SAN DIEGO – Many Americans don’t understand what Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is really about. Oddly enough, this includes Clinton herself.
The Democratic front-runner continues to blame the brouhaha on partisan attacks by Republicans, and on a busybody media that is out of step with voters. According to polls, Democratic voters insist they don’t care much about the scandal. Yet the polls also show that many of those same voters have serious doubts about Clinton’s truthfulness and believe that she did something wrong.
This week, the Democratic frontrunner finally apologized, telling David Muir of ABC News that she was “sorry” for the dustup.
A Hollywood screenwriter couldn’t write a story this good. With every development and document dump – including the news that a special intelligence review confirmed an earlier assessment that multiple emails on the server contained classified material – it’s becoming clear that this is the grand finale to one of the great human dramas of our time.
I speak, of course, of the epic feud between the Democratic Party’s version of the Hatfields and the McCoys: the Obamas and the Clintons.
The liberal media have tried to paper over the fact that these two families don’t like each other, and that each is bent on destroying the other, by advancing the narrative that the administration’s first term represented a “team of rivals.”
To borrow a phrase that Bill Clinton once used to describe the media’s kid-gloves treatment of Obama, what a “fairy tale.”
Now it’s the Obama administration that is leaking the details about its policy for handling classified material – information that is creating legal and political problems for Hillary Clinton. Making matters worse, this material is not coming all at once, either, in which case the Clinton campaign might be able to swat it down before the voting begins. Instead, it’s drip by drip.
Of course, the Obama-Clinton rivalry was born during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton slugged it out for their party’s nomination.
Clinton surrogates accused Obama of selling drugs, studying in a “madrassa” as a boy, ascending in the polls only because he was African-American, and trying to “shuck and jive” his way to the nomination.
In January 2008, Obama jabbed back during a debate when he damned his opponent with faint praise. When the moderator asked Clinton whether she had the personal appeal to win over voters, Obama interjected: “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”
Obama lost New Hampshire to Clinton, but he won Iowa and South Carolina. It was in the Palmetto State that things got nasty again when Bill Clinton, who remains fluent in his native dialect of white Southerner, played the race card by implying that white voters wouldn’t vote for Obama. After the primary, Clinton took a parting shot by comparing the Illinois senator to Jesse Jackson, who, Clinton reminded everyone, also won in South Carolina during his 1984 and 1988 presidential bids.
And who could forget Ohio, where Hillary Clinton lashed out angrily at Obama because of campaign mailings that she claimed were “blatantly false” in stating her positions on universal health care and the North American Free Trade Agreement? “Shame on you, Barack Obama,” she scolded. Clinton won the Buckeye State.
And on it went, until the bitter end, when Obama won the party’s nomination and eventually the presidency.
After all that toxicity, we’re expected to believe that the families let bygones be bygones and, since then, everyone has gotten along splendidly.
I have another theory.
I think Hillary Clinton never got over her defeat. And once she became secretary of state, she refused to yield to Obama’s authority. So when he issued Executive Order 13526, governing the handling of classified material – which made clear that any email regarding foreign governments should automatically be treated as classified, whether or not it was marked that way – she defied it.
The president is well aware of her insubordination, and he’s probably not happy about it. Meanwhile, Clinton’s old emails will continue to be released. It’s death by a thousand bytes.
Democratic strategist James Carville has it right. When running for office, Carville advises, don’t get mad and don’t get even. Just get elected. Then get even.
Eight years ago, Barack Obama was not treated well by the Clintons. Now he may be getting even.