In this Jan. 14, 2011 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton, listen to speakers in Washington. Clinton last left Iowa on an "excruciating" night, the beginning of the end of her White House campaign. She returns for the first time this weekend, not quite yet running for president, but sure to hear cheers from a crowd of Democrats hoping she will. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
In this Jan. 14, 2011 file photo, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton, listen to speakers in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

David Frum, THE ATLANTIC


(The Atlantic) — Today was the latest installment of the never-ending Clinton scandal saga, but it won’t be the last. Yet in some ways, the specifics are a distraction. The sale of access was designed into the post-2001 Clinton family finances from the start. Probably nobody will ever prove that this quid led to that quo … but there’s about a quarter-billion-dollar of quid heaped in plain sight and an equally impressive pile of quo, and it’s all been visible for years to anyone who cared to notice. As Jonathan Chait, who is no right-wing noise-machine operator, complained: “The Clintons have been disorganized and greedy.”

“All of this amounts to diddly-squat,” pronounced long-time Clinton associate James Carville when news broke that Hillary Clinton had erased huge numbers of emails. That may not be true: If any of the conduct in question proves illegal, destroying relevant records may also have run afoul of the law.

But Carville’s dismissal is right as a matter of politics. Scandals, even quite bad ones, tend not to matter as much as they used to, unless the person at the center is sentenced to prison. The impulse to rally to the team is strong, and this impulse has been used shrewdly by the Clinton family over the course of their long, ethically challenged career. They will try to exploit that impulse again now.
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