The bad moon ris­ing over Hil­lary

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - BY WES­LEY PRU­DEN

Hil­lary Clin­ton won’t be able to say she didn’t see the bad moon ris­ing. Don­ald Trump gave her a blis­ter­ing in­tro­duc­tion this week to Pres­i­den­tial Pol­i­tics 102, which dif­fers in a re­mark­able way from Pol­i­tics 101, which she en­coun­tered in her first at­tempt in 2008 and be­fore that as the man­ag­ing part­ner in Bubba’s two cam­paigns.

What­ever she learned from Bubba didn’t take. He was a master at cov­er­ing his tracks and play­ing the rube when forced to, with a Huck Finn grin and coun­try charm: “Aw, whatcha gonna do with a good ol’ boy like me?” He got away with mur­der, and the goobers in the cheap seats loved him for it.

But Hil­lary is a dif­fer­ent kind of Clin­ton. Bubba was in fact an ac­tual good ol’ boy, a prod­uct of the un­likely Hot Springs casino cul­ture that thrived among the hard­shell Bap­tists and tee­to­tal­ing Methodists, presided over by a mayor who pa­raded down the main street of the town he owned be­hind a brace of black and white horses he called Scotch and Soda. Bubba could get by with any­thing if he was re­spect­ful of the code he didn’t have to obey.

Hil­lary spent a term in Arkansas, which she de­spised and fi­nally did ev­ery­one the fa­vor of leav­ing. She was the Yan­kee lady only af­ter the money. Bubba didn’t have any­thing against the money but all he re­ally wanted were women — tall ones, short ones, blonde and brunette pas­tries oc­ca­sion­ally washed down by a tall cho­co­late soda. And of course a po­lit­i­cal cam­paign, which Bubba played with the ob­ses­sion that some men ap­ply to golf or the horses.

Like the cor­rect fem­i­nist that she is, Hil­lary spurns gal­lantry and the man­ners wrought by the gen­tle breed­ing prized by South­ern­ers (some­times hon­ored only in the breech), but she ex­pects the def­er­ence and the courtesy alien to her none­the­less. Don­ald Trump ob­vi­ously un­der­stands this and is de­ter­mined to give her the rough and rib­ald ride she is not pre­pared for.

In a “ma­jor ad­dress” this week he gave her the preview of the wrath to come, call­ing her “a world-class liar” who col­lected cash by the tub full when she was the sec­re­tary of State pre­tend­ing to look out for the na­tion’s in­ter­ests. “She gets rich,” he said, “by mak­ing you poor.”

He called her “the most cor­rupt per­son ever to run for pres­i­dent,” rec­og­nized as ex­ag­ger­a­tion and em­broi­dery by any­one with a pass­ing ac­quain­tance with rude and rowdy fron­tier pol­i­tics, but it had the ring of truth to any­one who has been read­ing the news­pa­pers or watch­ing ca­ble tele­vi­sion over the past two or three decades. The Clin­tons them­selves wrote the book on Clin­ton cor­rup­tion.

The po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dents still don’t un­der­stand the pol­i­tics of 2016, and con­tinue to con­cen­trate on the trivia of con­ven­tional pol­i­tics that no longer ap­ply, how the Don­ald has in­vested too lit­tle in in­fras­truc­ture, how he strug­gles to man­age the tran­si­tion to the gen­eral elec­tion, how he’s un­able to cal­i­brate an un­even or­ga­ni­za­tion. All true, more or less, but the con­ven­tional pales be­fore the un­ortho­dox can­di­date with the gift for the mem­o­rable phrase or la­bel that sticks to an op­po­nent like some­thing plas­tered on Vel­cro with Go­rilla Glue.

“Hil­lary Clin­ton per­fected the pol­i­tics of per­sonal profit and even theft,” the Don­ald told a rally this week in New York. The num­bers of the au­di­ence were not worth count­ing, but the num­ber of re­porters with pad and pen­cil and the num­ber of tele­vi­sion cam­eras was of a suf­fi­cient plenty. “She ran the State Depart­ment like her per­sonal hedge fund,” he told them, “do­ing fa­vors for op­pres­sive regimes and many oth­ers for cash, pure and sim­ple.” Not very pure, ac­tu­ally, but sim­ple enough.

The Clin­ton scan­dals, none for­get­table and all mem­o­rable, are the gift that keeps on giv­ing. One that bub­bled to the sur­face again this week was the tale of one Ra­jiv Fer­nando, who traded mil­lions to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion, the fam­ily sponge, for an ap­point­ment to the In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­vi­sory Board. Mr. Fer­nando was owner of some­thing called Chop­per Trad­ing, hardly a qual­i­fi­ca­tion to mea­sure and ad­vise the sec­re­tary of State on nu­clear weapons and na­tional se­cu­rity, even with his ac­cess to na­tional se­crets. He served only briefly, un­til ques­tions were asked, with nu­clear sci­en­tists, for­mer sen­a­tors, Cabi­net of­fi­cers and pres­i­den­tial se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers.

This cash-for-ac­cess trade smelled so rank that even Hil­lary’s top aides could fi­nally not abide the stench. Asked Philippe Reines, an as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of State: “Couldn’t he have landed a spot on the Pres­i­dent’s Phys­i­cal Fit­ness Coun­cil?”

Hil­lary’s the author­ity on how to sell the White House. She prac­ticed by ped­dling the Lin­coln bed­room to cam­paign donors when she was the first lady. Now she’s af­ter a big­ger in­ven­tory, and the Don­ald has her num­ber. Wes­ley Pru­den is edi­tor in chief emer­i­tus of The Washington Times.

Hil­lary Clin­ton

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