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Monday, March 25, 2019

One prominent figure neither taken into custody nor charged with conspiring against United States this week was Hillary Clinton—or “Crooked Hillary,” if you follow President Trump’s frenzied tweetstorms.

This was a big disappointment to the embattled chief executive. The impending arrest of his Russia-friendly campaign manager Paul Manafort drove Trump up the wall. “There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton,” he tweeted “and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

Never mind that the only reason for hiring so compromised a figure as Manafort to begin with appeared to be his Moscow connections. White House Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders contended that the “real Russia scandal” was that the “Clinton campaign paid for the fake Russia dossier, then lied about it & covered it up.” In fact, Mother Jones’ October 2016 news story revealing the dossier’s existence stated that Democrats sponsored it. So what?

Never mind too that a guilty plea entered by Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos proves one thing: scant weeks after Democratic National Committee emails were stolen in March 2016, a Russian operative posing as Vladimir Putin’s niece was dangling them in front of the Trump campaign. And nobody notified the FBI.

It’s like an episode out of the old “Rocky and Bullwinkle” cartoons featuring Boris and Natasha, Soviet spies. “Must get moose and squirrel!”

Papadapoulous’s guilty plea also confirmed, for those of you keeping score at home, yet another of the “dodgy dossier’s” allegations about Russian efforts to elect Trump: collusion over stolen communications.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a July 2016 news conference. Different emails, I know. There’s no evidence anybody hacked Hillary’s private messages. Even so, if Trump’s antics looked unseemly then, they look worse now. Anyway, think about it: to buy the Trump/Sanders/Fox News alibi, it’s necessary to believe that Crooked Hillary conspired with British sleuth Christopher Steele and the Kremlin to throw the election to Trump himself. I know the woman is devious, but that’s taking it awfully far.

Of course, this is nothing but gorilla dust, to use the technical term—chaff posturing apes fling into in the air to confuse rival primates. They also tear down trees, beat their chests, hoot and jump up and down. Anything to avoid a real fight. Or in Trump’s case, to confuse the 1/3 of voters enchanted by his cult of personality.

Another thing to keep in mind: “Crooked Hillary” has been serving this function for Republicans since about 1994, aided and abetted by much of the national news media. New to political journalism, I was naïve enough to be shocked when I realized that an ABC News “Nightline” broadcast doctored a video clip to make the then-First Lady appear to deny doing legal work for a failed Arkansas Savings and Loan.

“No wonder,” Jeff Greenfield exclaimed “the White House was so worried about what was in Vince Foster’s office when he killed himself.” Suspicious, right? But only if you didn’t know that Hillary’s forthright statement that “I was what we called the billing attorney” had been electronically deleted. It also helped to not understand that an attorney’s death doesn’t empower police to rummage through client files. Who would entrust sensitive documents to a lawyer if they could? Hence no cause for worry existed.

Because it sounded fishy to me, I cross-checked the original videotape of the First Lady’s press conference. Uh-oh. Nevertheless, the fake quote appeared everywhere in the national news media, sparking widespread speculation that Crooked Hillary would soon be indicted. Why the Clinton White House never confronted this monkey business, I never understood. Those responsible should have been run out of journalism.  Too late now. Entire TV networks now practice such dark arts daily.

Every Crooked Hillary frenzy I’ve encountered since has followed the same pattern: correct the errors and fill in the blanks, and the scandal evaporates. Whether you’d want her to be your president or even your neighbor, Hillary Clinton is a cautious, intelligent politician who colors inside the lines—even if those lines are often drawn with legalistic exactitude.

Consider great uranium mining scandal currently roiling Fox News. First, it’s closer to 2%, not 20% of US capacity of low grade (i.e. non-weapons grade) ore. Second, it can’t be exported. Third, there’s zero evidence Secretary Clinton even knew about the deal, much less strong-armed eight other agencies into approving it. Fourth, Canadian mining executives who’d donated generously to the Clinton Foundation had sold their shares years earlier, and had nothing to gain.

In short, another Crooked Hillary nothingburger. She’ll never run again, but this is exactly how things are done in authoritarian countries like, well, Russia. You oppose the strongman, first they smear you, and then they throw you in jail. But this is still the United States of America.

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33 responses to “Why They’re Still Chasing ‘Crooked Hillary’”

  1. Dominick Vila says:

    Trump is desperately trying to deflect attention from the mess he is in by focusing on Hillary because she is an easy target, and because unlike Bernie, who spends his time denouncing Republican malfeasance and the dangers of an incompetent and unstable President, she spends her time trying to find excuses for why she lost her bid to the presidency. I voted for Hillary, and I still believe she was the most qualified candidate by a long shot, but at this point the best thing she could do is devote her energies to her family, and stop making a fool of herself. Her absence from the political arena would deprive Trump of a political target, or would make him look like what he is, an immature grown man accustomed to adulation and vendettas, unfit for the office he holds. The Democratic party needs new blood, people who can connect with the average American, and not afraid to expose a dangerous buffoon who has become the laughing stock of the world.

