"No Surprises"

by hilzoy

As I see it, there are good reasons for Democrats to vote for Obama, and good reasons to vote for Clinton. Personally, I think that there are more good reasons to vote for Obama, but that reasonable people can differ on this score. But there is one argument in favor of Clinton that I've seen around lately, and that I think does not hold water: that the Republicans have already thrown everything they have at Clinton, and so we already know what's out there and what effect it's likely to have. Or, as Clinton herself put it:

"I’ve been tested. I’ve been vetted. I have been in the political arena in our country very intensely for 16 years. There are no surprises."

I have no particular reason to think that there are any surprises out there. But I also don't think there is any good reason to think that there aren't. In particular, the fact that the Republicans threw everything they had at the Clintons while Bill Clinton was President would only imply that there was nothing left for them to throw if we assume that no new dirt has come into existence since 2000.

In thinking about this, it might help to read this NYT story, about Bill Clinton helping a mining company get a contract in Kazakhstan, after which the head of the mining company gave $31.3 million to Clinton's charitable foundation, and pledged $100 million more. Alternately, one might peruse TNR's list of Clinton's shadiest donors, and reflect on Clinton's failure to make her tax returns public. One might also ask oneself: if the Republicans knew about some scandal that had developed since 2000, would they be more likely to use it during one of Clinton's Senate campaigns, when she was virtually certain to win regardless of what they came up with, or to hold it in reserve in case she ran for President?

Again: I absolutely do not want to suggest that there is any actual dirt on the Clintons for the Republicans to dig up. Nor am I trying to argue against voting for Clinton. As I said above, I think there are good reasons to vote for her. I just don't think that this is one of them.

(Cross-posted at Obsidian Wings; this is generally true, whether I remember to say so or not.)

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