In Wednesday’s New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas B. Edsall channels The Sound of Music and unloads a whole pack of serious concern in How Do You Solve a Problem Like Trump? The estimable Mr. Edsall is clearly disturbed someone with the extraordinary curriculum vitae of Hillary Clinton, one of the most powerful women in the world for decades, could possibly lose the election to a vulgar businessman with no political track record and a tasteless combover.
Hillary Clinton, a Yale Law graduate whose résumé includes stints at the Children’s Defense Fund and the House Judiciary Committee working on Watergate, spent more than a decade as first lady of Arkansas, eight years as first lady of the United States, eight years as a senator and four years as secretary of state serving as one of the president’s principal foreign policy advisers. She collected more than 17 million votes in 2008 as the first woman to ever come close to winning the presidential nomination of a major party; she has been named 12 times by Forbes as one of most powerful women in the world and found 20 times by Gallup to be the woman Americans admire most in the world.
How could a candidate with as much baggage as Trump be neck-and-neck with one of the most admired, best credentialed and most broadly experienced nominees in the history of the Democratic Party?
Edsall blames this on the insulting and demeaning ambience of the campaign with Mrs. Clinton under constant attack from both the voluble Trump and the increasingly irascible leftist Sanders. But such attacks would not work if Mrs. Clinton was truly respected. Pace Mr. Edsall, she is not. She is merely famous for being famous. She filled a vacuum. She was simply there. More specifically, what exactly has Mrs. Clinton done? If not zero, given her opportunities, close enough to it.
What does not appear in this supposedly magnificent résumé is an actual record of accomplishment. It reads more like the vitae of an especially determined high school student anxious to get into an elite college — lots of violin lessons but no recitals.
In the immortal words of Gertrude Stein, there’s no there there. If there were, she’d be miles ahead, no matter what Twitter slurs Trump could muster or what accusations of hypocrisy aimed at her by Bernie. No one would care about her speeches to Goldman Sachs.
But still trying to resurrect the former secretary of State, Mr. Edsall ends his column this way:
One alternative for Clinton is to try to elevate the campaign debate to issues of judgment, temperament and experience, as Lyndon Baines Johnson was able to do when he ran against Barry Goldwater in 1964. This is clearly terrain where she holds an advantage. But so far this year no one who has faced Trump has been able to change the conversation.
Really? Issues of judgment? Nowhere in Mr. Edsall’s article does the word “Libya” appear, one of the great lapses of judgment in American history, largely instigated by Mrs. Clinton with evident coaching from her personal guru Sidney Blumenthal, “Mr. Judgment” himself.
As for temperament, according to the parents of the Benghazi victims, Mrs. Clinton told those parents, over the caskets of their deceased children, that their sons’ deaths were caused by a reaction to a video when she knew full well it was a terrorist attack. She had already said as much to her daughter and the Libyan president. Clinton went further, assuring the parents that they’d bring the producer of the nefarious video to “justice.” She now denies she said any of that, but no one yet has explained why the parents would be lying. In fact, I would bet my house they told the truth.
What kind of presidential temperament is that? Forget the affairs and sexual hijinks on all sides, this kind of reprehensible behavior at the funeral of men who died for our country would make Hillary Clinton one of the more immoral people ever to aspire to the presidency. Until Mr. Edsall can explain that one, the rest of what he writes is pointless and puerile.
And then to beat what should long ago have been a dead horse, there’s this from today’s Washington Post (and a host of other places):
One of the two big dominoes in the Hillary Clinton email controversy toppled today: The State Department’s inspector general released its report on the email practices of Clinton and a number of other past secretaries of state. (The other major domino is, of course, the FBI investigation into Clinton’s decision to exclusively use a private email server while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.)
The report, which you can read in its entirety here, badly complicates Clinton’s past explanations about the server and whether she complied fully with the laws in place governing electronic communication. And it virtually ensures that Clinton’s email practices will be front and center in Donald Trump’s fusillade of attacks against her credibility and honesty between now and Nov. 8.
Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His next book – I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already – will be published by Encounter Books on June 14, 2016. You can read an excerpt here. You can pre-order the book here.