The Fall of the House of Clinton
Hillary Clinton will probably survive her latest ethical disaster. James Carville -- of “if you drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find” fame -- is back again to pronounce the Clinton Foundation scandal as “diddly-squat.” He may be right in the political sense. After all, we know the standard Clinton rescue plan from the past: her aging point-men like Carville, Lanny Davis, and Paul Begala flood the airways, yelling “prove it!” at their television hosts and declaring:
- That the accusations are “old news.”
- That the accusers are funded by right-wing conspiracists.
- That everyone does what the Clintons did.
- That the media pick on the Clintons.
- That there is no hard evidence (because they have destroyed documents) that would ever lead to a criminal case. And:
- That they are moving on, to work on behalf of the folks.
Such obfuscation worked well with Troopergate, Travelgate, Whitewater, the cattle futures scam, Monicagate, the pardons, and Bill’s serial and sometimes coercive sexual conquests. The scorched-earth protocol has already largely dispensed with the “what difference does it make” and “we came, we saw, he died” Libya/Benghazi scandals. That the ex-president of the United States often flew on a private jet with registered sex-offender Jeffrey Epstein, known for supplying underage women to his guests, is, as the Clintons say, “old news.” Hillary Clinton’s serial lies about her email accounts and the Clinton Foundation shakedowns will likewise fade -- despite the national-security implications of both transgressions for the United States.
So by “Fall of the House of Clinton” I don’t suggest that a special prosecutor will be appointed to indict Hillary and Bill for crimes that would likely make the accusations that were once leveled against Sen. Robert Menendez, Gov. Bob McDonnell, Scooter Libby, Conrad Black or Dinesh D’Souza look like child’s play in comparison.
The Democrat Party’s investment in Hillary Clinton is too substantial for any such reckoning. Liberals have embraced the Cold-War cliché -- “of course, he is a SOB, but he’s our SOB.” Translated to Hillary that means she is a tough political brawler, she’s on their side, and she’s all they got -- and therefore anything such an asset does is more or less tolerable in an imperfect world. Democrats expect her to weather this mess. Each time she does so, the next and more egregious scandal becomes more “old news.” The family’s Nietzschean creed is that any scandal that does not kill off their careers makes a Clinton stronger. Despite the dozen or so ethical scandals that will inevitably arise over the next two years, Hillary Clinton will be nominated by the Democrats and has at least a 50/50 chance of being elected president. The Democratic elite will call her survival “fully vetted” and “time tested.”
But all that said, the House of Clinton has utterly collapsed in a moral sense. The very name Clinton is now synonymous with amorality and will be so for the rest of American history. It is not that the Clintons are immoral and thus break existing moral canons and laws; rather they operate completely outside of any moral universe. To them, there is no such thing as moral or immoral, legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, only whether their aim is judged lucrative and the means to obtain it without serious liability. A form, a disclosure, a protocol for a Clinton is not a question of signing it as required or not signing it; rather, for them, such a requirement simply does not exist. Clintons do not erase emails; they destroy the server to ensure erased emails are erased for good.
Simple facts that would embarrass most are utterly irrelevant to the Clintons. How can Hillary trash hedge funds, when her son-in-law runs one (and a dubious one at that)? She has just attacked the privileges of elite hedge funds without telling us that her daughter worked for one and is now reportedly worth $15 million. Once Hillary Clinton stepped down from the State Department, she immediately rented space in a speculative financial office -- so much better to monitor their unethical tax policies?
Who has the money to pay Bill Clinton $500,000 for a 40-minute talk, and why would anyone do so? (Before we blast oligarchs, remember that UCLA, a public university, paid Hillary $300,000 [$165 a second] for chit chat (did she touch on the unfairness of $1 trillion of student loans or the over-compensation of the one-percent?). Hillary came onto the national scene after using her husband’s cronies to steal $100,000 from the cattle futures market after a paltry $1,000 investment. I say steal unapologetically, given that statisticians report than any of us would have had a 31 trillion to 1 chance to replicate Hillary’s investment savvy. Not satisfied by rigging a system that cattlemen and farmers must assume is transparent and honest, Mrs. Clinton -- of raise-taxes-for-the-public-good fame -- then shorted the government in the reporting of some of her profits and was caught doing it.
