This op-ed was written in response to Joe Conason’s recent article in Politico Magazine entitled “The Fake Clinton Scandals Are Back.” Politico Magazine declined to publish my response.
Clinton, Inc. has ordered their surrogates to go out and try to convince the American people that all the Clinton scandals of the 1990’s were just a figment of everybody’s imagination. I’ll call it the “Keyser Soze Defense”—convince the world that they never existed. It’s chutzpah to the highest degree, but right out of the Clinton playbook. Joe Conason’s recent article entitled “The Fake Clinton Scandals Are Back” is a perfect example. The cynical Clinton machine is betting that the American people are a forgetful bunch that either won’t recall what happened two decades ago or doesn’t care to learn. I beg to differ. I believe the American people are already on to them and the desperate measures coming out of Clinton World prove it.
The central thesis is that Whitewater and other significant controversies surrounding the Clintons were “fake” scandals. The opening sentences of the Conason piece are: “Has Washington learned nothing from Whitewater? The Clintons have spent their entire political lives in the capital dogged by one fake scandal after another.” In fact, this point seems to consume Conason’s thinking. He wrote another article in the New York Daily News last month that was entitled: “‘Clinton Cash’: This year’s Whitewater, more smoke than fire.” In reality, nothing could be further from the truth—not even Bill’s grand jury testimony or the story about Hillary’s “missing” billing records.
Here are the facts. According to The Associated Press, the Whitewater investigation “resulted in 24 indictments, at least 16 convictions.” There is nothing fake about these prosecutions. Just ask Hillary Clinton’s former law partner, Webster Hubbell. Some of the other “fake” scandals being referred to are probably the foreign money campaign finance scandal following President Clinton’s re-election campaign in 1996 that resulted in 26 prosecutions, including longtime Clinton benefactor James Riady. The videos of President Clinton and James Riady in the Oval Office are truly priceless.
After misrepresenting the facts on the scandals themselves, the next move in the Clinton playbook is to divert attention from the focal point. So the focus of late is on Sidney Blumenthal, who Conason labels “the fake villain.” Blumenthal is the long time Clinton hatchet man who appeared before the Whitewater grand jury three times and was one of the four witnesses called at President Clinton’s impeachment trial. Lately, everyone is trying to figure out why Blumenthal—a former journalist and political operative—was advising Secretary Hillary Clinton on official U.S. national security matters in Libya while being paid by the Clinton Foundation. Blumenthal is certainly a shady character, but he’s not the villain we should be concerned about.
The Clinton playbook then says to move on to attacking the motivations of both the investigator (in this case Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy) and the press corps, both signature Clintonian damage control tactics, just ask Sen. Al D’Amato, Rep. Dan Burton, and countless members of the media. After all, with the Clintons, it’s always someone else’s fault. Next, the Clintons like to magically become friends of the taxpayer, always saying the current investigation is a waste of federal dollars. If you can recall, this was a constant avenue of attack from the Clinton White House on Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and congressional oversight committees. Even their public relations playbook is a thing from the past.
When it comes to the allegations surrounding official State Department business, foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, and missing emails, there is much for voters to be concerned about. People are rightfully trying to understand how to balance a former President’s work around the world with a spouse’s official foreign policy decisions and what happens when those interests diverge. Here’s what I know at present: if Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash is this year’s Whitewater, as the Clinton camp predicts, Hillary is in a lot trouble.