Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Phony Penchant for Secrecy Meme

Washington insider Karen Tumulty wrote a long piece about Hillary and the 'Vast Right Wing Conspiracy' she first invoked back in 1998. 

At the time the media could not have been more scornful. There's no Right wing conspiracy! You Clintons just make excuses for your own desire for secrecy. 

Now, 18 years later, Tumulty's piece is actually in some way admitting there is a Right wing conspiracy to destroy the Clintons. That's been obvious for years but finally Beltway insiders are considering that possibility. 

I mean you have Citizen's United, Judicial Watch, you have Trump's new 'deputy campaign manager' David Bossie who was already Clinton hunting before Bill Clinton was even nominated back in 1992. 

Rachel Maddow reveals how Bossie was part of a fake story where a couple's daughter who commit suicide was driven to this act by dating Bill Clinton in his law class. 

So the Vince Foster conspiracy was part of a larger meme of the Right wing conspiracy. 

David Brock chronicles in great detail the operation. 

Tumulty is sort of granting this, but she still holds onto the idea that even if there is a Right wing conspiracy, the Clintons still sort of bring it on themselves. You see, when false accusations are made, they aren't eager and transparent enough in responding to-false accusations. 

Whitewater was a totally phony scandal about a land deal that went bad during the late 70s. You still have to shake your head that a special prosecutor was appointed in 1994 about a land deal the Clintons lost money in 15 years before Bill was President. Imagine if these rules were applied to Donald Trump?

But then, that's the Clinton Rules. 


"The epic battles between the Clintons and their tormentors on the right have shaped American politics for nearly a quarter century."

"But there was a moment early on when the toxic course of that history might have been changed, had it not been for Hillary Clinton’s impulses toward secrecy."

"It came one weekend near the end of Bill Clinton’s first year as president, and pitted the first lady against her husband’s advisers."

“If a genie offered me the chance to turn back time and undo a single decision from my White House tenure, I’d head straight to the Oval Office dining room on Saturday morning, December 11, 1993,” ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, then a top aide to the president, wrote in his memoir “All Too Human.”

"There was an urgent meeting that day to discuss a request by The Washington Post for documents relating to the Whitewater Development Corp., a failed Arkansas real estate investment the Clintons had made."

Tumulty is arguing that if only Hillary had not fought the Washington Post here, everything would have been fine. Sure. Just like apologizing for using private email has ended that story. Or agreeing to major changes in the Clinton Foundation if she is President has killed that story.

As for Stephanopoulos, he has a bad case of the Stockholm Syndrome. After he left the Clinton White House to join the Beltway elite, he had to prove himself by engaging in his own Clinton bashing. The GOP was not wrong for fomenting phony scandals.

The media was not wrong for credulously repeating them. Speaking of the media's credulity for GOP scandal mongering, Think Progress' Ian Millhiser:

Judicial Watch emailed me this non-scandal. I did not report it b/c, unlike the NYT, I do not reprint press releases."

Media Matters Eric Boehlert:

"whatever half-assed claims GOP comes up with, press rushes it into print. it gets debunked. press does same thing 28 more times."

"at NO POINT does anyone in press turn around say, 'the real story is that GOP just keeps making bullshit, hollow allegations'

True. After 28 years the story is still: if Hillary only was more transparent about fake stories about her, we wouldn't be here.

“She has built a protective shield around herself,” Gergen said. “Her first response is, when people come after me, I’m going to have my guard up and be suspicious of what their motives are.”

When someone tells awful lies about you, why would you possibly be suspicious of your motives? If someone wrongly calls you a child molester in public, the correct response is to prove the negative in public and reveal whatever they want revealed.

If you don't do that you have a 'Penchant for secrecy.'

It's also hard to argue that Hillary had been right about a special prosecutor: they should not have caved to that request.

"In a conference call on Jan. 11, 1994, exactly one month after the meeting where Stephanopoulos and Gergen had been overruled, the president’s aides convinced the Clintons that they should request an independent investigation to quell the growing media furor."

“We will never know if Congress would eventually have forced an independent counsel on us. And we will never know whether releasing an inevitably incomplete set of personal documents to The Washington Post would have averted a special prosecutor,” she wrote. “With the wisdom of hindsight, I wish I had fought harder.”

The real problem, Clinton argued, was that “we were being swept up in what legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin later described as the politicization of the criminal justice system and the criminalization of the political system.”

Clearly complying with a request for a special prosecutor in no way led to fairer treatment or less of a fishing expedition by Ken Starr.

Basically after 25 years the best a Beltway pundit can come up with is: Hillary is the victim of lots of fake scandals because she doesn't respond to them appropriately.
The Clinton Rules amounts to high tech victim blaming. Full stop. 

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