Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rhymes with "itch"

Although it would have been more noteworthy if John McCain were polling better than single digits, the contretemps surrounding the Senator's answering a question posed by a woman who referred to Hillary Clinton as a bitch, as in "How do we beat the bitch?" made a bit of news last week. (It even made the rounds at the home of $500 haircuts and $0.50 heads, The View.)

Perhaps the operative question is not what Sen. McCain should have done vis-a-vis the campaign rally attendee, but rather whether the woman at last Monday's event offered a description that is at all accurate. To be sure, Hillary Clinton can be personable for limited periods of time, particularly in the types of highly controlled settings that she prefers. But it is also true that she has demonstrated a penchant for secrecy, a maniacal desire for power and a mean streak as wide as a Texas highway.

To the end of securing her party's nomination, she has surrounded herself with a crew of political animals whose sole purpose in life seems to be to draw blood. It is Hillary who has either overseen or failed to prevent the establishment of at least two websites intended to sow misinformation about her rivals. (One of them,, is premised entirely on sowing rumor and innuendo about her chief rivals - John Edwards and Barack Obama - even though polling results displayed at the site itself shows Clinton ahead of both by 20 to 30 point margins.)

And in recent days, her campaign has admitted to enough shenanigans to give both Haldeman and Ehrlichman pangs of envy. Beyond the question-planting scandal (as discussed elsewhere), Ms. Clinton's operation (by way of Media Matters) has also been legitimately accused of going on offense against NBC's Tim Russert after last month's Democratic debate, as well as issuing a warning to CNN's Wolf Blitzer not to "gang up on Hillary in Vegas." (H/T: Drudge Report.)

To be sure, there was apparently some sort of co-opting of CNN prior to the most recent debate, to the effect that a UNLV student was not allowed to ask Hillary Clinton a question about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Instead, Clinton was queried about her preference for "diamonds or pearls." (In fact, CNN eventually confirmed that the network chose that question.) Add to all of this the pat on the head that CNN received from a senior Clinton staffer after the debate. (H/T x 2: Drudge Report.)

CNN debate moderator Wolf Blitzer did an ''outstanding'' job in Vegas, a senior adviser to the Hillary campaign said early Friday. ''He was outstanding, and did not gang up like Russert did in Philadelphia. He avoided the personal attacks, remained professional and ran the best debate so far. Voters were the big winners last night.''
Now the Washington rumor mill has it that Hillary Clinton has "scandalous information" about fellow Senator Barack Obama, "but has decided not to use it" (although the Clinton campaign has denied the rumor all weekend.)

And there's more. And surely there will be more. But to continue to make my case would be gratuitous. As much is the central point distinguishing Ms. Clinton's run at the presidency from others past and present. Doubtless, prior presidential outings have had their share of dirty tricks; the famous aphorism is "politics ain't beanbag." But that a candidate can out-poll, outspend and out-campaign her benighted opponents and still feel the compulsion to resort to the aforementioned sorts of sleazy tactics is inexplicable; such behavior is unwarranted, unprovoked and indefensible.

But it is not entirely unprecedented. Indeed, it has an exemplar in the recent past. With that, perhaps this post was misnamed. It might make more sense if it were titled "Rhymes with Nixon."

Update: Mauricio Celis, a political donor to Sen. Clinton's presidential campaign was indicted on charges of impersonating an attorney and a police officer. After turning himself in on November 19, 2007, Celis was released on a $50,000 bail. Celis could face up to 32 years in prison. (H/T:

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