Posted on September 22, 2015
Clinton Machine was Bill’s alone
Anytime Hillary Clinton runs for office, we can count on political analysts to ask how her opponents will fare against the Clinton Machine. In reality, they don’t have to. There’s a reason it isn’t called the Rodham Machine. The Clinton Machine was Bill’s, and his alone.
The Clinton Machine functioned as a synchronized effort among Bill’s perpetual campaign team, the Democratic Party and the media. This may sound simple, since they were in general political agreement to start with, but the system would have broken down if the messages being transmitted among them were not consistent.
When Bill realized that he couldn’t avoid having several of his scandals investigated, he had Attorney General Janet Reno appoint one man to investigate all of them. With that man, Ken Starr, embodying the opposition, Bill sent out James Carville to declare “wahw!” on him. The media readily adopted that paradigm, consistently depicting the conflict as a battle between political opponents. Placing it in that context relieved the president of his responsibility to cooperate with the duly appointed special prosecutor, allowing him instead to obstruct and malign him with impunity.
The consistency of the message from the Carville-Begala-Blumenthal chorus made it easy for congressional Democrats and the liberal media to follow along. Ken Starr was an “out of control” prosecutor, with an Ahab-like obsession with bringing down the president. Ken Starr was a greedy Big Tobacco lawyer from whom Bill was heroically protecting The Children. Ken Starr was a voyeur, prying onto the president’s “personal life.” Ken Starr was the real pervert!
Reporters camped outside Starr’s house, intimidating his family, even as their publications feigned concern for Bill’s privacy. When Starr testified truthfully and dispassionately at the Clinton impeachment hearings, Rep. Barney Frank and other congressional Democrats treated him like a criminal defendant. In a 20/20 interview, Diane Sawyer called the Starr Report “pornography for Puritans,” and used contrived polling results to tell the audience that Starr was no better than Saddam Hussein. That’s an example of the Clinton Machine, chewing up one of his enemies between its gears.
The machine would have malfunctioned, however, if Bill had sent mixed messages, as Hillary tends to do. Remember that Bill told literally dozens of lies in his grand jury testimony, but he didn’t just blurt them out at random. Instead, he wove together a pattern of interdependent lies, in a premeditated effort to subvert justice.
Compare that to Hillary’s series of incongruous explanations about her use of a private server for government e-mails. She became entangled in her own contradictory statements almost immediately, saying that she used her personal account for State Department e-mails “because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and my personal e-mails instead of two,” only to be reminded that she’d recently stated that she carries both an iPhone and a BlackBerry. Nevertheless, Hillary had struck a defiant pose for months, until suddenly doing an about-face and apologizing, calling the account setup a mistake, and saying that she “should have done a better job answering questions earlier.”
Hillary’s allies in the Democratic Party and the news media can’t defend her because they don’t know what her story is supposed to be. They’re not going to commit themselves to backing up today’s explanation, knowing that she might disavow it tomorrow.
If she knew how to run the Clinton Machine, not only would she present a consistent narrative, but she would also go on the offensive. Rather than try to defend her own actions, she would pick out one person who’s demanding answers – let’s call him “Mr. Vast,” as in the Mr. Big of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy – and make him the enemy. She would portray herself as the victim, by having all her spokespeople demand to know why Mr. Vast was snooping around in her private e-mails.
Congressional Democrats would line up for the Sunday shows to condemn Mr. Vast, each of them looking for his “have you no decency” moment. News editors and reporters would liken Mr. Vast to a peeper. The focus would no longer be on Hillary’s lawbreaking, but on a superfluous personal conflict between her and Mr. Vast.
Bill could set this all in motion on her behalf if he wanted to, but why? He has no interest in returning to the White House just to be the “first husband,” when his ex-prez gig is much cushier. Besides, that would mean the two of them would have to live together again.
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