It was bound to happen. Sooner or later Hillary Clinton’s past was going to catch up with her. Her time in the White House wasn’t exactly characterized by peace and tranquility and she has been known to step on a few toes now and again.
Yes, once Hillary decided to run for President, and to do so based on her “experience”, that very history was bound to become an issue. And now it has, but not in the way you might have expected. The issue is not the scandals themselves, but access to the records of her time in the White House.
Last week The Los Angeles Times reporter Peter Nicholas noted the contrast between the former first lady’s campaign and the millions of White House documents still being locked up at the Clinton Presidential Library:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cites her experience as a compelling reason voters should make her president, but nearly 2 million pages of documents covering her White House years are locked up in a building here, obscuring a large swath of her record as first lady.
Clinton's calendars, appointment logs and memos are stored at her husband's presidential library, in the custody of federal archivists who do not expect them to be released until after the 2008 presidential election.
While it doesn’t come as a great shock that someone named Clinton is being less than forthcoming with important documents, it should be interesting to see how this issue plays out. Here we have the Clinton penchant for secrecy and obstruction clashing with candidate Clinton’s need to reshape her image.
Hillary has spent her time in the Senate, and her presidential campaign, striving to revamp her image and soften highly negative public perceptions. Instead of the cold and calculating politician she casts herself as the friendly but tough candidate; instead, of the schemer looking out for number one, she is the leader looking out for the little guy. Whether it is her demeanor, her tone, her hairstyle or her clothing everything is aimed at softening her image and putting the past behind her.
But simply softening her image isn’t enough. She has to win the nomination with the support of the party’s left wing base. This effort has involved plenty of red meat rhetoric harshly attacking President Bush for his incompetence, secrecy, and cronyism.