My ongoing effort to understand why the Clintons are able to stomp-on, skirt or just plain ignore unwritten rules (or even laws) governing political behavior led me to ask some questions (via email) of a longtime Washington, D.C., power-broker/lobbyist/Democratic Party fundraiser I had recently met at a social gathering.
Given that he knows the Clintons and is well-versed in the ways of Washington, I was curious to gain his perspective. Also, in my attempt to encourage brutally honest answers, I promised not to reveal his name (one that would be very familiar to those who shuttle between K Street and Capitol Hill.)
Here are the questions I posed:
Why, with all their shenanigans, are the Clintons tolerated and embraced by the Democratic Party?
Are Democrat leaders, in general, afraid of going up against the Clinton Machine?
Do Democrats believe voters are willing to overlook their questionable ethics, activities and statements like Bill Clinton saying about the foundation: “I just work there” and “I gotta pay our bills”?
Do Democrats actually believe that the Clintons are good for the future of America?
Do Democrats think that voters will just hold their noses and vote for the Clintons because they fear a Republican in the White House even more?
Are Democrats so desperate to win the White House that they look the other way when the Clintons do and say things that would not be tolerated, even by members of your own party?
My email questions ended on this note: “I am just trying to get to the heart of why the Clintons have obtained so much power.”
Considering the nature of my questions (even with a promise of anonymity) I fully expected my email to be ignored – and it was for 10 days – until my new acquaintance called.
As a result of the five-minute conversation that followed, I now understand the mindset of Washington’s Democratic power-brokers and why they are embracing the second coming of Bill and Hillary, no matter what scandals unfold (ironically confirming the sarcastic premise behind my recent Clinton scandal piece).
What follows is the gist of our conversation, with a few direct quotes, along with some paraphrasing and answers to questions I had raised in my email.
The most stunning takeaway was that if Hillary wins the White House there would be a “co-presidency.” (Again?) Even more surprising was that this Democratic insider used the phrase like it was no big deal – already known, baked into the cake and accepted as gospel among his fellow power-brokers (which left me wondering if Americans are also assuming a Clinton co-presidency).
Then, there was his response to the overarching question of why the Clinton scandals are tolerated: “It does not affect public policy.” Followed by, “The Clintons are pro-business – they will grow the economy,” and “They are good for the future of America.” (Notice the “they,” always “they.”)
Now get ready for some justifications: “So what if they made a little money?” – “That’s small time compared to the benefits of the Clinton Foundation.” – “They have helped so many people.” – “The Clintons are loved by world leaders.”
And what about the Clinton machine? “They have a network of supporters; they are good at making friends and helping people.” – “So much power.” – “So many friends.”
(He alluded to the fact that the Clintons’ way of doing business was and would be vastly different from the current White House occupant who doesn’t understand how things get done in Washington.)
My caller also believes that the 2016 election is Hillary’s to lose, but it will be a “close and tough race.”
There was no surprise when he mentioned that Republicans winning the White House “is a frightening thought.” Democrats are “scared of the GOP” having total control over the executive branch and both chambers of Congress, saying, “You are all in the bubble of Fox News and read the same stuff.”
Then I laughed when he mentioned how charming Hillary and Bill are personally and how much I would like them, saying, “If you met them you would want to write a check to the Foundation.”
Finally, here is my Republican takeaway from this one-person focus group with his opinions and knowledge honed from decades atop the Democratic power-brokering pyramid.
The reason why current Clinton scandals are overlooked, downplayed and tolerated by high-powered Democrats is because they must be in order to lift the Clintons back up to where they belong – at the seat of power. Then Bill and Hillary can lead their army of friends to wage and win Washington battles, resulting in polices that will “grow the economy” and are “good for America’s future.”
Central to this vision is a big, fat, cozy, warm welcome mat for Democratic lobbyists who the Clintons would utilize to push through their agenda – lobbyists like my caller, whose job it is to connect all the dots between the White House, Capitol Hill and K Street – while providing the fuel (i.e., campaign cash) that keep Washington’s engines humming.
Therefore, if you are a Democratic power-broker, what’s not to like about an impending Clinton “co-presidency”? From your perspective it sure beats the heck out of who’s sitting in the Oval Office now or, God forbid, a Republican president.
Thus, the 2016 playbook is obvious for loyal Clinton insiders and their media allies; they must justify, tolerate or dismiss all Clinton scandals, no matter how egregious, by blaming Republican overreach and attacking Fox News. This simple strategy clears the way for the Clintons to regain the White House so the never-ending banquet can begin. Party like its 1999, folks! (Because that might be the future according to the latest 2016 general election match-up poll averages from Real Clear Politics.)
Meanwhile, the rest of the nation can expect to get indigestion from this banquet of grease and sleaze, and a huge tab for dessert.