Just in case anyone thought the media's passionate long-standing love affair with the Clintons was threatened by impeachment, witness the fawning frenzy over the suggestion that Hillary might run for the U.S. Senate in New York.
How perverse is this speculative bubble? Let me count the ways.
1. The media are once again signaling their sado-masochistic streak. Lie to us! Lie to us again! Throughout this administration, Mrs. Clinton has been the hate-filled leader of the screw-the-press faction. It was Hillary throughout the past year who orchestrated the seven-month avalanche of lies about Monica Lewinsky, kicked off unforgettably by her nasty "Today" show interview, where she invented a "vast right-wing conspiracy" as the reason that her husband has no self-control and she has no self-respect.
2. The media could care less that the White House Stonewaller-in-Chief has been Hillary, not Bill. They find no sleaze factor in her record. It was Hillary who had most Rose Law Firm documents shredded, while a few others ended up in the homes of Vincent Foster and Webster Hubbell. It was Hillary who was the force behind firing the Travel Office staff with a bunch of phony charges of fraud, charges so dishonest it took the jury a whopping two hours to acquit Travel Office chief Billy Dale. It was Hillary who gave one fanciful explanation after another (but never the truth) about how she came to make $100,000 in the commodities market. It was reportedly Hillary who hired Craig Livingstone, the bar bouncer-turned-librarian of the Republicans' FBI files.
3. The media were so buried in buzz about the proposed Hillary campaign that nobody seemed to notice a woman was accusing her husband of...rape. All the Sunday morning shows expounded on the glorious possibilities of Senator Hillary, but everyone except "Fox News Sunday" utterly ignored Juanita Broaddrick's explosive charges (for the real world, that is) in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Had her husband raped Broaddrick in 1978? If the charges are true, how would New York voters greet her?
4. Hillary is the lead soldier who destroyed the feminist village in order to save it. It was Hillary who saluted Anita Hill at the American Bar Association. It was Hillary who cheered on the sisterhood in the war against Sen. Bob Packwood. And yet it was Hillary who denied the charges of adultery against her husband, then never acknowledged the seriousness of what he'd done. He lied and ultimately was forced to admit it. But what about Hillary? Can she be a feminist hero and say "no comment" to a rape charge against her husband? Feminists could care less, so long as she keeps abortion legal and fights the "theocracy." The same holds true for the lapdog press.
5. The fawning frenzy also signals the hard-core leftism of the New York-centered national press. While some Washington reporters (like NBC's Lisa Myers) have tried to get to the very bottom of the Clintons' hearts of darkness, the New York bosses have been scoop-scuttlers at every turn. Hillary's run in New York instead of Arkansas is a wet kiss aimed right at them. Have you noticed how no one's remarked about how this looks to Arkansans? Remember how Hillary blamed the Clinton scandals on contempt for Arkansas? Apparently, she has plenty of that, too.
6. Okay, so this story is catnip for the liberal base, and a diversion for a media that are desperate to carry a positive Clinton story for a change. You think, Hillary would be eaten alive by the press if she ran for the Senate? Forget it. Did you notice how all the press talked about how "the New York tabloids" that would re-investigate her scandal record? But why not the mainstream press? Because they will be loading up the puffball adjectives, and scorning any new details as "old news." As Newsweek's Jonathan Alter wrote, "Sure, the New York Post would carp about billing records and cattle futures. So what? Hillary can handle that." Tough journalism, that.
7. Finally, as a candidate in her own right, will the liberal-thinking press treat her as a fair target of scrutiny? There, too, think again. Alter again: "If Giuliani hits her with old scandal stuff, it will backfire." Hillary's their girl, and the media will circle the wagons for her in the face of any negative attack.
The left-wing press isn't out to cover Hillary Clinton. It's out to coronate her.