    • dbtheonly says:

      GM Dom,

      Hillary, and the Clintons in general, are just too good targets for the RWMO to let them go. Hillary could disappear and they’d still be inventing stories about her.

      Democrats have good Candidates for office of all ages. If you’re saying we always need more, I’m with you. If you’re saying we need to dump everyone over 60, I’m not.

      The ultimate answer though is that the RWMO and the Republicans are not designed for Government. Their entire focus is Opposition. They oppose really well. They are the “Party of No”. Now, that they are in Government, they have to have answers. They have to have programs. They bear responsibilities. They have to get to “Yes”.

      President Obama’s economy has been kind to them. Aside from the DPRK, the world is a relatively quiet place. The Republican fractures and schisms are obvious but not serious. Yet.

      It hasn’t mattered that the biggest Congressional success has been prohibiting Trump from repealing Russian Sanctions. Yet.

      It hasn’t mattered, that the deficit, over which the Republicans shut the entire Government down, is ignored for the goal of tax cuts. Yet.

      • Dominick Vila says:

        I am not in favor of replacing anyone over 60. My point is quite simple, our elected officials seem incapable of confronting and exposing the callous agenda being pursued by Trump, Ryan, and McCollum. As bad as that is, the worst part is that Democrats don’t have a leader at the moment. Yes, we are making modest inroads at the state level, which is critical when it comes to ending gerrymandering and getting state government support, but with the exception of Sanders, and a couple of others, nobody has taken over the leadership of the party, since President Obama left office. That vacuum is likely to have horrible consequences in 2018, when we have to defend 23 Senate seats Vs the GOP that only has to worry about 8 seats. The absence of a leader has allowed Trump to take credit from the robust economy he inherited and, like you said, a world in relative peace when he was inaugurated. Can you imagine what would have happened if Trump had become President in 2009, with an economy on the verge of collapse, heavy casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, bankruptcies at record levels, unemployment rising, and a demoralized population shocked by the chaos around them? The far right does not hate President Obama because he failed, the hate him because of his incredible, measurable, accomplishments, his commitment and honesty, and his willingness to take responsibility for whatever happened during his tenure. I don’t recall him, or any former President, ever saying “I am not going to take the blame for what others do”. Trump did, and the far right did not mind it a bit. To say that expectations have been lowered is an under statement.

        • dbtheonly says:

          The absence of a single “head of the Party” is what you get when you lose an election. Unlike the Parliamentary systems, the US parties are not nearly as organized and we don’t keep a “Shadow President” on hand. It’s the system.

          Equally we can discuss whether the US political system is significantly more “local” that the Parliamentary ones. Those 23 Democratic Senate Seats? They’ve got 23 Senators defending them. Each Senator is the “Head of the Party” in his own State.

          While Andrew Jackson asserted that he was the only nationally elected official, and the repetition and use and misuse, of others following that; in point of fact the President is not elected nationally. He is elected in 51 separate and distinct elections.

          Does the lack of organization need to change in “mediaworld”? Or is it that the RWMO exists and brings an organization and control to Republicans?

          • Dominick Vila says:

            In my humble opinion, what needs to change is the message, and our ability to fight back. There are several reasons for the 2016, one of the most critical was the ability of Trump to appropriate traditional Democratic talking points to appeal to the working class. Hillary, perhaps because of over confidence, neglected a critical segment of our party, especially in the Midwest, with devastating consequences for her and the Democratic party. In addition to exposing GOP lies and distractions, our elected officials, and the new wave of politicians that is emerging throughout the country, must articulate a message that resonates with the middle class, and that contrasts with Trump’s feigned patriotism by communicating realistic proposals on how to overcome the challenges we face. I believe the “system” needs to change, especially the Electoral College concept, and I am not sure the so called “liberal” media is as liberal as conservatives suggest.

          • dbtheonly says:

            The “Liberal Media” was always a construct of the Right Wing. Its never been true and certainly not since the growth of the RWMO over the past 25 years.

            “It’s the economy, stupid”. But we spent out time being distracted by Trump’s antics. Maybe Trump and his “trickle up” economic Tax plan will help us focus on what is real. Don’t bet on it. His latest Gitmo tweet will have everyone running around in circles long enough to distract from any serious analysis of the tax plan.

