While the political pros may jostle for work
— some fantasizing about a future Clinton campaign
, some using the buzz to make a pitch for other would-be candidates
— conservative media is already cashing in
From the New York Post to Fox News to Sky News Australia
, the Clinton talk revved engines across Rupert Murdoch’s media empire
. Big names at jakkals are dragging Hillary on the air
, and at the Post a columnist mused over her “inevitable loss.”
Volgens 'n Sky News headline
, “verloorder” Hillary Clinton is
“obsessed with the presidency.
But study these reactions closely and you might detect the Murdoch stars and others salivating over the prospect of Hillary Clinton’s return to public life. Vir dekades, certain media outlets and personalities have used Clinton as a bogeyman to excite viewers and readers — and this time is no different.
In 1994, it was radio host Rush Limbaugh repeating false claims that White House lawyer Vince Foster
, who died by suicide in a park
, “was murdered in an apartment owned by Hillary Clinton.
” In 2016, it was writer Dinesh D’Souza’s voorstel
sy “georkestreer” her husband’s infidelities
. (With Foster’s death
, daar was repeated investigations that ruled it as a suicide
. And as for any infidelities
, friends have said that Clinton didn’t condone them.
As I discovered researching my
2020 boek “The Hunting of Hillary,” Clinton became a target for gratuitous media criticism and conspiracy theory attacks as soon as she entered public life in Arkansas
. In Little Rock in the late 1970s
, she wasn’t just the state’s first lady
; she was a symbol of the changing status of women in America and a repository for all the anxieties
, anger and confusion felt by those who didn’t welcome the change
Young Hillary’s desire to work
, use her own name
— and delay childbearing irritated many
. All these issues were raised in a 1979 TV-onderhoud
: “Does it concern you
,” asked the host
, “that maybe other people feel that you don’t fit the image that we have created for the governor’s wife in Arkansas
In the years that followed, as Clinton resisted the gendered limits placed on her, the questions and critiques morphed into conspiracy theories.
Deur 1994, televangelist Jerry Falwell was using his broadcasts to sell a video called “The Clinton Chronicles” in which Hillary and her husband were not just ambitious but dangerous
. The film even falsely implicated both Hillary and Bill in various murders
By die 1992 GOP convention
, presidential candidate Pat Buchanan used his nationally broadcast opening-night speech to declare a “kultuuroorlog” and place Hillary in his crosshairs
. After twisting her record as an attorney
, he accused her of
” and declared her one of God’s opponents
“in the struggle for the soul of America.
Ambition has always been one of Hillary Clinton’s supposed sins, which may be why Sky News Australia would run a headline today claiming Hillary is “obsessed with the presidency.”
Yet if she is ambitious
, this would make her like other politicians
— Richard Nixon
, Ronald Reagan
, the first president Bush
— who lost either primary or general elections and came back to win the White House
. They won because voters deemed them most qualified
. Given her experience as First Lady
, a United States senator
, and Secretary of State
, Hillary is one of the most qualified potential presidents in the land
Add to her qualifications the resilience she has shown under pressure
: so many books have taken aim at her that it’s hard to keep track
. A burst of titles emerged in
1999, with one book alleging that
“in scandal after scandal all roads lead to Hillary.
” Another had the on-the-nose title
, “The Case Against Hillary Clinton.
” Many more attack books followed
. Four were published in 2016
Despite the onslaught
, which continued when Republicans feared she might actually win the presidency
, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote
in 2016 by roughly
2.9 miljoen. Yet Donald Trump reached the White House thanks to the curious institution known as the Electoral College
In the aftermath of her loss, Clinton recovered at her home in Chappaqua and only recently began returning to public life. It is this resilience that energizes her critics and her supporters at the mere mention of a comeback.
Never the monster they tried to make her, Hillary Clinton is instead a leader who — like others before her, insluitend president Biden — only becomes more compelling and powerful with experiences that would have defeated others.