when they started their careers – can become president, but women must be married to a former President or they tragically will never be taken seriously.

        When your sample size for female nominees is one, maybe not a great idea to draw blanket conclusions on what backgrounds a female nominee must have.

        • SNF

          It’s unfortunate, but it’s probably accurate when it comes to the presidency.

          I’m pretty sure there’s some research that shows that one of the most common ways for women to break the glass ceiling of being a head of state is by being related to a man who used to have the position.

          I suspect that even if Hillary had never run for president, the first woman to be president would likely be a former president’s wife or daughter.

          • Spiny

            I’m pretty sure there’s some research that shows that one of the most common ways for women to break the glass ceiling of being a head of state is by being related to a man who used to have the position.

            No argument there, it’s not at all surprising that historically the main way women gained power was through their family members. But there’s nothing in the current US system that actually demands this.

            Suggesting that it implicitly demands this sounds a lot like those confident statements people used to make about how the first black/woman president would be a Republican, because the most important thing they had to do was convince white men they weren’t scary. Turns out the ground was shifting a lot faster than people thought.

            • In the USA, maybe. But: Thatcher. Merkel. May. Rousseff. None of them owed anything politically to husbands.

              • efgoldman

                Golda Meier

              • (((Hogan)))

                Not just in the USA. Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto, Corazon Aquino.

              • Solar System Wolf

                They do, however, owe their success to being in parliamentary systems.

                • XerMom

                  Parliamentary systems do tend to get more women into the top office. It’s also true that more conservative countries tend to have female leaders from political dynasties.

                  You can add to the list of women from political dynasties:

                  Christina Fernandez de Kirschner
                  Sheik Hasina
                  Khaleda Zia
                  Gloria Arroyo
                  Aung San Suu Kyi
                  Park Guen-Hye

                  Europe has lots of female leaders who don’t come from major political families, but Europe is both less conservative than the U.S. and full of parliaments. If you take the conservatism of the country into account, it’s Michelle Bacelet and Dilma Rousseff whose elections seem more remarkable than that of Tarja Halonen.

        • Solar System Wolf

          Historically, female political nominees have had to be related to a male to get traction in our political system. Also, it never hurts to be related to a person who attained office, whether you’re male or female (Adams, Taft, Bush, Kennedy).

          https://historiann.com/2016/02/11/women-and-politics-the-really-longue-duree/

          The more women get into politics, the less this is going to be true in the future.

          • Spiny

            Historically yes, no question. Extrapolating from that into the current rapidly changing political stage seems dicey, especially since when it comes to major female nominees for president, there are no comparatives.

            • Spiny

              I’d add as well that research on female candidates shows that when they run, they win at the same rates men do, and I don’t think that changes significantly based on whether they are married to another politician. The only difference is that women don’t put themselves forward as candidates as often as men do.

              From that, it seems much more likely that women don’t actually need to be related to a male politician to succeed, it’s just that the ones who are are more likely to be reliably told by the people they trust that they can and should run for office.

      • delazeur

        It should be possible for a talented woman who isn’t married to a President, like Maria Cantwell or Condi Rice, to credibly run for the office. But in our system, that’s impossible.

        There is definitely a huge sexism barrier, but I don’t think it’s strictly impossible. Warren could have credibly run for President or VP, the good reasons for her not to do so notwithstanding.

        Ultimately, very few governors and senators are women. I also assume that female governors and senators become credible candidates at a lower rate than male governors and senators. Both of those things are a result of patriarchy, but I don’t think having a high-powered spouse is really a requirement.

        Depending on your definition of “credible”, Palin’s husband certainly didn’t do her any good.

      • Loofah

        Is Condoleeza Rice talented? Sure.

        Is Condoleeza Rice a war criminal? Oh yes she is.

        Just wanted to make sure that wasn’t left out for the sake of fairness and justice.

        Fuck Condi Rice.

        • Rob in CT

          I never really understood her reputation as talented/competent.

