Politics & Policy

Proverbial Sins

(Reuters photo: Shannon Stapleton)
Mrs. Clinton and the guilt-by-association game

Hillary Rodham Clinton has a weakness for questionable, ethnically vague proverbs — “It takes a village,” from an “African” proverb, and all that piffle—and she broke out a shopworn specimen in denouncing Donald Trump, on this occasion an “old Mexican proverb” that seems to exist largely in Democratic attack rhetoric: “Tell me with whom you walk, and I’ll tell you who you are,” the idea being that Trump likes to play footsy with peckerwood-trash racists and the white-power basement-dwellers whose homepage is Breitbart.

Mrs. Clinton is correct about that, for what it’s worth (I warned you knuckleheads about this back in November of 2015), and undoing the damage that Trump has done to the Republican party and the conservative movement will take years. I once had a guy put a knife most of the way through my left hand, and I’d much rather have that happen again than sit through a Hillary Rodham Clinton speech, but you have to hand it to Herself on this one: Faced with a sad, pathetic, gormless little political wavelet animated mainly by the aesthetics of social-media trolling, Mrs. Clinton responded with her own masterly exercise in concern trolling.

That’s a Democratic tradition, of course. Ronald Reagan was Satan Himself from 1979–1999; after 2000, the line was: “Who is this madman George W. Bush, and whatever happened to good ol’ Republicans like the Gipper?” George H. W. Bush was, depending on what day you asked the Democrats, either a wimp or a bloodthirsty war criminal who had mercilessly strafed defenseless Japanese soldiers while fighting in the Pacific, and then became an insulated patrician who did not care about the common man. Now, Mrs. Clinton, who libeled the man endlessly during his active years, holds George H. W. Bush up as the epitome of the good Republican. Presumably, Dwight D. Eisenhower was compared unfavorably with Teddy Roosevelt or Chet Arthur. Abraham Lincoln alone was spared this, being the first Republican president — nobody pretended to miss the Whigs until modern libertarians developed a soft spot for them.

Still, to have a Clinton — a Clinton, for the love of all that is holy! — run a guilt-by-association campaign is something that must rankle a mentally and morally mature human being of any political affiliation. It isn’t that guilt by association is always an erroneous line of attack: Adults, especially those in the neighborhood of 70 years of age, are responsible for their associations. Guilt by association is a perfectly reasonable line of argument in many situations.

But from a Clinton?

#share#Where does one even begin with Clinton associates? Considering the report that former Breitbart boss and current Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon was accused (during divorce proceedings) of having roughed up his wife, the reliably merciless Josh Barro wrote that Trump has a habit of surrounding himself with men who mistreat women. Fair enough, but . . . remind me again to whom it is that Mrs. Clinton is married. Yes, yes, tu quoque and all that, but, for pity’s sake, there are few people in American public life who have mistreated women more mercilessly — and more consequentially — than Bill and Hillary Clinton. Inevitably, we can expect Herself to undertake sorties on that same line of attack, and we’ll be expected to forget the smear campaigns she organized against women such as Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky who were — let’s remember this part — telling the truth about Bill Clinton’s misdeeds.

Mrs. Clinton’s right hand, Huma Abedin, walks with some interesting characters, not the least of them her husband, former congressman Carlos Danger (D., Emperor’s Club VIP). She also served as associate editor of a radical Islamist journal that veered from mocking Mrs. Clinton’s own brand of for-profit corporate feminism to casual anti-Semitism. (Sneaky Jews, etc.) The journal also claimed that the United States was responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Abedin’s mother was and is the editor of the periodical.

A Clinton campaign spokesman said Mrs. Danger was only a “figurehead” at the Islamist journal. Maybe, but a great many of those neo-Nazis wearing “Make America Great Again” caps think of Trump as a mere figurehead, too, a convenient totem for their daft little movement. But even if it is true, Huma Abedin’s “figurehead” status is horrifying in its own way: If Abedin is being used to confer prestige on a radical Islamist journal, it is not because she is married to feckless fapper Anthony Weiner, but because she is the most important aide to the woman who in all likelihood will be the next president of these United States.

Show me with whom you walk . . . 

#related#Mrs. Clinton walks with some other pretty dodgy characters, longtime supporter and donor Donald Trump prominent among them. (It’s a weird year.) She sits with them, too, including all those Clinton Foundation donors and Clinton campaign supporters who got red-carpet treatment at Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, from the princes of petro-emirates to deep-pocketed entertainment moguls to sundry Democratic grandees. No doubt Los Angeles entertainment executive Casey Wasserman had some very important national-security angle he was working when he sought Secretary Clinton’s intervention on behalf of a professional footballer having trouble getting a visa — he wanted to visit Las Vegas! — because of his criminal record.

Show me with whom you play ball . . .