NOTE: This is the original article that was submitted to the Portsmouth Herald.
The road to the White House may pass through New Hampshire, but the highway is littered with the frost heaves of rising and falling poll numbers and the road kill of past presidential candidates. A fact Hillary Clinton learned all too well this past week. What is starting to become abundantly clear is that Hillary Clinton will not be the next President of the United States, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman.
Prior to the arrival of the Scooby Van (as dubbed by the Clinton campaign) in NH, Clinton was still trying to deal with the State Department e-mail scandal that was reported just prior to her announcing her presidential candidacy. As the details about Clinton’s private email scandal come to light, and Clinton’s inability to be forthcoming and get ahead of the story, the Democratic Party has watched, along with the rest of the nation as Clinton’s favorability ratings plummet. Recent polls (including Quinnipiac, YouGov/Economist, PPP, FOX) all show Clinton with higher unfavorable numbers than favorable. Many other polls have the unfavorable/favorable almost even. The recent CBS poll found that just “26 percent of Americans now have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton,” 12 points lower than they were in the fall of 2013. Still more telling is that Clinton received high negative marks on honesty, as 47% of Americans polled do not think Clinton is “honest and trustworthy.”
While some Democrats have badly misread the polls showing Clinton as a formidable Democratic force, it is clear that those supposedly strong numbers are a product of a lack of primary competition. It is no wonder many Democrats are already having buyer’s remorse, and the 2016 presidential campaign season is just starting. However, the road is about to get a lot bumpier. On May 5, a new book by author Peter Schweitzer, “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Help Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will be released, but the shock waves are already being felt. Over the past few days The New York Times, POLITICO, The Washington Post, Reuters, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have all featured scathing excerpts from the book that place Hillary smack dab in the middle of a battlefield of ethical concerns.
I know Peter Schweitzer, having interviewed him several times on my radio show. He is one of the most honest, ethical, and intelligent individuals I have interviewed. A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Oxford, Schweitzer has for more than a decade focused on the lack of ethics and shined a spotlight on influence peddling affecting our government today. Schweitzer is no stranger to the limelight. He was featured on 60 Minutes, BBC, NPR, as well as other prominent news outlets two years ago with the release of his fantastic book “Extortion.” He was the media darling for exposing the influence of money in politics in Washington, D.C., which is why many media today find him to be an extremely creditable source. “Extortion” helped to expose numerous ethical problems within Congress, and “Clinton Cash” will validate America’s growing distrust of a possible Hillary Clinton presidency. Yet, “Clinton Cash” will serve merely as a reminder that we have been down this scandal road before.
The Clinton name is synonymous with scandal. Americans spent so much of the 90’s moving from one political Clinton firestorm to another we could hardly keep track. Let’s not forget that on the Today Show in 1998, Hillary Clinton famously scoffed at the numerous scandals when she said the following:
“The great story here for anybody willing to find it, and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day that he announced for president.”
This statement proved false then, yet it is one that Hillary seems ready to recycle today. She has come out swinging at the torrent of reports detailing perceived conflicts of interest and a lack of transparency related to her time at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. I would caution the Clinton campaign and her supporters about trying to kill the messenger this time around, because the mainstream media clearly is far more amenable to what Schweitzer and other journalists are reporting.
There are three key factors beyond the still unresolved State Department e-mail scandal that will plague Hillary throughout her campaign for president, making her ascension to the presidency unlikely.
First, did Bill Clinton benefit financially from Hillary Clinton’s time as Secretary of State? The New York Times highlighted special treatment from the State Department made to several Canadian mining companies, who also happened to make donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Post also reported that Bill Clinton received hefty speaking fees from numerous entities that also happened to contribute to the Clinton Foundation. Is this just the tip of the iceberg regarding questionable donations, and could the now-missing State Department e-mails shed light on these types of dealings? We may never know.
Second, why are there missing foreign donations on Clinton Foundation tax returns? Reuters reports that in the years leading up to Hillary’s appointment to Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation reported millions of dollars in foreign government donations on its tax forms. However, in 2010 foreign government donations suddenly appeared to dry up, with the Clinton Foundation reporting to the IRS that it received zero in funds from foreign governments. When Reuters asked about the discrepancy, the Clinton Foundation indicated that they would be refiling five years’ worth of returns, amending the filings to include the receipt of foreign government donations. Reuters stated that the reporting errors, “generally take the form of under-reporting or over-reporting, by millions of dollars, donations from foreign governments, or in other instances omitting to break out government donations entirely when reporting revenue.” Is this just another example of Hillary Clinton’s lack of transparency?
Lastly, the apparent co-mingling of the Clinton’s charitable and personal interests. The NY Times reported on serious issues surrounding millions of dollars in donations to the foundation from uranium interests at a time when the Obama administration, including Clinton’s State Department, was weighing approval of a Russian takeover of a uranium-mining firm with major American operations. The Washington Post recently reported that the Clinton Foundation only spent 15% of the money it raised on charity. Add this to the numerous reports of financial mishandling at the Clinton Foundation, and many are wondering what other improprieties may lurk under the Foundation’s surface reports. Even the liberal stalwart the NY Times did a scathing report of the Clinton Foundation – “For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.”
The unfortunate part about all of this is that the leadership of the Democratic Party believes that their bench is so weak that they are willing to stick with Clinton. As much as Hillary’s candidacy is hurting the Democrat brand, her presidency would be absolutely disastrous to the country.
But hey, it’s not like Hillary drove across the country with her dog tied to the roof of her car, right?