Rand Paul said it just a couple of weeks ago, but a lot of people have thought it for a long time:

I think the thing is about the Clintons is that there’s a certain sense that they think they’re above the law.

There are some good reasons the Clintons might have come to believe that.

Both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton have always been powerful people, even as young adults. As early as college and law school they were both widely considered to be brilliant and charismatic, albeit in somewhat different ways. Recall, for example, that Hillary was chosen to give a commencement speech in her graduating year at Wellesly, a very unusual honor. The main speaker was Senator Edward Brooke, but she stole his thunder:

Clinton, then just Hillary Diane Rodham, was chosen by her peers to be the first student speaker to deliver a commencement address at Wellesley College. Clinton electrified 400 of her peers at the women’s liberal arts college with a fiery speech that captured the young generation’s disillusionment over President Richard Nixon’s war in Vietnam.

…Brooke spoke first and suggested the anti-war protests sweeping across college campuses were a poor way of exercising students’ constitutional right to assemble, saying “coercive protests” would discourage support from people empathetic to their cause. Clinton, who had led demonstrations against the Vietnam War on campus, wasn’t afraid to take a moment to go off script and respond to Brooke’s speech.

Life magazine did an article that featured her; the whole thing was somewhat like the fuss made when Obama was chosen as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. Husband Bill was a star in school too. He was twice president of his class at Georgetown, for example. Then later, Rhodes Scholar. Suffice to say the accolades came early and they were numerous.

Can you imagine the power these two people felt when they united forces in marriage? Remember, also, that when Bill became the governor of Arkansas he was only 32, at the time the youngest governor in the country.

Of course, being a person with a record of early achievements doesn’t mean you will consider yourself above the rules that govern the little people. Nor did this necessarily happen initially for the Clintons (although Bill had long been that way as a sexual adventurer, and the more he got away with it the more immune from consequences he probably felt). But as time went on, the combination of brains, people fawning over them, and the gaining of more and more power must have fed the feeling that they were immune to the usual rules for public servants.

The most important thing of all was that they got away with it. The more a person gets away with, the more impervious he/she feels. The pinnacle was what ought to have been the nadir: the Lewinsky scandal. Bill Clinton was finally caught and exposed, and what happened? Essentially nothing of consequence, although it was embarrassing, and he may have felt vulnerable for a while.

My hunch is that the Clintons’ primary motivation has never been money, and initially money really didn’t enter into it very much at all. It was only slowly that money became a big part of their lives, and then that element grew in importance as the Clintons became accustomed to their lavish lifestyle.

I submit, therefore, that it is somewhat rational for the Clintons to believe they are above the law. Events so far have proven them correct, haven’t they?

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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