Friday, September 14, 2007

Scandal Focus Shifts Back Hsu Hillary

Bet you thought I wasn't going to try to wring one more pun from that turnip, didncha?

Well, it was always possible. After all, I was remiss the other day in failing to mention that Mrs. Clinton decided to return the entirety of her Hsudle after all - and did so with what was, for her, astonishingly indiscrete candor:

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign announced tonight that it would return approximately $850,000 to about 260 donors who had been recruited or tapped by Norman Hsu, the disgraced Clinton campaign fundraiser who recently fled arrest and is now under investigation for his fundraising practices.

The Clinton campaign also disclosed tonight that it had decided to begin running criminal background checks on its bundlers — the dozens of individuals who raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from donors on behalf of a candidate, as Mr. Hsu had done for Mrs. Clinton. A Clinton adviser said that “vigorous additional vetting” of the bundlers, including the criminal checks, would begin this week, and that the campaign was hiring additional staff for that purpose. ....

At the end of June, Mrs. Clinton had about $45 million on hand for her presidential campaign; the loss of $850,000 amounts to less than 2% of that sum, but, her advisers say, it is a relatively sizable amount that would have been welcomed for the expensive television advertising purchases ahead.

Almost a million bucks is hardly chump change, even for as rich a broad as Cruella. Of course, that assumes that the eight hundred fifty grand is the whole of what Mr. Hsu funneled to her. One can, after all, never take anything a Clinton (or Clintonoid) says entirely at face value. For that matter, she may, and probably does, have far more than $45 million on hand "off the books" for those oh-so-expensive TV ad purchases for which (1) she'll doubtless be given discounts in any case and (2) will constitute a miniscule fraction of the overpowering propagandizing the Enemy Media will do on her behalf for absolutely free. It's probably best to think of these refunds not as, well, refunds, but as a large PR inoculation that will pirhouette Mrs. Clinton from "embattled candidate" to "virtuous, visionary reformer".

Or maybe not:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose campaign is returning $850,000 in contributions linked to disgraced fundraiser Norman Hsu, indicated Wednesday that donors who contributed that money could donate to her presidential campaign once again.

"We're not asking that that be done," she said in a teleconference with reporters. "But I believe that the vast majority of those 200-plus donors are perfectly capable of making up their own minds about what they will or won't do going forward."

Clinton's remarks were her first public comments on the affect Hsu's unraveling fortunes have had on her presidential campaign. Hsu was a leading money "bundler" for Clinton, earning the title of HillRaiser for his fundraising activities.
Any other candidate would be hunkered down hoping for the PR storm to pass. Any other candidate would have his/her mouth clamped securely shut to not attract any more unwanted attention than had been incurred already. Any other candidate is not named "Clinton". If any of them were, they wouldn't have to worry about scandals that would make the ordinary political mortal spontaneously combust. Why do you think Hillzilla made sure to spread Hsu wealth around her fellow Donks? Now none of them can jump on her for fear that she'll blow the whistle on them, thus reviving the old canard that "everybody does it," and making more "campaign finance reform" a lynchpin issue once again.

Wow, de ja vu....

Speaking of which:
The more experienced Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, has relied largely on her husband and a triumvirate of senior officials from his presidency—former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former national-security adviser Sandy Berger (who tries to keep a low profile after pleading guilty in 2005 to misdemeanor charges of taking classified material without authorization).
If Berglar were a Republican, he'd have never had a "low profile" ever again, and any GOP presidential hopeful who made him his/her advisor would be finished before ever stepping into the campaign starting gate. Hillary retaining Berglar would be like George H.W. Bush recruiting Admiral John Poindexter to be his national security advisor in the 1988 campaign, or Gerald Ford picking Howard Hunt in 1976.

Let's remember precisely what it was that "Mr." Burglar did:
My informed sources suggest that what Berger destroyed were copies of the Millennium After-Action Review, a binder-sized report prepared by Richard Clarke in 2000—a year and half before the 9-11 attacks. The review made a series of recommendations for a tougher stance against bin Laden and terrorism. There are thirteen or more copies of this report. But only one contains hand-written notes by President Bill Clinton. Apparently, in the margin beside the recommendations, Bill Clinton wrote NO, NO, NO next to many of the tougher policy proposals....
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Clinton national security scandal that dwarfs Iran-Contra; it is not about fundraising, let alone sex; and it follows the Watergate template with eery serendipity. Its lone distinction is that it took place between Clinton presidencies in order to help ensure that there would be another one.

Well, there is one other distinction: the Bush Justice Department all but declined to prosecute Berglar. The penalty he eventually received makes "slap on the wrist" sound like "thrown into a padlocked room with forty-seven wolverines high on angel dust". Almost as if they were "strongly persuaded" to go easy on him. Or maybe it was that infernal "New Tone" idiocy.

Either way, you'd think that Mrs. Clinton would refrain from associating with Berglar at the very least, if not the other discredited Clintonoid retreads. As the Admiral pointed out, even John Finger Kerry cut ties with Berglar during the 2004 campaign when the latter got busted for his farcical fall-guy roll in the coverup of Bill Clinton's criminal national security negligence. Evidently Hillary judges that everybody has forgotten about it and the coast is clear to "restore him to the fold."

And you know what? She's probably right. Just as she's probably got nothing to sweat about the Hsu business (like no business she knows....). I'll let Dean Barnett take us out:
The Clintons’ campaign fundraising efforts have been a highly public criminal enterprise for decades now. No one cares....When it comes time to raise campaign funds, the Clintons employ grifters like Terry McAuliffe and Harold Ickes. When they get caught breaking the law, no one cares.
Will anybody care that the woman seeking to be the next Commander-in-Chief is reassembling the team that was the collective facilitator of the 9/11 attacks, including the man caught red-handed stealing national security archival documents in order to cover up their complicity, and that of their boss(es)?

Countless American lives will depend upon how that question is answered just short of fourteen months from now.