          My admittedly very limited understanding is that she was a USSR/Russia specialist – a Cold Warrior. That was her area. From my viewpoint, she seems to have fucked up everything she touched.

          • (((Hogan)))

            She’s an accomplished pianist.

            • N__B

              And a better-than-average ice skater.

              • tsam

                She’ll destroy you at Monopoly.

                • NonyNony

                  Don’t play Jenga against her for money – she’s a shark.

          • twbb

            “I never really understood her reputation as talented/competent.”

            She was usually the most talented and competent person in the room at the Bush White House.

            Unfortunately, that is saying very little.

            • so-in-so

              Probably true of the cleaning staff, if they wandered into the room during a meeting.

              Really though, lots of members of the Bush White House were competent and even talented. It’s just that they where also evil.

          • EliHawk

            I think in part it comes from having a role in pushing W away from the Cheney/Rumsfeld axis in his 2nd term, thus granting us the (very marginally) more competent last two years of the Bush Presidency. So thanks to her influence, you got Bob Gates and not invading Iran and the like.

            • humanoid.panda

              Also, not over-reacting to the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

          • EliHawk

            Duplicate comment.

          • ColBatGuano

            How anyone who was National Security Advisor on 9/11 and in the runup to the Iraq War is considered anything but a complete failure has baffled me for years.

      • rewenzo

        There’s a more general point here. HRC’s fans HATE when people tar her with stuff Bill did. But always remember- there’s no way she could have ever become a presidential nominee without both Bill’s successful political career and the presentation of her as his partner.

        There’s a lot of contingency to where your political career ends up, but I think Hillary Rodham looked like the kind of person who was going places. Whether she would have ended up a presidential candidate I don’t know, but Illinois senator or governor looks like a decent bet, and from there a national run is plausible.

        It’s not at all clear to me that Bill Clinton has helped Hillary Clinton’s political career more than it’s hurt.

        • There’s a lot of contingency to where your political career ends up, but I think Hillary Rodham looked like the kind of person who was going places.

          Yes. This.

          I’m amazed at Dilan’s various subtle and not so subtle demeanings of HRC. In particular, one striking thing about HRC is that she’s had no *more* a boost than, say, W or Jeb. We’ve hit a point in US history and the esp. Democratic party that the White Male Monopoly is ripe to be broken in various ways. (We’re not yet at *parity*, which is a big problem.)

          • Dilan Esper

            Bijan, stop interacting with me. I have asked you this numerous times after you started stalking me.

            • Since I’ve never stalked you (and will never stalk you), this isn’t an issue.

              Sorry, Dilan, your bullying and gaslighting aren’t effective tactics.

              • Pseudonym

                You should really feel honored, Bijan. Not many of us are special enough to get our own pet Freddie.

                • Quite a low rent Freddie! Only 500 (not 5000) words per screed.

            • (((Hogan)))

              Or mentioning you when he interacts with other people? Is that what you’re going for here?

              • so-in-so

                Should we ALL pretend Dilan doesn’t exist?

                • Pseudonym

                  Does that include WordPress?

            • advocatethis

              What a ridiculous demand, Dilan. You posted a comment on a public board and somebody else responded to it in a reasonable way. Get over yourself.

              • FWIW, it’s a Thing. Dilan, at some point in the past year, decided that my refuting him and “bringing up old stuff” was Too Too Much so decided to start saying I was 1) obsessed with him, 2) stalking him, 3) mental ill to the point of being a danger to myself and others in an effort to…stop me behaving like other people in this forum :)

                Now, he just does it sorta mechanically mostly when something I write is to any degree insulting (and he notices). Why he thinks this is a good thing to do is *really* beyond me.

              • Rob in CT

                He’s done this before.

                At least this time he dropped the bit about Bijan being crazy/scary.

                • Eh….it’s implicit. The “stalking” is because I’m “scarily obsessed” with him.

                  My basic line is to behave as normally as I can, neither refraining from responding or going out of my way. (I obviously rebut the stalking/crazy/scary stuff, but I’m trying to make that ever shorter.)

