Former Clinton administration operative Paul Begala doesn’t think so. He writes: “Politics [is] about the future, not the past; about voters’ lives, not politicians’. Thus the personal attacks on Clintons will fail.”
Begala is probably right, but his analysis seems to apply only to Democratic politicians. The Washington Post thought that a few instances of alleged high-school bullying by Mitt Romney were relevant to his presidential bid, and Team Obama had a field day with Romney’s old business ventures.
And what about Richard Nixon, of whom Hillary Clinton reminds me? Stories about his ruthless attacks on left-wing opponents during his early political campaigns were still being used against him more than 20 years later.
In addition, the Hillary Papers aren’t solely about the distant past and aren’t entirely irrelevant to voters’ lives. The portions dealing with health care show that in 2008 she falsely told the New York Times she had never seriously considered supporting a single payer system. And the Obamacare-style reform she supported that year has had a huge impact on peoples’ lives.
Again, Begala is probably right that Hillary will get a pass on all of this, if for no other reason than that the mainstream media won’t talk about it. But one never knows. If Hillary runs, Republicans shouldn’t forbear from attacking her ruthless and often misguided conduct while she was First Lady or her arguably criminal conduct in connection with Whitewater.
Republicans should, however, forbear from attacking her over Bill Clinton’s personal indiscretions. And their focus should, of course, be on her current leftism (which may become more pronounced during the presidential primary season) and her terrible record as Secretary of State.