‘The past is never dead,” William Faulkner wrote. “It’s not even past.” Faulkner wasn’t writing about Hillary Clinton, but he might as well have been.
The former first lady, senator and secretary of state — who has spent a political career trying to use her immense talent between constant bouts of controversy — woke up to these headlines this past week: “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation as Russians Pressed for Control of Uranium Company” (New York Times); “For Clintons, speech income shows how their wealth is intertwined with charity” (Washington Post); and “Hillary Clinton struggles to contain media barrage on foreign cash” (Politico).
At issue are the complicated donation practices of the massive foundation run by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. All of the stories touched on questions of quid pro quos — or the appearance of such — tied to whom the Clinton Foundation took money from and why.
Like the semi-scandals of the 1990s and 2000s, none of the pieces was the sort of death blow that could end or even badly hamstring Clinton’s presidential candidacy. But taken together, they remind people — even people who are favorably inclined toward the Clinton family — of all the baggage that goes along with electing them to any office.
Remember that when it comes to Hillary Clinton, America already holds two contradictory ideas in its collective head. On the one hand, a majority (62 percent in a recent Quinnipiac University poll) believe she would be a strong leader. On the other, more than half of the public (54 percent in that same poll) believes she is neither “honest” nor “trustworthy.”
Hillary Clinton, for playing to type long after you should have known better, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Each week, Chris Cillizza awards the worst week in Washington to an inhabitant of Planet Beltway who stands out for all the wrong reasons. You can check out previous winners or e-mail Cillizza with candidates. You can also read more from Outlook and follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.