                  Dilan can stop this nonsense anytime he wants to. If he’d retract and apologise, that would be appropriate, but just stopping is fine too.

        • rea

          Tell me, seriously, that and ex-senator, ex-secretary of state would not have the resume t run for the presidency if she was not also an ex-first lady.

          • Dilan Esper

            Nita Lowey would have won that Senate seat but was cleared out of the election because a FLOTUS was more electable.

            Without Bill, she would have had to start at the bottom.

            • NonyNony

              Without Bill, she would have started back in 1975 instead of putting her own political career on hold to help him with his.

              She’s the talent, he was the face. it’s become even more obvious in recent years.

              • Joe_JP

                This is an overcorrection. He is more than a ‘face,’ even in recent years his fastball is slipping.

                • Yes, it’s absolutely clear that both Bill and Hillary are hugely talented, very intelligent people. It’s equally clear that it was a partnership from way back. It’s also clear that Bill “went first” at a time when a woman *governer* was uncommon, much less a presidential candidate.

      • Joe_JP

        As noted, family connections is helpful as noted in “other” political systems too. Not sure how it wouldn’t be. It is one of various basic realities of human society. More specifically, agree, our political system more than some others (though this too is not atypical) promotes “brands” and in response “anti-brands.”

        Hillary Clinton, however, as others note, has special abilities that go beyond name recognition. Analysis has suggested she played an important role in his success. Bill is also a negative in some respects. This seems utterly banal as things go.

        “Always remember” is one of those tells — when I’m told to “remember,” I pause. Often tends to be quite debatable. More advocacy than reminder. But, particularly since she began her career in the 1970s, yes, her alliance with Bill Clinton (which again very well might have worked both ways as to success) was a big part of her success. Women had a harder road before then to enter the avenues of power other ways. Some did though.

        She very well could have went another way. And, other women have, including some who became senators and governors. There doesn’t seem to me any reason why one or more of these women could not “credibly run for the office.” Clinton crowded people out there but there are one or more women (in both parties) who have a real shot.

    • q-tip

      It’s like these people have never looked for a job before. (Actually, I’m guessing that at least 70% of the people peddling this BS got their jobs through networking and/or nepotism. I’m almost certainly underestimating.)

  • Solar System Wolf

    Meanwhile, the Bush family foundations go unquestioned.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/bush-foundation-clinton-foundation-jeb

    • Brad Nailer

      Kinda makes you wonder how these boys are doing.

      Fun fact:

      But if the Binladins’ connection to the Carlyle Group lasted no more than six years, the current President Bush’s own links to the firm go far deeper. In 1990, he was appointed to the board of one of Carlyle’s first purchases, an airline food business called Caterair, which they eventually sold at a loss.

      I’m shocked!

    • so-in-so

      And what do the Bush Foundations support – oh look, their Presidential Libraries! Clearly a cause worth hundreds of millions of dollars in (foreign and corporate) donations…

    • Joe_JP

      Don’t expect much from the Bushes and the family foundations have a more narrow reach (libraries and such). If Jeb! actually managed to get some more traction, it might have also received more attention. Even that article offers:

      The Clinton Foundation may well be in a different position than the Bush foundations, given that it has received large donations from governments, corporations, and billionaires with agendas while Hillary Clinton was a Cabinet official or a presidential candidate.

      But, comparing Clintons’ disclosure policy to the Bush’s is a good thing to underline. Even compelled disclosure is something Citizens United allows and it’s an important way to bring sunlight here.

      • Solar System Wolf

        Given that the Bush foundations don’t disclose, how would anyone know if something improper has happened? Is it not possible that donors could have curried favor with W or Jeb by donating to HWB’s foundation? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  • I so can’t wait to get the Big Dog back in the WH. Too many years of playing footsie w/ crazed GOPers. Let’s try the “gut them ” way now.