            You might just as well ask for the elimination of the Senate as the Electoral College. Same concept for both. Welcome to Federalism.

        • idamag says:

          Congress has become fascists and enablers.

    • idamag says:

      I listened to a 45 minute speech by Hillary one time. She is a great speaker. However, there are many if they did listen, would not like her speech. A study shows the average American reads at 7th grade level. Trump talked at less than that, so he was talking to them.He also appealed to the deplorables like the white supremacists. I don’t advise any candidate to lower themselves to that level, but they need to learn the people. They need to make all walks feel they know their problems.

      • FireBaron says:

        Teflon Donnie talked below a 7th grade level because despite his “Ivy League Education”, that effectively matches his personality. Talking at a higher educational level is beyond him because he has never had the need to do so.

    • JPHALL says:

      I totally disagree. She is just doing the Capitalist money run all political losers do. Get over it. As to new blood, who?

      • Dominick Vila says:

        I admit that I am very disappointed in Hillary. Not only because she comes across as being too greedy, but because she refuses to acknowledge responsibility for her loss. Yes, the Russians interfere, Comey’s role hurt her chances, but ultimately it was her political decision, her lack of charisma, and her inability to articulate a message that appealed to the average American that did her in. Conversely. Trump articulated a simplistic message, focused on patriotism and solutions that only the most naive would believe, and managed to win an Electoral College victory he did not deserve. In retrospect, I think Bernie would have been a much better choice than Hillary. Elizabeth Warren or Gennifer Granholm would have also been better choices than Hillary. Gennifer .

        • JPHALL says:

          It is always funny to me that so many people expected so much more from both Clinton and Sanders. They are who they are. Yes, Clinton could have insisted that her people had pushed more to get the maximum turn out. But over all it just goes to show you that Barnum was correct. I know he did not really say it but it fits.

  2. The question answers itself. Hillary Clinton makes herself a target rich environment.

  3. TZToronto says:

    The hatred of Hillary Clinton is reminiscent of the hatred directed at Emmanuel Goldstein in 1984. The main difference is that we know that Clinton exists. Her alleged crimes, though, are about as real as those of Oceania’s favorite villain. The methodology of developing Hillary-hatred is about the same as the way Goldstein-hatred was instilled in the Oceanians–repeat the lie every day. The Two Minutes Hate has been replaced by Fox News and Trump’s tweets. Let’s be honest, shall we? The propoganda has led even those of us who know better to question Hillary’s honesty. Those who despised Hillary before she ran for President have simply had their hatred reinforced, and they now feel that they are in a position to say, “See! I told you so!” Of course, the “facts” surrounding Hillary Clinton are no more real than those attributed to Goldstein.

    • Dapper Dan says:

      The unhinged RW are looking for a scapegoat in Clinton. They thought there’d be a President Clinton to blame for everything and got caught off guard when Russia helped push Donnie in the WhiteHouse. Even Sean Hannity had a slip of tongue the other night momentarily calling Hillary President Clinton. Oooops but your stuck with that sleazebag who’s said out loud, “Can You Believe I’m The President ?” Then there’s talk that from the RW media that if Trump is removed from office which is very likely they’re saying there’ll be a Civil War. When you have people like Gen. Kelly giving high praise to Robert E. Lee that’s not so much a threat as a promise

    • Gene Lyons says:

      Exactly. As somebody who used to teach a course on Orwell, I’m embarrassed that I didn’t think of it.

      • dtgraham says:

        Too bad you’re not even more embarrassed that you were one of the many National Memo writers responsible for pushing the “I hate Bernie Sanders” narrative all during the Democratic primaries in 2015 and 2016.

  4. idamag says:

    These attacks on Hillary Clinton is an obsession without substance. The more they attack to more I am convinced that I am right in assuming republicans are despicable.

  5. bojimbo26 says:

    Tantrums by the Repubs .

  6. FireBaron says:

    The GOP has been trying to hang anything on Hillary since 1984. If she wasn’t such a cold fish, maybe she would come across as more sympathetic. As it is, I personally hold Debbie Wasserman-Schultz for Teflon Donnie’s victory. Her engineering of Hillary as the only viable Democratic Candidate in last year’s elections doomed us to a GOP victory. While she was definitely the most qualified candidate out there, she was also the most unelectable. That she won the majority of the Popular vote, but lost the Electoral College was no surprise.

    • dtgraham says:

      Especially when you lose the popular vote in an amazing 84% of the counties in America, yet win the popular vote overall in the country by 2.9 million votes. While the Dems tend to do better in high population areas, it’s still hard to reconcile and square the circle on those two facts.

  7. Darsan54 says:

    Still the United States…………for the moment.

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