Hillary Clinton’s been all the news this week, after she “misspoke” about Whitewater, Travelgate, missing files, suspicious pardons, Johnny Chung and cattle futures. Oh wait, after she “misspoke” about Bosnia. Oh wait, same thing.
That’s one way to make sense of the unrelenting, unforgiving, 24/7 news coverage of Mrs. Clinton’s fictional telling of Bosnian sniper fire and the subsequent debunking of her every word. In a nasty primary battle that has already featured racial slurs and Chicago slum lords, missing tax documents, and a “monster,” you might expect this slip-up to have been yet another blip in the media cycle.
But that would have been to deny the press, the pundits, Democrats, and even Barack Obama, the catharsis of finally — finally! — getting a chance to confront the Clintons’ questionable mores. Hillary’s and Bill’s scandals have been the elephant in the primary room ever since she first signaled a run. Yet up to now everyone has been too scared, or too loyal, or too weary to touch the ugly past. Her Bosnia misspeak is now serving as proxy for all the truths about the Clintons’ non-truths, allowing even liberals to break free from their Clinton dependence.
And how liberating it is! The video of Mrs. Clinton’s speech about Bosnian sniper fire, twinned with real footage of calmly strolling down the Tuzla tarmac, has been running on one continuous TV loop. Reporters have dug up every last person who accompanied her on the sedate trip to pour a little more salt in the wound. “The Audacity of Hoax,” yelled a blog posting in the liberal Nation magazine, which innocently asked: “What else is she fibbing about?” Bill Burton, Barack Obama’s spokesman, gleefully noted that Mrs. Clinton’s recent attacks on his candidate were designed to deflect attention away from her “made up” Bosnia story. Heavy emphasis on the “made up” part. No need to mention Vince Foster, Red Bone, Marc Rich or Webster Hubbell. All this will do.