With poll after poll after poll showing Hillary Clinton leading any Republican in a hypothetical 2016 presidential race, her opponents on the right hope to prove either that she's too scandal-ridden or too sick to actually run. It's a banner day for the theories: a new document dump from the Clinton Presidential Library and a rewarmed look at Clinton's late-2012 health scare are both getting attention.
Later today, 5,000 pages of documents from the Clinton administration will be made public for the first time, as the Associated Press reports. Tantalizingly, "the records could also include communications involving former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton." What secrets they hold we will have to wait to see. Will they reveal that she worked with her husband on key policy initiatives? Perhaps reveal some untoward sexual behavior by the president? Maybe suggest that she was in communication with people who were themselves involved in untoward activity? Who knows! Well, besides that we already know all of those things.
Very reliable water-carriers assure me there is nothing interesting in the Clinton library. Please do not look there, reporter friends.— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) February 27, 2014
There's always the possibility, of course, that a piece of blistering, incriminating evidence might still be out there somewhere, and some people will pick through the thousands of documents with the determination to find it. Or to make hay out of documents that don't really suggest all that much, as occurred after the supposedly explosive publication of the records kept by her friend Diane Blair, a political science professor in Arkansas. The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news site dedicated to stories "the professional left hopes will never see the light of day," published The Hillary Papers earlier this month. The documents didn't dredge up anything new — quelle surprise, Hillary Clinton did not like Monica Lewinsky — focusing instead on the scandalous aspects of past crises. The Free Beacon's report of the Blair Papers includes sections titled "THE SEX FILES" and "YOU ARE ENTERING A WORLD OF PAIN," but perhaps the most shocking thing, at this point, is Clinton's decades-old opinion on single-payer health care.
A long list of former Clinton aides have already penned their tell-alls, often artfully timed around the presidential cycle. ABC's George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton aide, chronicled the stresses of working on the 1992 presidential campaign and his rise to White House Communications Director in his book, All Too Human: A Political Education. Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Bill Clinton, has written several books criticizing the Clintons, including Rewriting History, a rebuttal to Hillary Clinton's memoir, Living History. If you need more, HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes has just been published, and the former senator herself is about to release a new memoir this summer. Those last two seem unlikely to provide the smoking gun, but hope springs eternal.
What her memoir might do, though, is provide a little more insight into Clinton's health. At the end of 2012, Clinton passed out while battling the stomach flu, which led doctors to discover a blood clot near her brain. It has since been treated, and she's back to full strength.
Or is she?, which might as well be the headline of The Daily Caller's article reporting on "whispers" about Clinton's health. A spokesman told the site's Alex Pappas that "She’s 100%" (adding a snarky "very caring of you to ask"), but Pappas is still hearing whispers. One of those whispers was on Twitter, which is not exactly a whisper. Roger Stone, a Republican consultant best known for his massive Nixon tattoo, tweeted simply, "@HillaryClinton not running for health reasons. Remember you heard it first from the #StoneZone." Asked for more information or a source, Stone coyly remained silent. Making the prediction sort of like the guy at the Super Bowl party who says I bet they score a touchdown here and then brags about his prescience once it happens. Pappas also tells readers about how some tabloids think Clinton might be sick, and also The Washington Post raised the issue a year ago. Whispers.
None of which is to say that Clinton 1) will not be sidelined by some new revelation, 2) is perfectly healthy, or 3) will run at all. It's just to say that we're in the portion of the 2016 cycle during which the only way Clinton could be eliminated from contention is if 1) she is sidelined by a new revelation, 2) is not healthy, or 3) decides not to run. And only two of those things might be uncovered by intrepid sleuthing or whispering.