There once was a time — not that long ago — when Hillary Rodham Clinton was considered a shoo-in not just for her party’s presidential nomination, but for the office itself.
She was Hillary the Invincible. The 2016 Democratic presidential nomination was, to borrow that cliché, “hers to lose” — although I’ve never quite understood what phrase actually means.
Then came some nasty stuff.
The Benghazi matter doesn’t count. I do not consider the Benghazi tragedy to be a “scandal,” as some media blowhards on the right have called it.
Here’s what is more troubling in my view: the e-mail matter.
The former secretary of state revealed some months ago that she used her personal e-mail server to communicate with others about, um, State Department business. That disclosure troubled me when I heard and I troubles me even more now. Why? Because of reports that — as some have feared — messages sent out into the public domain contained classified information.
The Justice Department has now ordered Clinton to turn over her personal e-mail server to the spooks at DOJ, who’ll look over all the material that went out on it. But as the Washington Post’s Chis Cillizza notes: “It’s impossible to see this as anything but a bad thing for her presidential prospects.”
The trustworthiness issue is beginning now to dog the former first lady/U.S. senator/secretary of state. Is she for real? Is she authentic? Can she be trusted to tell us the truth all the time?
Yes, I am having doubts about all of that, right along with a lot of other Americans.
The Democratic field already has three other candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. I’m waiting to hear whether a fourth non-Clinton will jump in … that would be Vice President Joe Biden, about whom much has been written during his lengthy career in government.
He’s become the target of late-night comedians’ jokes because of his occasional gaffes. No one, though, doubts his authenticity or his motives for seeking a career in public service.
Whether he runs, though, likely might depend on how much damage gets done to Hillary Clinton’s once-seemingly invincible image.