There are Clintonites. And then there are real Clintonites | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, February 19, 2015

There are Clintonites. And then there are real Clintonites

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 at 2:01 PM

SHE'S READY TOO: So says a well-placed source.
  • SHE'S READY TOO: So says a well-placed source.

Thank you, National Journal, for a useful article that explains how every unidentified person you see identified in a Clinton intrigue article as a Clintonite may simply be free-lancing and not carrying an official message from the former or potentially future president.

There are Clinton "insiders" and Clinton "allies." Clinton "loyalists" and Clinton "confidants." People "familiar with Clinton's thinking" or "in Clinton's orbit."

No doubt, Washington is filled with Democrats who have worked for, advised, donated money to, or rubbed elbows with Hillary or Bill Clinton over the duo's three decades in politics. But as the former secretary of State prepares a 2016 campaign, these "allies" are posing a problem for Clinton's real team.

Ever eager to voice opinions on everything from the timeline of Clinton's announcement to her 2016 message to how her "hipster black-rimmed glasses" fit with the optics of a Brooklyn-based operation, self-labeled advisers are going rogue. And by freelancing, they're taking the Clinton story out of Clinton's hands, even as she tries to build a team that's more leak-proof and less willing to air dirty laundry than in 2008.

Great minds. I visited at length Wednesday with a Mother Jones reporter, in town for one of many return trips to Arkansas to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton (also Mike Huckabee). Could there possibly be anything left that Ken Starr and his jackboots didn't dig up? Starr and Hick Ewing will be kicking each other in the butt if it turns out to be so.

In the course of the conversation, I cautioned the writer about believing everything he read attributed to a putative insider as being a message from on high. The Clinton teams have always been full of self-promoters working their own agendas with the press and using the Clinton name as potent entree.

Longtime aide Philippe Reines commented to National Journal:

Asked how the campaign could get a handle on all the anonymous outside chatter, Reines placed much of the blame on the media for being willing to grant anonymity to sources who don't know what they're talking about. Unless the unnamed "advisers" stop talking to reporters, or reporters stop quoting them, Reines added, there's no way to get the issue under control.

"What gets lost is, there are no consequences for [the source or the media] when they're wrong—there just aren't," he said. "If you were to go back and look at the last three, four, five, six months of coverage about Secretary Clinton, you're going to see certain reporters who cover her closely whose accuracy rate is less than 50-50."

There are no end of potential "insiders."

There are decades' worth of former staffers to contend with: the Arkansas people, the Clinton White House advisers, New York Senate staffers, 2008 campaign aides, Clinton Foundation associates, and State Department aides, among others.

Except for occasional return visits — very few for Hillary Clinton — they haven't been much of a presence in Arkansas for 22 years. My own routine is to tell reporters that what little I might have known is from at least that long ago and mostly long forgotten. But, yeah, I think she's running. Attribute that to an Arkansan who's known the Clintons since 1974. Don't mention that he hasn't a clue to her thinking.

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