WASHINGTON, August 30, 2014 — Hillary Clinton was on her way to being anointed President in 2008, but that didn’t happen for a couple reasons. In 2016, barring some roadblocks, she’ll win.
In 2008, the media were in love with Hillary. No interviewers touched her; no bad news was reported; no one questioned her eligibility or her personal track record (that included her illegal healthcare program, the incredibly coincidental death of Vince Foster, her illegally obtaining 900 FBI files); nor did the negatives of her husband’s reign, from Waco, to Monica (et.al.), to the USS Cole, ever raise an anchor’s or pundit’s eyebrow during the lead-up to the campaign, or the early part of it.
How could someone lead such a golden-haired existence, particularly in the vicious partisan politics of this century? No one since George Washington (who earned it) commanded such a charmed persona.
The answer is something people don’t like to talk about, just as they don’t like to think about the NSA spying, the IRS targeting, or special privileges and treatment for crooked cops or district attorneys. The answer has many components, including the known ruthlessness of the woman, but the biggest unmentionable in 2008 is back, only slightly diminished in 2016. It’s those FBI files, forgotten by all except those who may be in them.
Of course, as she said, she never looked at them, and she turned them back in just a few months after she was ordered to, but the fear remains among those who are probably on the list, or whose spouses, bosses, or friends are – or may be — on the list or in the files. Many don’t know for certain that they have been investigated by the FBI, or what was in their files, or if they were among the profiled individuals, or if they are connected to someone who might be in the files, but they are not willing to take the chance.
If you were Hillary, the smartest woman in the world and the most ruthless Western politician since the late 1930s, whose files would you have requested?
Anyway, in 2008, as in the decade and a half previous, those files provided cover for the Clintons, as scandal after scandal rolled off their backs, and as former associates died (sometimes in prison) or vanished back into China. Those files insured that Hillary would get soft gloves… until Barack Obama burst on the scene.
In Obama, Democrats, the media, the partisan opposition – everyone who was afraid of Hillary – had a hope. Obama was nowhere to be seen in the early Clinton years. His friends, his machine, his own record – were unknown and un-investigated. There were no FBI files worth requesting on Barack Hussein Obama, back in 1993. He was, as Joe Biden said, “clean.”
The press saw a way to escape the power of the feckless Mrs. Clinton, and they abandoned her for Barack. Likewise, once Obama had some momentum, the Democratic Establishment felt safe in jumping on his bandwagon. And they did, leaving the powerful but unloved Hillary in the dust, and without the nomination.
Still, she had those files, and she was not going to leave the spotlight without a price and another checked box on her resume: she parlayed herself into the Secretary of State spot.
Now, she’s back, setting up her run for 2016. She has a bigger (but uglier) resume; she still has those files, and America is tired of Barack Obama. American media, always solidly in the Democrat camp, coupled with newly-enriched unions, a huge and growing dependent class, rich-as-God Wall Street-ers, and facing only crippled US industry and a dwindling middle class, will propel the next Democrat into the White House.
They don’t even need to fear Hillary this time, as long as she generates no viable Democratic opposition. They won’t give a Republican a break, no matter what.
The Republicans, for their part, have spent the past Administration behind such idea-free leadership as McConnell and Boehner can fake, and Republicans have marginalized their potential stars. Republicans could lose the 2016 race against a generic Democrat. Which would be plausible, since the GOP has a habit of running only generic Republicans for the national office.
What could derail Hillary? A breakthrough Republican candidate like Ted Cruz or Mike Lee, maybe – but the Republicans won’t nominate someone outside their establishment. A few more health-related problems or disclosure of the existing ones, a few more “What difference, at this point, does it make?” remarks, or a glimpse at her underlying sneakiness, ruthlessness, and lack of principle (e.g., voting against the surge “to maintain my viability in 2008”) might take her down. And if Obama totally destroys the economy in the next year and a half, or if Europe’s economy tanks and their governments expose the Federal Reserve; or if Obama starts a big war; or if his “border children” run amok or turn out to be terrorists, there’s a chance the nation may go for that generic Republican.
But in the late summer of 2014, the 2016 race is definitely Hillary’s to lose.