woody zimmermann 120As the list (and seriousness) of Hillary Clinton’s scandals grow – with even the reliably liberal Mainstream Media finally roused from their slumber to discover that she is a deeply flawed candidate – Madam Hillary’s campaign as tireless champion of ordinary folks cruises placidly on, even as it takes on heavy fire. Each new blast is waved off, as these examples demonstrate”

  • Billions given to the Clinton Foundation (“The Clinton Crime Syndicate,” as some call it) – by foreign countries and business interests looking for favors from the Secretary of State? No problemo, amigo! This once-poor gal – who walked barefoot to Wellesley with a poverty scholarship in her apron pocket (it could have been true) – is “so proud” of the Foundation’s charitable work. No, really – the Foundation has performed wonders with the mere 10 or 15% of donated funds actually lavished on poor, sick people in Africa, etc. (The other 85 or 90% went for salaries, Bubba’s travel, and other “expenses.”)
  • Continued stonewalling about the unexamined trove of e-mails she deleted from her private server after her tenure at State? Relax – they were just family e-mails about yoga and Chelsea’s wedding. Nothing to see here – just move along. (Shut up! she explained.)
  • Lack of a program or a defined rationale for her presidency? Could we get serious, here?! She don’t need no steenking platform! Her presidency will be hysteric. (Sorry, we mean “historic”…) She’ll be the first woman president. And she wears pantsuits. Need she say more? (“She come too fahr from where she started. She be in no way tahred…”)

There’s much more, but you get the idea. The shtick varies little. The scandals are all just rumors or Republican hate-mongering. (“A vast right-wing conspiracy?”) She’s been misunderstood, or misquoted. She just wants “the best” for America and its downtrodden working stiffs, with whom she strongly identifies. In fact, she’s one of them. (Sob!) Yadda, yadda, yadda... (Hillary, we hardly knew ye…)

Oh yes, the foundation money. She and (her big, loveable hubby) Bill have been “much blessed” by the Foundation’s many generous donors. (Did we mention how “proud” she is of its humanitarian work?) The Clintons’ meteor-like rise from being “flat broke,” in 2001, to billionaires today is a truly amazing development. Even they can hardly believe it.

Conflicts of interest? Give me a break, here – what conflicts? She worked her patootie off (well, not entirely) as Secretary of State, and left the country safer and more secure than when that war criminal, George W. Bush, vamoosed. The Benghazi fiasco? Come on! “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Besides, do you know who you’re talkin’ to? Do you know who she is?!!!’ (OK, poor choice of words there.) But it’s all old news. You’ve got nothing – nah-thing!

Really, you’ve got to admire the chutzpah of the lady and her liege-men (and women): no humility; no apologies; no explanations; no accountability; no dealing with reality. Just complete denial that there is or has ever been any problem – anytime, anywhere – with her, or Bill or any of her vast circle of friends. Towing a load of baggage that would have sunk the Titanic without the iceberg, the HMS Hillary sails serenely on under heavy fire –unstoppable, irresistible, “inevitable.” She expects to gain her party’s nomination without serious opposition, and then sail triumphantly into her historic presidency. The road ahead is clear. She has only open field in front of her. I’m running out of metaphors here. (I don’t even know what I’m talkin’ about!)

How can this be? you might be asking. So am I. How can she be so confident of gaining the most important office in the world, following a failed Democrat predecessor, with so much baggage in her train and so little accomplishment in her resume? No Republican candidate could get anywhere near his party’s nomination with a tenth as much scandal and questionable history. How is she pulling it off?

My assessment is that Mrs. Clinton has a few “aces” up her sleeve that haven’t been seriously examined in the print- or broadcast-media. I see three possibilities, which I’ll review briefly:

  1. She can sneak sneak in the back door – a.k.a. the “Perot solution.” Bill Clinton used it twice, very successfully. It was simple and effective. The Clintonistas found, encouraged, and possibly bankrolled a credible, “fiscally conservative,” high-ego zillionaire (is that redundant) to run as a third-party candidate in the 1992 campaign. Ross Perot was a successful businessman who played his part perfectly. He campaigned effectively on a low-tax platform, saying things fiscal conservatives wanted to hear vaguely enough to make them credible. With his semi-comical appearance (“I’m all ears…”), he was a media darling. While winning no electoral votes, he ultimately drew off 19% of the popular vote that probably would have gone to President George H. W. Bush. His efforts limited Mr. Bush to only 37.5% of the popular vote, while Democrat Bill Clinton – a virtually unknown former governor of Arkansas – sneaked in with a mere 43%. Mr. Clinton won 370 electoral votes to Mr. Bush’s 168.

