MSM mainstays cut Clinton no slack over her email account

If the mainstream media were applying the sort of scrutiny to Hillary Clinton as it has applied to Republican presidential candidates, we would by now have seen articles in the New York Times and the Washington Post about Whitewater, Travelgate, and the 1993 health care reform debacle. We would also have been treated to disparaging stories about Clinton dating back to her days as a Goldwater Girl.

But the MSM’s fondness for double standards has its limits. One of them is an institutional intolerance for government secrecy.

Thus, the New York Times was quite harsh in its article reporting that Hillary Clinton never used an official government email address during her time as secretary of state and likely violated government regulations regarding retention of her business related emails. Times reporter Michael Schmidt did not confine himself to stating these facts. Rather, he went on to opine that these facts “echo[] longstanding criticisms directed at both the former secretary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, for a lack of transparency and inclination toward secrecy.” He also noted that, unlike Hillary, “Jeb Bush, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, released a trove of emails in December from his eight years as governor of Florida.”

Now Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post has piled on. He presents five ways in which the Clinton email story “reminds and reinforces for people many of the traits that they do not like in the Clintons while also suggesting a level of hubris that is very dangerous for someone who is the biggest non-incumbent frontrunner for a presidential nomination in modern political history.”

The five reminders are:

1. The Clinton’s don’t think the rules apply to them.

2. They are surrounded by enablers, in this instance aides who apparently never warned Clinton to at least occasionally go through the motions of using a government email account.

3. They’re always hiding something.

4. They only think about politics.

5. They never own up to anything.

That about sums it up.

Is there more to the MSM’s treatment of this story than good old-fashioned reporting coupled with unhappiness about secrecy? Possibly. Perhaps certain reporters consider Clinton insufficiency left-wing. Or maybe they simply would like to cover a decent horse race on the Democratic side.

If so, Clinton will not get a free pass from the MSM, at least not unless and until she has the nomination locked up. By then, it will be difficult to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Another Reason Why Hillary Can’t Win

Steve noted earlier tonight a little-noticed exchange with an ABC reporter who was assigned to follow Hillary Clinton, which suggested one reason why Hillary’s 2016 campaign may be doomed. Here is another one: her relationship with Bill–the only reason anyone has heard of her in the first place–can’t withstand the light of day.

The email controversy that came came to light today is a problem for Hillary, for obvious reasons. But here is something that I don’t think anyone has pointed out: Hillary’s private email address was hdr22@clintonemail.com:

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There was no universal protocol for clintonemail.com addresses. Thus, for example, Anthony Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin used Huma@clintonemail.com. So Hillary’s choice of an email address was personal. And it is rather striking: her initials are HRC, for Hillary Rodham Clinton, right? So what does HDR stand for? Hillary’s middle name is Diane:

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So HDR stands for Hillary Diane Rodham. At the moment when she had been nominated as Secretary of State, Hillary chose to declare her independence from Bill Clinton, her ticket to the big time, by dropping his name from the email address that she used for four years as a cabinet officer.

Would that in itself disqualify Hillary from the presidency? Of course not. But it illuminates a larger problem that will be an enormous obstacle to Hillary’s 2016 run. It is common knowledge that she and Bill have lived separate lives for quite a few years. They are united only by political ambition–and, to be fair, a shared history, in service of that ambition, that goes back a long way. I am currently reading Augustus, by John Williams, and it occurs to me that Bill and Hillary would have been very much at home in ancient Rome. With contemporary America, they are badly out of step.

It’s not just the sham marriage. Bill has never been able to keep his various appetites under control, and since he left the White House, he has been a disaster waiting to happen. Let’s sum it up with this observation: anyone who wants to be active in public life must avoid situations that could give rise to newspaper headlines that combine his name with the words “underage sex slave.” That isn’t a high bar. Mitt Romney never had to worry about it, nor did Barack Obama. But Bill Clinton has suffered precisely that indignity, and there is much, much more to come between now and November 2016.

It is no wonder that Hillary wanted to declare independence from Bill by designating herself as Hillary Diane Rodham in her official State Department correspondence. (Of course, she was too much the political animal to separate herself from Bill publicly.) But that choice opens the door on many uncomfortable questions; questions that, I believe, will sink Hillary’s 2016 candidacy.

UPDATE: One thing I can’t figure out is, what is the significance of the 22 in hdr’s email address? The numbers have no obvious significance; not to me, anyway. Any ideas?

What Color Is the Dress? What Dress?

If you don’t know what The Dress is, it means, among other things, that you don’t have teenage daughters. But even the daughterless are generally aware of the dress that took Twitter, and most of the rest of the internet, by storm a few evenings ago. Only Michael Ramirez would think to connect The Dress with President Obama’s myopia (or collaboration, whichever it is) on Iran. Click to enlarge:

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Why Hillary Won’t Make It

Time out briefly from the Obama Debacle to contemplate the Hillary 2016 debacle-in-waiting. Jennifer Rubin has a nice rundown of all of the new difficulties Hillary mas made for herself lately with all of the usual foibles we associate with the adjective “Clintonian” but without any of the Big Dog’s roguish charm.

This includes her use of a personal email account at the State Department in what looks like an attempt to get around ethical and legal rules, and raking in millions in foreign donations.

But these are not the land mines that are going to do her in. Did you happen to catch this bit last week from a Q & A with Amy Chozick, the ABC News correspondent assigned to cover Hillary:

Covering Clinton, what is one thing that has surprised you about her? 

Amy Chozick: Hmm. She likes to drink. We were on the campaign trail in 2008 and the press thought she was just taking shots to pander to voters in Pennsylvania. Um, no.

Hmm, indeed.  These rumors have been around for quite a while.  Now it’s out, ever so slightly, in a MSM source.  Will any MSM reporter have the guts to ask her about this on the campaign trail, or during a televised debate?

