A Different World

Hillary Clinton improved resume past 7 years, but there’s more to becoming president

Students listen as former President Bill Clinton, right, speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. The Clintons’ relationships with major funders present an unusual political challenge for Hillary Clinton.
Students listen as former President Bill Clinton, right, speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. The Clintons’ relationships with major funders present an unusual political challenge for Hillary Clinton. JACQUELYN MARTIN ASSOCIATED PRESS

Will the latest controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton finally be the one to sink her presidential hopes once and for all?

Clinton Foundation acknowledges mistakes

Clintons’ wealth, charity intertwine

Or will it join the long list of other controversies, such as Whitewater, that are now little more than political wallpaper?

I’m not sure. The attacks from the right are nothing new and are to be expected.

The question will really hinge on how the left reacts. So far, I sense the mood is to still stand firmly with Clinton, particularly given the attacks she’s had to weather over the past couple of decades. As long as that doesn’t change, Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016 and will be exceedingly hard to beat in the general election. I think most analysts, if they are truthful, understand that once the general election kicks off and Democrats and Republicans retreat to the usual partisan corners, Clinton will be the odds on favorite because of incredible demographic shifts, and especially if the economy continues to heal.

I haven’t changed my tune. The 2016 nomination is Clinton’s to lose. No other Democrat can win it if she doesn’t first give it away.

It is a bit surprising, though, that the Clintons didn’t handle their business a bit differently over the past several years knowing that Hillary Clinton would be gearing up for a run to the White House.

Since 2008, she did a great job sprucing up her resume. But did she forget that there were other considerations?

It’s going to take more than just an apology about “mistakes” to put this particular controversy to bed, because the questions are obvious. And it is not as simple as saying that other high-profile politicians have also cashed in post-government work - because most aren’t trying to become the next leader of the free world.

Why didn’t they do more to be transparent with the foundation and donations? Why would they do things that seem to cut against the grain of common sense, to not only not do anything illegal or untoward, but to also avoid the appearance of such as much as you can?

And this comes on the heels of “email-gate,” which brought up similar questions about judgment.

Combined, along with other rumblings, such things can become a narrative that would be hard to shake. What would I do if I was advising the Clinton campaign? Send Bill Clinton out to talk about all the wonderful work the Clinton Foundation has done over the past decade and remind people that even the U.S. has to deal with unsavory characters in order to help needy people elsewhere.

I wouldn’t be too aggressive, but I wouldn’t be passive, either. All campaigns face such decisions, and because Clinton is essentially the only real candidate on the Democratic side, she should expect this to continue happening until the Republican nominee emerges.

In the meantime, here is a piece from a leftward writer that should at least give the Clintons pause:

When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money other than moral satisfaction or the chance to hobnob with celebrities. Some of them want preferential treatment from the State Department, and others want access to a potential future Clinton administration. To run a private operation where Bill Clinton will deliver a speech for a (huge) fee and a charity that raises money from some of the same clients is a difficult situation to navigate. To overlay that fraught situation onto Hillary’s ongoing and likely future government service makes it all much harder.

And yet the Clintons paid little to no attention to this problem. Nicholas Confessore described their operation as “a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” Indeed, as Ryan Lizza reported in 2012, Bill Clinton seemed to see the nexus between his role and his wife’s as a positive rather than a negative.

Read more here.