Although a late entry into the 1996 campaign, Mr. Perot still gained 8.4% of the popular vote; Republican Bob Dole won 40.7%; and President Clinton won 49.2%. Other minor candidates won about 2%. Mr. Clinton swept into his second term with 379 electoral votes to Mr. Dole’s 159. After these two appearances, which enabled Mr. Clinton’s improbable wins, Mr. Perot receded back into obscurity. The media showed very little curiosity about his timely participation which proved such an advantage to Mr. Clinton.

I have been waiting for a new Ross Perot to ride to the rescue of Mrs. Clinton’s flawed campaign. It would have to be a conservative figure – preferably with a dramatically attractive message and personality – who would think himself so important to the country that he might consider running as a third-party candidate if he is not accepted as the GOP nominee. This past week that dynamic figure appeared in the person of Donald Trump – a.k.a. “The Donald.” Some Republicans will like him because his bold message resonates with their concerns for the country and for their personal situations. He’ll raise hell all over the place, and have fun doing it. The media will love him because he is such good copy. He probably won’t win the GOP nomination, but he’ll make the race exciting. Will he consider running on a Freedom Party ticket, or some such? Who knows? He has a giant ego and scads of dough, so he might go 3rd-party for the right inducement. He could be Hillary’s 5 o’clock surprise – the “miracle” she needs to gain the Oval Office.

  1. She can steal it – the election, that is. Mrs. Clinton is already working toward that end by fighting against voter-ID laws in key states, claiming that they are attempts by racist Republicans to disenfranchise minority voters. Despite their hysterical claims on that score, Democrats have presented no supporting evidence. Nevertheless, they are shouting the accusation from the housetops, with Big Media lending a willing hand.

Meanwhile, fraud has been reported in precincts controlled entirely by Democrats. Electronic voting is especially susceptible to fraud, since an e-voter often cannot ensure that his votes have been counted exactly as he cast them. Ten years ago I predicted in this column that widespread fraud would drive some locales back to paper ballots. This is now occurring, but it will take a concerted national effort to eliminate election fraud – particularly with a Democrat administration in power that seems determined to let fraud continue, as long as it seems to benefit Democrats. Hillary Clinton need not be directly involved in any voter-fraud in order to benefit from her party’s efforts in that vein. My estimate is that she is counting on it to push her over the top in key precincts and states.

  1. She can mount her own third-party candidacy. In 2008, Mrs. Clinton’s “inevitable” candidacy was stopped just short of the goal-line by a glib, charismatic, virtually unknown senator of mixed race (wearing impeccably-tailored Amani suits), who stole the ball from her at the 5-yard line and romped into the Oval Office. Hillary Clinton played the “good soldier” and stood aside – not altogether gracefully – to let the interloper take the place she thought she deserved (and was entitled to).

But that was then, and this is now. Hillary won’t repeat the good soldier act this time. In November 2016, she’ll be 69. (Only the tall, athletic, almost ageless Ronald Reagan was older – by just eight months.) She knows this is her last chance at the brass ring. By 2020 she’ll be 73, and no amount of Botox, facelifts, nips, tucks, foundation garments, or pantsuit-tailoring will be able to make her look like anything other than a (very) “tahred,” old, faux-blond woman whose use-by date is long past. It’s her last hurrah.

If her party stiffs her this time, I believe she’ll kick over the game-table and make her own third-party try. She hasn’t said so in public, but I don’t doubt that in the smoke-filled rooms she has said she will do it if she has to. It would mean her ship will go down, taking the whole party with it. Speaking of slavery, Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Like a firebell in the night, it awoke me and filled me with terror.” The prospect of a Hillary 3rd-party run must do the same to Democrat leaders. It would be their worst nightmare.

In the final analysis, Hillary Clinton is a genuine “triple threat:”

  • By winning the presidency, she would represent a threat to the entire country because of her dishonest, naïve, and pusillanimous attitude toward security issues that is grounded in wishful thinking (not to mention self-interest), not hard reality;
  • By winning the Democrat primary she would threaten her party’s chance to win the 2016 election, as voters will see her as “untrustworthy;”
  • Running as a third-party candidate, she would doom her own party’s nominee by splitting the Democrat-vote, thus giving Republicans the win.

This will be a historic election, all right – although probably not in the way Mrs. Clinton expected it to be. Voters of every political stripe need to be sober and vigilant. As the Good Book says –

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)