Thursday, March 10, 2016


Which in Hillary's case there is no shortage of.

Illustration on Hillary Clinton's historical/political baggage by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

                              Hillary Clinton’s Ordeal Continues at the Democratic Debate

After suffering a shocking loss to Bernie Sanders in Michigan on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton didn’t get much relief at the latest Democratic debate, which was held in Miami last night. In fact, the event turned into something of an ordeal for the front-runner. The result in Michigan framed the debate, which was organized by the Spanish-language network Univision, the Washington Post, and Facebook. Clinton was asked tough questions, and her opponent, who was clearly revelling in the moment, displayed a bit of swagger.

For much of the evening, however, she was put on the defensive, and the event seemed to encapsulate some of the problems that have dogged her campaign, which was was widely expected to be a quick victory march but has instead turned into a long slog. She’s carrying a lot of baggage from her past; she’s facing a happy warrior bearing a simple, bold message that he repeats like a metronome; and she doesn’t have a similarly arresting theme or a charismatic political persona to fall back on.

The first question put to Clinton was why she lost in Michigan. Understandably, she dodged it. (What was she going to say: “Because the voters favored Bernie”?) The second set of questions she received was about the private e-mail server she used while she was Secretary of State. “So who specifically gave you permission to operate your e-mail system as you did?” Univision’s Jorge Ramos asked. “Was it President Barack Obama? And would you drop out of the race if you get indicted?”

Clinton somehow managed to smile. “Well, Jorge, there’s a lot of questions in there,” she said. “And I’m going to give the same answer I’ve been giving for many months.” She went on, “It wasn’t the best choice. I made a mistake. It was not prohibited. It was not in any way disallowed. And as I have said, and as now has come out, my predecessors did the same thing and many other people in the government.”

Ramos pressed Clinton on whether Obama had given her permission, and she said that no permission was necessary. Then the Univision anchor repeated his question about whether she would drop out if she were indicted. “Oh, for goodness—” she said, not hiding her irritation. “That’s not going to happen. I’m not even answering that question.”

Clinton received another forceful question, this one from the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty, a veteran political correspondent. “Secretary Clinton, a Washington Post poll just yesterday found that only thirty-seven per cent of Americans consider you honest and trustworthy,” she said. “Is there anything in your own actions and the decisions that you yourself have made that would foster this kind of mistrust?”

This time, Clinton didn’t smile. “Well, first, Karen, obviously it’s painful for me to hear that,” she said. “And I do take responsibility. When you’re in public life, even if you believe that it’s not an opinion that you think is fair or founded, you do have to take responsibility. And I do.”

For a moment, it seemed like Clinton would then admit more mistakes. Instead, she pivoted to argue that the reason many voters have a negative perception of her is that she is not a very good communicator. “Look, I have said before and it won’t surprise anybody to hear me say it, this is not easy for me,” Clinton said. “I am not a natural politician, in case you haven’t noticed, like my husband or President Obama. So I have a view that I just have to do the best I can, get the results I can, make a difference in people’s lives, and hope that people see that I’m fighting for them and that I can improve conditions economically and other ways that will benefit them and their families.”

As Clinton indicated, she has used these lines before, but only at town-hall meetings, not during televised debates. They sound authentic, because they are an acknowledgement of an uncomfortable truth: she doesn’t have the oratorical gifts of her husband or Obama. But her self-deprecating comments also demonstrated that she isn’t without political skills of her own. After all, the image she is trying to portray in this campaign is one of a dogged fighter who battles adversity to do what is right. What better way to get this message across than to advertise some of your own limitations?

The adversity wasn’t over for Clinton after that. To loud boos around the hall, Ramos brought up the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi. He showed a video clip in which a family member of one of the American victims accused Clinton of having lied when she said that the attack was sparked by an online video. Again, she gave a pretty effective answer. She said that she couldn’t even imagine the grief of the woman in the video, who had lost her son. “But she’s wrong,” Clinton said. “She’s absolutely wrong.” She added that “seven or eight congressional” investigations had failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing.

This was just part of the baggage that Hillary carries into this campaign and much more will be unpacked as we continue to November' election.

1. Monica Lewinsky: Led to only the second president in American history to be impeached.

2. Benghazi: Four Americans killed, an entire system of weak diplomatic security uncloaked, and the credibility of a president and his secretary of state damaged.

3. Asia fundraising scandal: More than four dozen convicted in a scandal that made the Lincoln bedroom, White House donor coffees and Buddhist monks infamous.

4. Hillary’s private emails: Hundreds of national secrets already leaked through private email and the specter of a criminal probe looming large.

5. Whitewater: A large S&L failed and several people went to prison.

6. Travelgate: The firing of the career travel office was the very first crony capitalism scandal of the Clinton era.

7. Humagate: An aide’s sweetheart job arrangement.

8. Pardongate: The first time donations were ever connected as possible motives for 
residential pardons.

9. Foundation favors: Revealing evidence that the Clinton Foundation was a pay-to-play back door to the State Department, and an open checkbook for foreigners to curry favor.

10. Mysterious files: The disappearance and re-discovery of Hillary’s Rose Law Firm records.

11. Filegate: The Clinton use of FBI files to dig for dirt on their enemies.

12. Hubble trouble: The resignation and imprisonment of Hillary law partner Web Hubbell.

13. The Waco tragedy: One of the most lethal exercises of police power in American history.

14. The Clinton’s Swedish slush fund: $26 million collected overseas with little accountability and lots of questions about whether contributors got a pass on Iran sanctions.

15. Troopergate: From the good old days, did Arkansas state troopers facilitate Bill Clinton’s philandering?

16. Gennifer Flowers: The tale that catapulted a supermarket tabloid into the big time.

17. Bill’s Golden Tongue: His and her speech fees shocked the American public.

18. Boeing Bucks: Boeing contributed big-time to Bill; Hillary helped the company obtain a profitable Russian contract.

19. Larry Lawrence: How did a fat cat donor get buried in Arlington National Cemetery without war experience?

20. The cattle futures: Hillary as commodity trader extraordinaire.

21. Chinagate: Nuclear secrets go to China on her husband’s watch.