What Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?
Bloggers are taking Hillary Clinton to task over her meeting with Richard Mellon Scaife and debating John McCain's speech on Iraq.
What vast right-wing conspiracy? On the heels of having to apologize for overstating the danger she faced on a vist to Bosnia, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is fighting off another scandal: She has met with arch-conservative Richard Mellon Scaife—who gave $ 2.3 million to a conservative magazine to dig up dirt on Bill Clinton in the 1990s—and gave an interview to his paper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bloggers quickly jumped on the hypocrisy in Clinton's latest move.
Byron York at the National Review's Corner has the photographic evidence: "We've heard reports of a rapprochement between Scaife and the Clintons of late, and the Pennsylvania primary is fast approaching, but this is still a pretty striking picture." Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall points out the irony of such a meeting: "This alone has to amount to some sort cosmic encounter like something out of a Wagner opera. Remember, this is the guy who spent millions of dollars puffing up wingnut fantasies about Hillary's having Vince Foster whacked and lots of other curdled and ugly nonsense. Scaife was the nerve center of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."
Michael J. Stickings atthe Reaction believes it shows that Clinton is willing to sink to any level to win the nomination: "I understand that she needs to win Pennsylvania, and I understand that things are looking bleak, but sitting down with Scaife and engaging in a mutual assault on Obama—she was using him, he was using her, all for the common purpose of tearing down Obama—was simply disgusting." Liberal John Aravosis at AMERICAblog reiterates just how low the Clintons have stooped: "You've heard of Paula Jones, Vince Foster's 'murder' (as the far-right calls it), Troopergate, and Whitewater? Mellon Scaife is responsible for it all. And now Hillary is getting all cozy with him over an editorial board meeting at his wacky far-right paper (but it's okay to fire whats-his-name at MSNBC, he was mean to Chelsea). Anything to destroy Obama."
Blogger David Corn agrees: "Clinton might be willing to put aside her grudge against the American Spectator and Scaife because doing so helps her politically. But in the 1990s this band of Clinton-haters were out to ruin not merely her and her hubby but the entire progressive agenda. (They always believed the Clintons to be far more left than Bill and Hillary actually were.) But now, for Hillary Clinton, they're good enough to use against Obama."
At Unfogged, the significance of the meeting is that it represents a collaboration between two entrenched political elites: "It confirms the impression that for a lot of the 'elite' class in Washington, they're playing what is to them merely a game of power and status, the real costs of which are borne by the people they're playing it 'for,' the audience, which is us."
Read more about Hillary's meeting with Scaife.
Man of his word: After returning from a weeklong overseas trip, Sen. John McCain delivered a speech Wednesday on his strategy for Iraq. In it, he aimed to accomplish something that President Bush has been unable to: assure the American people that their leaders have a clear plan for victory in the Middle East.
RedState's "Haystack" sees prescience in McCain's stance: "[W]e're 60 years running with a presence in Japan and Germany ... 50 in Korea ... how is Iraq (long-term) different? Oh, that's right—there are still bad guys in Iraq with guns and explosives. We need to get the heck outta Dodge until there are no more bad guys. Why on earth would we have Soldiers doing the work of Soldiers where there is currently a need for ... Soldiers?"
Ankle Biting Pundits' Patrick Hynes, a GOP consultant, believes that McCain's clarity could win over skeptics: "Which brings us to the real reason why most Americans are comfortable with Sen. McCain as commander-in-chief, even if they disagree with his position on Iraq: His position is clear and coherent. The Democrats', especially Sen. Obama's, isn't. Americans will abide a competent leader with whom they disagree. They will not abide a politician whose position on a transcendent issue is a confused jumble at best."
While McCain's morning speech hasn't lit up the blogs with the same passion that Obama's race speech did, most are calling it a stirring and insightful look into the Arizona senator's position on the war. Andrew Romano at Newsweek's Stumper offers this candid recap: "The most striking thing about the speech was the personal tone that McCain used when speaking about conflict—perhaps a nod toward critics who say the senator, if elected, will merely continue the same path as the Bush administration when it comes to waging war. He talked of the sacrifice he and his own family had made on behalf of the country—noting when his father went to war after Pearl Harbor that he barely saw him for four years."
Read more about McCain's speech.
Alex Joseph is a Slate intern.