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When The Old Becomes New Again

Are all of Hillary's negatives really already "all out there", as Lanny Davis spins? Rich Lowry thinks not:

The problem with this (and I'm more sympathetic to Hillary than Obama at this point) is that Hillary's negatives aren't "all out there." She's perfectly capable of creating new, damaging ones, as she did with the Bosnia story. Plus, Bill is always a wild card, in terms of what he's going to say, what is going to be revealed about his business dealings, etc.

It actually goes beyond that. We don't have to speculate on new revelations for Hillary to have big problems if she somehow snatches the nomination from Obama.

Throughout the nineties, the classic Clinton tactical response to discussion about their corruption or criminality was to say "that's old news." And it often, even usually, worked, given the degree to which the press was in the tank for them. And that will surely be their response if anyone brings up Cattlegate, the White House travel office, the missing billing records, the FBI files, "who hired Craig Livingstone," Whitewater in general, etc. And we can be assured that these things (and particularly their abuse of women) will come up, because the Slick Grope Vets for Truth have pledged to make them come up if she gets the nomination. I assume that they've been keeping their powder dry during the nomination process, both because they want any revelations they have to have maximum impact in the fall, when people are paying attention, and because they wouldn't have much effect on Democrat voters.

But if she does get the nomination, and Gennifer, Kathleen et al do make an issue of their treatment at the hands of both Bill and Hill, as I've written before, I don't think the "it's old news" gambit will fly, partly because it's become too old:

One of the tactics that the Clintons used to use to deflect bad news was to leak something on a Friday afternoon, and hope that it would die down after the weekend. Then if anyone brought it up, they'd dismiss it as "that's old news."

Given how ignorant much of the public remains of all the Clinton scandals that they successfully buried in the nineties, I wonder if this "old news" tactic will continue to work if things like Travelgate are brought up as issues in a 2008 campaign. I've already noted that Hillary will have her own "Slick Grope Vets" problem if she runs.

...It occurs to me that the "that's old news" defense may not work, particularly with the "Slick Grope Vets For Truth," at least based on the Kerry experience. After all, what could be older news than his congressional testimony after Vietnam? Yet it did become a potent campaign issue.

Many of today's young voters have no memory of the Clinton scandals. An eighteen-year old was only eight years old during the Lewinsky saga, and a toddler during the early scandals and Whitewater. Even today's twenty-somethings weren't paying that much attention at the time, and even if they were, they always got the Clinton spin in the MSM, not the vast amount of information available via the Internet and talk radio (and to a lesser degree, Fox News). So for them, it won't be old news, or at least, it will be a revelation of history, of which they were previously unaware.

And this time, with the blogosphere, the MSM won't be able to help her spin her way out as it did in the nineties. No, I don't think that Hillary's negatives are "all out there." We can expect a massive replay, and reminder, if she gets the nomination, and to a lot of people, the "old news" will become new news, or more simply, news.


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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on April 24, 2008 6:49 AM.

Are We Real? was the previous entry in this blog.

Uncomfortable Bedfellows is the next entry in this blog.

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