The Democrats Respond to Netanyahu’s Speech [Updated]

This afternoon, Democrats in politics and the media promptly swung into action to try to discredit Benjamin Netanyahu’s powerful indictment of the administration’s policies toward Iran. Nancy Pelosi bordered on the hysterical. Here, Chris Matthews accuses Netanyahu of being a “man from a foreign government” who “tried to take over U.S. foreign policy.” Seems like we’ve heard that somewhere before; Mearsheimer and Walt, call your office:

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour says it was “Strangelovian,” a “very dark speech” with “nothing new.”

Congressman John Yarmuth thought it was a “very impressive bit of political theater.” He “resented the condescending tone” of Netanyahu’s speech, and says it was “straight out of the Dick Cheney playbook, fearmongering at its ultimate.”

Dianne Feinstein thought the speech “weak” because it “didn’t come up with any solutions.”

Congressman Lloyd Dogged called the speech a “desperate attempt to get re-elected” and a “pep rally.”

Congressman Luis Gutierrez skipped the speech because he “didn’t want to be part of a political prop.” Which didn’t prevent him from commenting on Republicans’ positive reaction to it:

I get why my Republican friends stand up. They stand up for anybody that criticizes Barack Obama. Barack Obama says yes, they say no.

Most significant, of course, was President Obama’s reaction. He offered a rebuttal, based on reading a transcript of Netanyahu’s speech. Obama said there was “nothing new” in the speech, which is more or less true. Netanyahu has been talking about the threat posed by Iran for a long time, and he has been consistent. This, though, isn’t true:

On the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would make it far more dangerous and give it scope for even greater action in the region, the prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives.

On the contrary: Netanyahu argued that the United States and its allies are in a stronger bargaining position than Iran, and that sanctions should be kept in place until Iran stops its aggression against other Middle Eastern countries, stops supporting terrorism, and stops threatening to annihilate Israel. Further, he pointed out that the proposed agreement, as publicly reported, “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.” It allows Iran to maintain its vast nuclear infrastructure, continue to enrich uranium, continue to buy or build centrifuges, and continue its ICBM development program. Moreover, in ten years the deal ceases altogether, and Iran would be free to use its enriched uranium and its centrifuges to build nuclear weapons.

Therefore, it would be better to keep sanctions in place, or strengthen them, and make no deal at all. Or, alternatively, to hold out for a better deal, which credibly requires dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, bars it from enriching uranium, and doesn’t come with an expiration date. These are obvious alternatives to the administration’s reckless course, but Obama doesn’t want to debate them. He simply wants to deny that they exist. If Iran is obstinate, Obama implies, there is no alternative to capitulation. When you strip away the hysteria, the insults and the obfuscation, that is what the Democrats are telling us today.

UPDATE: Here is one more, David Axelrod on Twitter. Same script:

FURTHER UPDATE: Mitt Romney responds to the White House’s denigration of Netanyahu’s speech:

Via Twitchy.

Pelosi: Netanyahu “Insults Our Intelligence”

I thought this had to be a hoax, but no—here’s Nancy Pelosi’s entire statement; you need to read it, not to believe it:

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement regarding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the Joint Meeting of Congress:

“The unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel are rooted in our shared values, our common ideals and mutual interests.  Ours is a deep and abiding friendship that will always reach beyond party. Americans stand shoulder to shoulder with the Israeli people.  The state of Israel stands as the greatest political achievement of the 20th century, and the United States will always have an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security.

“That is why, as one who values the U.S. – Israel relationship, and loves Israel, I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.

“Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated something we all agree upon: a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable to both our countries.  We have all said that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons is the bedrock of our foreign policy and national security.  As President Obama has said consistently, all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.”  [Emphasis added.]

I guess we need to just ratify whatever Iran treaty Obama comes up with to find out what’s in it.

Observations on Netanyahu’s Reception by Congress

I will leave it to my partners to analyze the content of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to Congress this morning as it relates it Iran. Instead, I want to make some observations about the reception that he received from the joint session of Congress.

To say that Netanyahu’s welcome was warm would be an understatement: it was rapturous. President Obama has never gotten such an enthusiastic reception for a State of the Union speech before the same audience. And the enthusiasm was bipartisan: Democrats were on their feet cheering, just like Republicans. True, some Democrats stayed away, generally those who either have safe seats or will not soon face the voters. Their absence reflects the fact that there are, indeed, partisan differences between Democrats and Republicans on the Middle East and Israel. One suspects that more Democrats would have liked to stay away. But those partisan differences were not on display this morning.

Why is that significant? American support for Israel has always been bipartisan, a fact that Netanyahu emphasized. Enemies of Israel insinuate that Congress’s consistent support for that country is a function of lobbying by AIPAC, or of campaign contributions by American Jews. But that is myopic at best. Congress supports Israel because the American people support Israel. The polls have shown this for decades. It isn’t a matter of political clout; as we have noted before, some of the states where Israel is most popular have almost no Jewish population. Americans support Israel out of ideological conviction, as well as religious affinity in the case of many Christians and Jews.

That broad support by the American people was manifested in the reception that Congress gave the Prime Minister this morning. Whatever partisan winds may be blowing at the moment, Senators and Congressmen know what their constituents think. Upon reflection, I suspect that this may be why the Obama administration so strongly objected to Netanyahu’s addressing Congress (which, as he pointed out, he had already done on a couple of occasions). Netanyahu has been arguing against allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and ICBMs for quite a while now. Perhaps the administration didn’t fear his making the arguments one more time, as much as it feared what we saw before the speech even began: a stark demonstration of where the American people stand in the conflict between Iran’s mullahs and, not just Israel, but Western civilization.