Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a press conference at the United Nations in New York in this March 10, 2015 file photo. Controversy over emails could overshadow the launch of Hillary Clinton's expected presidential campaign after an influential Republican on Wednesday raised the prospect of congressional hearings into her use of personal email for work when she was America's top diplomat. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT) Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference at the United Nations in New York in March. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign would likely be in free fall if a big name Democrat had gotten into the race. But as things are, she’s doing quite a job discrediting herself.

Part of this has to do with her faux populism. She’s not like everyone else. In fact, she arguably leads the least normal existence, and has since her husband was president, of anyone in the field. By attacking, for example, chief executives’ salaries she simply highlights her own extraordinary wealth and hence her hypocrisy. Over at the American Enterprise Institute, Mark J. Perry finds:

Hillary Clinton’s speaking fee (give or take $100,000) is more than the average CEO salary in the US last year, and more per hour than even the highest paid CEOs in the US. Together, the Clintons’ income was at least $136.5 million from 2001 to 2012 – $11.4 million per year on average — and ironically about the same compensation received by America’s 350 highest-paid CEOs that is used by the AFL-CIO t0 calculate its CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 331-to-1. And yet Hillary has the audacity to claim that CEOs are overpaid (see news reports here and here)?

Her game plan has not changed from the 1990s when Clinton scandals came and went. First, discharge loyal foot soldiers regardless of their credibility. (Not even MSNBC could put up with Clinton hit man David Brock.) Smear the attacker(s) as simply Republican stooges. And, refuse to answer questions.

We are told that Democrats are “worrying.” The Hill quotes a timid Democrat afraid to be identified: “Where the unease comes from is that it’s going to be one of those things that the right keeps hammering them on. It is one of the things that they are going to have to address sooner or later — preferably sooner.” So it is only bad because Republicans will make an issue of it? It seems Democrats have thrown overboard any moral compass such that they no longer care about what is essentially corruption.

Foreign countries and Wall Street firms stuffed her foundation full of cash. Mark Halperin intones he has “no doubt” some people gave money or paid astronomically high speaking fees to curry favor. No! But he is wrong that it only matters if a quid pro quo can be established. First, she destroyed evidence that might have demonstrated that. Second, she had promised the foundation wouldn’t take foreign donations while she was secretary of state and apparently did not keep that promise. And most important the appearance of impropriety is in and of itself unacceptable and corrodes whatever little faith is left out there in the operations of government.

The Clinton machine has rolled over the media and critics before, so it’s not unreasonable that they figure they can do it again. It’s increasingly probable she will face no formidable primary opposition. The media will complain now but still put the thumb on the scale in her favor in the general election coverage. She’ll still raise money from big liberal donors and media elites will still declare her the most prepared person in history to be president. Displaying total contempt for transparency and for Democratic voters whom she believes with some justification have no alternative, she will keep stiff-arming the media and public. Maybe in the general election debate there will be some uncomfortable moments but by then we who have watched the Clintons for decades know what her response will be: This is all old news.

The notion that someone could be ethically unfit for the presidency is foreign to liberal Democrats, I suppose. Identity politics and winning power trump all fleeting pangs of conscience. It, therefore, will be up to the GOP nominee and voters to demonstrate that brazen corruption cannot be tolerated. Wasn’t that the lesson we were all supposed to learn from former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell’s gifts allegedly in exchange for “official” acts far less significant than Clinton’s purported change in positions?