    • scott_theotherone

      I love Bill Clinton. I wish I didn’t love him as much as I do, but I do. He’s so intelligent, so charismatic. And when he’s playing the part of Obama defender, he’s extraordinary, brilliant. But when he’s his wife’s advocate, he shoots himself in the foot again and again, and since he’s right next to her, she gets hit with the collateral damage. It’s understandable that he’d get a bit overly emotional and make mistakes when he’s defending his wife, whether the criticisms of her are fair or not. Entirely understandable. But the end result is still unfortunate.

      So I adore the Big Dog. But I’m anticipating his tenure as First Dude with considerable apprehension.

      • njorl

        I am ready for Bill to don a sweater, sit in a rocker by the fire and smile and nod. He can give advice when asked and when no mics are are going.

      • Pat

        Bill Clinton is why I only read transcripts of presidential speeches. You can hear that man talk, and man, he is so goddamn persuasive. I’m not even sure why. But reading his words let me get a little bit of distance from that.

        Then, when Bush the Second was given the Presidency, I kept up the habit.

        • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

          To be fair, with W it was easier to use a written transcript to begin the translation into English.

  • Alex.S

    The lesson I’ve learned from the last year of Clinton scandals — Hillary Clinton followed the current standards (and always made sure to follow the law) and kept her personal life separate from her government work.

    The biggest tell is that nothing was a scandal while she was Secretary of State. The entire Republican party was looking to try to take down Obama and there was a Clinton sitting next to him as a top adviser! And they didn’t even try.

    • rewenzo

      But
      Earnestly Speaking
      No one thinks the
      GOP actually tried to
      Hang
      A
      Zcandal on
      Illary

  • Steve LaBonne

    All this drip, drip, drip from the media is starting to have an effect on me. The effect is that I have a considerably more positive view of Hillary Clinton than I used to.

    • JustRuss

      Me too. Honestly, in 2008 I wasn’t enthused about Hilary at all. Now I can’t wait for her to move in to the White House, partly because I believe she’s extremely competent, partly as an FU to everyone who’s been tossing out these nothing-burgers.

    • advocatethis

      Me, too, and largely because with every new “scandal” my reaction is “is that all you’ve got?” If someone looked over my life for the last thirty years with the level of scrutiny Hillary has gotten, I’m pretty sure they’d have unearthed something that would have landed me at least in jail if not elsewhere employed, and I’ve lived a pretty clean life.

  • burnspbesq

    There is only one salient difference between HRC and every other politician in hisory that has strolled in the vicinity of appearance of impropriety.

    Clinton lacks a Y chromosome.

    If you think that’s irrelevant, your naivete is showing.

    • so-in-so

      That Y chromosome didn’t help Bill, Or Barack Obama, all that much.

      I suspect the lack of Y chromosome hurts some on the Left, of all places, but it is overshadowed by the “D” for people on the Right. That “D” means you can never be legitimate or scandal free in their eyes, because you aren’t one of them. If you look scandal free and are a Democrat, it just means nobody looked hard enough (no matter how hard people look).

    • Pat

      You can point out that Hillary is a woman, and so she is held to a different standard, and you would be right.

      But it’s also true that the Northeastern newspapers, the NYT, the WSJ, and WaPo have all harassed and looked down on Southern Democrats for thirty years now. Starting with Jimmy Carter.

  • D.N. Nation

    The Jacobin doofs keep hitting this story hard, presumably because it will make Bernie automatically president, I think? I lose track.

    • Rob in CT

      No. The idea is “you should’ve nominated Bernie but you didn’t listen to US, your betters, and now look what you’ve done! WE TOLD YOU SO!!!” [only works well if HRC loses. Will be used if/when HRC’s administration does something that annoys lefties]

      • so-in-so

        Will be used if/when EVERY FREAK’IN TIME HRC’s administration does something that annoys lefties

        Fixed!

        • EliHawk

          Well, they need a new song after eight years of “We willfully ignored what Obama actually said as a candidate, so he’s COMPLETELY BETRAYED US by carrying out his campaign promises.”