How about transparency and honesty? Bill Clinton lied under oath repeatedly during the Monica investigation, to the point of being disbarred and fined. Subpoenaed legal records of Hillary Clinton turned up (too late) mysteriously in the White House. In the latest email scandal, the mystery was not that Hillary set up a stealthy private communication system to facilitate the Clinton scheme of offering foreign zillionaires the opportunity to give money to the family foundation and huge cash speaking fees for Bill, in exchange for likely favorable U.S. government decisions affecting billions of dollars in international trade and commerce -- and perhaps the very security of the United States. We expected even that from Hillary Clinton the moment that she assumed office -- in the manner that her husband had once pardoned convicted FALN Puerto Rican terrorists in hopes of winning bloc votes for her New York Senate campaign, in addition to snagging money from convicted felons. That Mrs. Clinton refused to sign disclosure forms and to follow government protocols about donations and correspondence, as she promised she would, was also nothing new. But what was novel was Hillary Clinton’s ability to hold a press conference and lie about every single aspect of her email crimes. Everything she said was untrue: from the nature of smart phones and email accounts, to the email habits of other cabinet officers, to the methods of securing a server, to the mix between public and private communications, to the method of adjudicating her behavior. All were untruths offered without a shred of remorse.
What is the House of Clinton? It is a large family syndicate predicated on the three facts. One, Bill is a amoral, well-connected ex-president and good old boy schmoozer who enjoys a lifestyle that only ethical misconduct can ensure. Two, a less charismatic Hillary plays good cop to his bad, and for thirty years has been seen by donors as the likely first female president. Three, as flexible liberals, they have no ideological reluctance to snag Wall Street and corporate pay-for-play cash -- and they let that be known to the one-percent who in turn feel that the Clintons’ populist verbiage is simply good insurance. The result is that although Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea are not business people, they became multimillionaires precisely because they can offer access and at least the scent of favorable government treatment to billionaires.
All three have become utterly shameless people. Chelsea lectures us on how wealth has had no hold on her -- after making $600,000 from NBC to appear a few times on air, and becoming a multimillionaire working for a hedge fund without any demonstrable financial talent. Hillary sermonizes about poor students while charging them a fortune for a half hour of banality. Bill talks about women’s rights as he has serially translated political power into sexual gratification from those younger, poorer, or less influential than himself.
Wall Street and corporate American know there is no deal considered beneath the Clintons. If they will, as reported, wheel and deal off the human tragedy of the Haitian disaster, then they will indeed do anything. If they are willing to defame and destroy women abused by Bill Clinton, they will not only do that, but proclaim themselves feminists. They have created a huge shakedown conglomerate in the Clinton Foundation in Machiavellian fashion: the philanthropy brilliantly masks the cynical tapping of such funds for personal aggrandizement. Quid pro quos go through the foundation to “help” the helpless while providing the family the moral veneer to moonlight and rake in huge fees from foundation donors, who do not give such largess for nothing. Hitting up corporate finaglers for $70 million in tag-along private jet travel would be burdensome; but creating a tax-free “philanthropy” to provide such corporate one-percent travel for the three Clintons (whether to lecture on global warming or the unfair tax policies of the one-percent) is brilliant in the Medieval sense.
The utter moral collapse of the House of Clinton is, of course, a national disgrace. But the shame is not because the Clintons are what they are -- grifters in ties and pantsuits. Rather, the liberal community’s neglect of three decades of their amorality reminds us what progressivism has become: a psychological squaring in which abstract caring allows privileged people to enjoy their material bounty without guilt over where it came from or how it is used.
Hillary Clinton was out of the stump the last few days blasting CEOs, hedge funds, and right-wing political and religious figures who might impinge on abortion on demand. In other words, she was contracting progressive penances and exemptions for her family’s ongoing greed and indulgence -- and for all those who so willingly empower her.
(Artwork created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)