Historical Amnesia?

In a previous post, I described Hillary Clinton having "no scruples or ideals whatsoever."

What I said cannot be overstressed, and it is shocking to me how much people have forgotten about recent American history.

In a mini-history lesson on Clintonism, Diana West argues that not only is the "Clinton crime family" back, but something is missing in the coverage:

That something is their past -- the Clinton past of political malfeasance and corruption. I'm not just talking about Bill's impeachment, although that's part of it, what with Hillary's never-revised contention that "a vast right-wing conspiracy" was behind all her husband's political travails. But I refer also to the commonplace lies and routine treachery the American people were confronted with, subjected to and degraded by over two Clinton terms. In other words, the Clinton past is our past as well -- the history of every American who lived through those years. And it has gone missing. To behold this presidential election cycle, it seems as if the entire nation has metaphorically put their Clinton libraries in their attics.

The resulting gap in national discourse keeps presenting itself to me, particularly when called on to discuss Mrs. Clinton just as though she were an ordinary presidential candidate -- someone with a modest Senate record and a keen interest in political affairs, weighing in on the events of the day.

She's not. There's not only all that shameful Clinton "baggage," but all those questions about what's inside that baggage, questions she has never, ever acknowledged, let alone answered. It's as though Hillary Clinton believes she has no past to reckon with; no broken trust to mend; no reason to acknowledge that, to name one example, amassing hundreds of FBI files of Reagan and Bush (I) officials for political use in the White House is a bad thing, even if neither she nor anyone else in the White House was actually indicted for it. And it's as though everyone else agrees.

Read it all.

I keep talking about Clinton nostalgia. But what about Clinton amnesia?

Seriously, why is it that Hillary Clinton is so exempt from media scrutiny, as if the past is erased, or does not matter? It seems that unanswered questions from the past never need to be answered, as if all is forgiven.

Is that it? Did a group of holy media figures get together and give Hillary Clinton absolution, and then say "Ego te absolvo"?

I have to admit, from a purely Machiavellian standpoint it has to be admitted that the Clintons' one-two punch is very effective. If media access to Hillary is limited, it hardly seems fair to blame them for not asking questions -- even if they'll never be answered.

I pity the big guys in the media. It must be very frustrating not to be allowed to ask the questions that would never be answered anyway.


(And if you think it's tough to ask questions about the past, look at all the trouble Tim Russert got into for asking about the present.)

I'm a little concerned about another detail. Is "amnesia" really the right word for what's going on here? Can there be such a thing as coerced amnesia? Or should it be called something else?

posted by Eric on 12.17.07 at 12:00 PM


Freud's usage of "scotoma" applies to some of this. Because of their identification of themselves and the Clintons as part of a "we," the questions the media are forbidden to ask are questions they don't want answered anyway, and so the possibility is curtained off prior to any coercion. The ruptures in that, the clear moments when someone like Russert breaks free, speaks, and is made an example of, are learned from in principle but specifically repressed. The media's mind is just a part of the Clintons'.

guy on internet   ·  December 17, 2007 3:21 PM

Don't worry. It's just the Primary.

Her Democratic opponents won't be raising the seamier side of the Clinton Presidency, for fear of alienating President Clinton's Democratic supporters.

Should she win the nomination, her Republican opponent (or his campaign) will certainly help to remind us -- and that will force the media to pay more attention (even if only to "refute" it).

Clint   ·  December 17, 2007 7:04 PM

Whenever the Clintons or their teams get away with crime, subsequent reminders are dismissed as old news.

True that, but the new news is that those approving such a dismissal would have us ruled by criminals. Idiots.

Brett   ·  December 18, 2007 8:24 AM

Isn't the word you're looking for "denial"?

Charlie (Colorado)   ·  December 18, 2007 10:12 AM

We have always found the Clinton syndicate VERY helpful. You people are just paranoid.

Chinese Ballistic Missile Command   ·  December 18, 2007 11:13 AM

"Willful ignorance" is the term I use. It's a sort of low level doublethink with a heavy dose of ignoring that which is painful.

Veeshir   ·  December 18, 2007 12:14 PM

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