          • Scott Lemieux

            President Bernie totally would have made Joe Lieberman vote to nationalize the American health insurance industry.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

        Was on alternet earlier today and most of the posts were about how Sanders was a sell out for supporting Hillary for President, working with Democrats, taking contributions for his new organization in amounts over $27, you name it. Reasons differed, but it was clear that Sanders was no longer pure enough for them.

    • Scott Lemieux

      They really can’t be dumb enough to run with this shit can th… LOL.

      “It’s out there” — good enough for Cokie Roberts and people who cosplay as Marxists.

      • D.N. Nation

        Complete with pantsuit jokes in the responses, because not being a sexist jackass is too LIBERAL and WOKE and distracts from economic justice, brah.

      • Connor would love to unite with Breitbart to destroy Hillary.

      • ColBatGuano

        Well, you got a response. It’s not coherent, but then the origin was fairly nonsensical as well.

    • efgoldman

      The Jacobin doofs keep hitting this story hard

      And you can count the people they actually influence on Lemeiux’ fingers and toes.

      • Steve LaBonne

        Oh no, when did he have the lawn mower accident?

  • lunaticllama

    If you step back from the minutia of the situation and think about the broader story: the Clintons are being attacked, because they raised a bunch of money from rich people around the world to help the global poor. The whole angle is absurd. The press is now saying that we don’t want our leading political figures to be involved in serious charitable work. It’s really, really strange and I think shows a serious moral malfunction.

    And all this reporting is actually showing how relatively clean HRC was and gives me greater hope in her administrative capacity. (Sidenote: Obama is a great administrator – basically no stupid administrative process scandals in 8 years.)

    • Perhaps Obama should have take a few more risks. His appointments in energy and housing have been squeaky-clean but scarcely innovative. Sometimes you want slightly shady or unpleasant types like Larry Summers to get things done.

  • nemdam

    To those who say the attacks are unfair, but that Clinton has also shot herself in the foot because keeping the foundation open has given the GOP a credible way to create a scandal, I reply by saying Benghazi. Benghazi is the textbook definition of a nothing-burger as there was not only no wrong doing, but there was not even an appearance of wrongdoing. But the GOP turned it into a 4 year scandal. I would also remind people to review the Rose Law firm and the cattle futures scandal. Absolutely nothing there.

    Earlier this year Clinton frustrated me by being what I thought was careless giving the GOP all of these appearances of scandals to attack. Given that I am too young to have experienced the Clinton scandals in the 90s, I now understand why Hillary just does whatever she wants as long as there’s no actual wrongdoing.

    • And they did try to avoid scandal with the CF! They disclosed donors! They did a bunch of stuff to preclude issues! They, in fact, precluded issues!

      • so-in-so

        “Bill, I might decide to run for President in eight years. You, Chelsea and I are going to have to assume a fully defensive crouch for the next decade…”

        • efgoldman

          “Chelsea and I are going to have to assume a fully defensive crouch for the next decade…”

          “So we’re both going into the cloistered convent until Obama’s term is over.”

          The VRWC of the RWNJs would find out that Soros put a hundred bucks in the collection plate.

        • ColBatGuano

          “Sorry Chelsea, we are going to have to have approval rights on your choice of spouse.”

    • xq

      But the GOP turned it into a 4 year scandal

      They didn’t, though. It was totally ineffective as a scandal. The media never treated it seriously and it did nothing to hurt Obama. The only benefit the Republicans got out of it was that it led to the email thing–and even that they won’t be able to take advantage of due to Trump.

      I think Benghazi is actually a useful counterexample to the idea that nothing Democrats do will prevent the perception of scandal.

      • nemdam

        According to this Bloomberg poll from early August, 58% of voters said it bothers them a lot concerning Hillary’s email practices, and 55% of voters said the handling of Benghazi bothers them a lot. The Benghazi issue was the second highest issue which bothered voters about Hillary. So I would say it has had an effect.

        Naturally, the issue voters cared least about was Hillary’s vote for the Iraq war, even less then her decision to never hold press conferences.

