The Clinton's and the "old news" spin

Washington Post:

As Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) campaigned across Iowa this weekend, she was asked about the war in Iraq, illegal immigration and even whether her husband, former president Bill Clinton, might serve as secretary of state if she makes it to the White House.

But at no time during events in Algona, Mason City, Charles City or Emmetsburg was she asked for her reaction to a pair of soon-to-be-released books that portray her and her husband in an unflattering light and that recount in illuminating detail the stormy history of their days together in Arkansas and later in the White House.

Clinton advisers say the early reaction confirms their belief that Americans long ago digested those controversies, drew whatever conclusions they wanted and moved on.

"This is not the first time we've had books written about the senator that were less than favorable, campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said. "Our experience is that there is some initial media interest in them and then they don't have any impact on the race."

Neither book has been officially released. When they are in early June, both will be backed by major publicity tours and advertising. As such, even without new bombshells, the books threaten to plunge candidate Clinton back into the soap opera that was so often the Clinton administration.

She remains one of the most divisive figures in American politics, and a major challenge for her campaign is to turn someone whose history is so thoroughly familiar and controversial into a future-oriented candidate seen by the voters as capable of changing a country wracked by partisanship and political polarization.

"HRC's deadly problem," Republican strategist Mike Murphy said in an e-mail message, "is that, while she's running in a change election, most of her identity is about the past, which is a very bad position to be in."


Perhaps it is bad if she were a Republican, but for Democrats a different standard is in place. Take for example the allegations of the swift vets whose leaders also published a book critical of Sen. Kerry. The media attacked the authors and claimed some insignificant inconsistency discredited the entire book even though the charges were found to be largely true and Kerry was forced to significantly change his narrative of events in Vietnam as well as acknowledge that he was not sent on a Christmas mission to Cambodia. The book and the vets weere able to show that much of Kerry's story about his "heroics" in Vietnam was untrue.

The same thing will happen with the allegations against Sen. Clinton. The media is not going to do something to destroy her campaign and it will do what it can to discredit her detractors as just trying to sell books.

One of the reasons that the Clinton's keep running into these kind of stories is their lack of core beliefs beyond their own electability. It allows Sen. Clinton to vote for the war but not for funding the troops when the polls move from one swing to another. She will continue to successfully dodge accountability while the media focuses on important issues like Mitt Romney's premarital sex life or lack thereof.


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