Sunday, September 04, 2016
The Village Redux
Jamison Foser tweeted this out this morning with the comment "This is from a 1/5/1994 Washington Post editorial. It is extraordinary."
That was Whitewater. The "scandal" was never a real scandal. It was pimped by hit men like David Bossie and reporters ate it up with a spoon. It ended up costing the taxpayers nearly 100 million dollars to investigate it. And it turned up nothing.
And they're doing it again. The scolding, holier-than-thou, small town sanctimony among the Villagers is enough to make me vomit. This hand wringing over "elites" and the "favoritism" and the "smoke" and the "fire" and "the smell tests" which only seem to be relevant when Hillary Clinton is involved is a narcissistic superior dance that feeds the right's crusade of character assassination. It's mind boggling that it's happening again.
I dubbed them Villagers for a reason which I wrote about here:
It's about their phoniness, their pretense of speaking for "average Americans" when it's clear they haven't the vaguest clue even about the average Americans who work in their local Starbucks or drive their cabs. (Think Tim Russert, good old boy from Buffalo, lately of Nantucket.) It's about their intolerable sanctimony and hypocritical provincialism, pretending to be shocked about things they all do, creating social rules for others which they themselves ignore.
The village is really "the village" an ersatz small town like something you'd see in Disneyland. And to those who argue that Versailles is the far better metaphor, I would just say that it is Versailles --- a very particular part:
A Picturesque Little Village
Part of the grounds near the Trianon were chosen by Marie-Antoinette as the site of a lakeside village, a crucial feature of picturesque landscape gardens then so fashionable among Europe's aristocracy. In 1783, Richard Mique built this amusement village where the queen played at being a shepherdess.
The Village is a metaphor for the faux "middle class values" that the wealthy, insular, privileged, hypocritical political celebrities (and their hangers-on and wannabes) present to the nation.
In 1784, Marie-Antoinette had a farm built, where she installed a farming couple from the Touraine region, along with their two children. They were charged with supplying the queen with eggs, butter, cream and cheese, for which they disposed of cows, goats, farmyard animals.
The perfect representation of this phenomenon is a famous column by the then doyenne of DC, Sally Quinn, at the height of the Starr investigation. She correctly noted that a majority of the country believed the scandal was absurd while those in the ostensibly sophisticated city of Washington D.C. were morally outraged. She posited that DC was different because it was the reputation of “their town” the president had besmirched. One quote in particular, from Muffie Cabot a former White House social secretary, summed up the unself-conscious arrogance and insularity:
“This is a demoralized little village. People have come from all over the country to serve a higher calling and look what happened. They’re so disillusioned. The emperor has no clothes. Watergate was pretty scary, but it wasn’t quite as sordid as this.”
The extremely powerful political and media elites who make up the political establishment in our nation’s capital more often than not portray their allegedly “small town values” as being “typically” American — more typical than the 300 million or so Americans who live outside the beltway. No amount of polling or canvassing or interviewing can convince these influential celebrities and lawmakers and their various hangers-on that they are not the perfect reflection of America itself.
They went after Bill Clinton with everything they had. But it was always Hillary who really got them going. Bill was, after all, a charmer. Even Newt Gingrich couldn't escape his spell. But Hillary Clinton was a calculating shrew, a feminist harpy who emasculated men and simultaneously hated all women. They hated her with a uniquely aggressive ferocity.
This is where the "she's a liar!" chant heard at rallies all over the country this year really got legs:
Blizzard of Lies
by William Safire Jan. 8, 1996
Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady -- a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation -- is a congenital liar.
Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.
1. Remember the story she told about studying The Wall Street Journal to explain her 10,000 percent profit in 1979 commodity trading? We now know that was a lie told to turn aside accusations that as the Governor's wife she profited corruptly, her account being run by a lawyer for state poultry interests through a disreputable broker.
She lied for good reason: To admit otherwise would be to confess taking, and paying taxes on, what some think amounted to a $100,000 bribe.
2. The abuse of Presidential power known as Travelgate elicited another series of lies. She induced a White House lawyer to assert flatly to investigators that Mrs. Clinton did not order the firing of White House travel aides, who were then harassed by the F.B.I. and Justice Department to justify patronage replacement by Mrs. Clinton's cronies.
Now we know, from a memo long concealed from investigators, that there would be "hell to pay" if the furious First Lady's desires were scorned. The career of the lawyer who transmitted Hillary's lie to authorities is now in jeopardy. Again, she lied with good reason: to avoid being identified as a vindictive political power player who used the F.B.I. to ruin the lives of people standing in the way of juicy patronage.
3. In the aftermath of the apparent suicide of her former partner and closest confidant, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, she ordered the overturn of an agreement to allow the Justice Department to examine the files in the dead man's office. Her closest friends and aides, under oath, have been blatantly disremembering this likely obstruction of justice, and may have to pay for supporting Hillary's lie with jail terms.
Again, the lying was not irrational. Investigators believe that damning records from the Rose Law Firm, wrongfully kept in Vincent Foster's White House office, were spirited out in the dead of night and hidden from the law for two years -- in Hillary's closet, in Web Hubbell's basement before his felony conviction, in the President's secretary's personal files -- before some were forced out last week.
Why the White House concealment? For good reason: The records show Hillary Clinton was lying when she denied actively representing a criminal enterprise known as the Madison S.& L., and indicate she may have conspired with Web Hubbell's father-in-law to make a sham land deal that cost taxpayers $3 million.
Why the belated release of some of the incriminating evidence? Not because it mysteriously turned up in offices previously searched. Certainly not because Hillary Clinton and her new hang-tough White House counsel want to respond fully to lawful subpoenas.
One reason for the Friday-night dribble of evidence from the White House is the discovery by the F.B.I. of copies of some of those records elsewhere. When Clinton witnesses are asked about specific items in "lost" records -- which investigators have -- the White House "finds" its copy and releases it. By concealing the Madison billing records two days beyond the statute of limitations, Hillary evaded a civil suit by bamboozled bank regulators.
Another reason for recent revelations is the imminent turning of former aides and partners of Hillary against her; they were willing to cover her lying when it advanced their careers, but are inclined to listen to their own lawyers when faced with perjury indictments.
Therefore, ask not "Why didn't she just come clean at the beginning?" She had good reasons to lie; she is in the longtime habit of lying; and she has never been called to account for lying herself or in suborning lying in her aides and friends.
No wonder the President is fearful of holding a prime-time press conference. Having been separately deposed by the independent counsel at least twice, the President and First Lady would be well advised to retain separate defense counsel.
That was 100% bullshit from beginning to end. But it was in the New York Times and from that moment on Hillary Clinton was deemed a congenital liar. Today people say it as if it's a proven fact and press treats it as if it's a parlor game to try and finally catch the elusive spider in her own dishonest web.
She was never found guilty of a crime or even anything untoward. The cases were all closed and she successfully ran for Senate and became the Secretary of State. But the character smears just go on and on and on and a new generation of Villagers have now eagerly donned the mantle of insufferable schoolmarms in service of wingnuttia despite the fact that her morality and ethics fall well within the mainstream of Barack Obama's Democratic Party. You may say that doesn't make her honest. But it should at least raise the question of why she alone is treated in this manner.
digby 9/04/2016 12:30:00 PM