        • xq

          Yeah, I don’t take that poll seriously at all. On topics people don’t have strong opinions on (which is most!) responses show high variation based on precisely how the question is asked. Also, answers primarily reflect partisanship and people’s prior views on Clinton, not the effect of Benghazi itself.

          For example, look at this collection of polls on the Benghazi committee which show wildly different answers based on question wording: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/benghazi-committee-polls_us_56295839e4b0ec0a3893e51b

          Or see this poll which found Clinton is trusted more than Republicans on Benghazi: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/05/voters-trust-clinton-over-gop-on-benghazi.html

          Note that PPP found that 40% of respondant who think Benghazi is the biggest scandal in US history don’t even know where it is. This isn’t people changing their mind in response a scandal, it’s people who have always hated Clinton finding ways of expressing their hatred.

  • Ok, I’m enjoying this: Campaign manager: Trump’s donation to Clinton Foundation not ‘pay to play’:

    Donald Trump gave more than $100,000 to the the Clinton Foundation, the organization the Republican nominee now calls “the most corrupt enterprise in political history.”

    And while he said donors gave to get unfair access to the former Secretary of State, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway denies that that was what Trump was seeking.

    Hahahahahah!

    “Hillary, please don’t run for president! Here’s 100k!”

    So, he donated without getting anything?! What a rube!

    • NonyNony

      Jeebus – you have GOT to be kidding me.

      I’m ready to believe in Loki now. There’s no way the world has evolved to be this stupid. There has to be a divine trickster working to create this level of stupidity.

    • sibusisodan

      That’s beautiful.

    • Rob in CT

      Hahahahahaha.

      On the other hand, huh, an actual documented charitable contribution from Trump.

  • XerMom

    At least we can all be thankful that there’s absolutely NO WAY that President Trump is ever going to go out of his way to help poor people in Bangladesh or AIDS patients in South Africa.

  • An Israeli author and left-wing writer I follow on twitter posted a link to this story a few days ago (before it had been fully debunked, but already at the point where several people had pointed out that there was nothing there) exclaiming that isn’t it ironic that the left loves to get hung up on Netanyahu’s corruption, when really Bill and Hillary are a hundred times as bad.

    I wonder if you have to be Israeli to understand the full lunacy of a statement like that – I doubt that most of Bibi’s scandals get much play outside of Israel – but suffice it to say, even if there was anything to the accusations against Hillary, it would be ludicrously wrong. As it is, it’s simply deranged. I’ve come to the conclusion that for some leftists, the problem with the Clintons isn’t that they’re actually corrupt. It’s that they’re embarrassing. They’re not left in the right way (and yes, that includes some of their actual problems, such as being too cozy with Wall Street). And therefore it behooves the “cool” leftists to keep proclaiming that they don’t actually like Clinton (obviously she’s better than Trump, but still), even if in so doing they’re regurgitating Republican talking points.

  • los

    I’m nitpicking, but… somebody new to LGM might not recognize this instant sarcasm of: “I used to be a Democrat, but since I found that Hillary Clinton met repeatedly met with Muhammad Yunus I’m outraged…

  • YankeeFrank

    If you’re going to bat for Hillary against her detractors in the press, at least reference the honest critics. Its a fine trick to pick out the anti-Hillary shills and then pretend that all criticism is biased and full of lies.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/clinton-foundation-investigation-update-key-details-about-financial-political

    And then how about we quote Justice Stevens in his Citizens United dissent for some clarity on the subject of political corruption:

    “Corruption can take many forms. Bribery may be the paradigm case. But the difference between selling a vote and selling access is a matter of degree, not kind. And selling access is not qualitatively different from giving special preference to those who spent money on one’s behalf. Corruption operates along a spectrum, and the majority’s apparent belief that quid pro quo arrangements can be neatly demarcated from other improper influences does not accord with the theory or reality of politics. It certainly does not accord with the record Congress developed in passing BCRA, a record that stands as a remarkable testament to the energy and ingenuity with which corporations, unions, lobbyists, and politicians may go about scratching each other’s backs—and which amply supported Congress’ determination to target a limited set of especially destructive practices.”

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