Dear Hillary: Please Spare Us the Sleaze
Hillary Clinton will probably make a fine president. Absent some disqualifying health issue, what part of the Obama voter coalition is not readily available to her? What are the chances the Republican Party will quit the circus, get a straight job and sober up before 2016? Politics is a volatile business -- see Barack Obama, President -- but three years out from 2016 would anyone be surprised if Clinton crushed both her primary and general election opponents?
And yet I keep getting that old feeling: The discomfort verging on queasiness, the sense that something maybe isn't quite right.
Terry McAuliffe, the huckster who managed to do well by doing Clinton, is running for governor of Virginia. Not every bagman is meant to be a prince. Bebe Rebozo, Nixon's floating bank, never ran for governor of Florida -- he managed to be content with a yacht and a solicitous friend in the White House. Can't McAuliffe be satisfied with his connections and the riches he has strip-mined from them?
GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company McAuliffe co-founded, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Though not much is publicly known about the investigation, it seems to involve Gulf Coast Funds Management, a company that seeks investors for GreenTech and in return helps investors obtain U.S. visas. Gulf Coast is run by Anthony Rodham, Hillary Clinton's brother. Maybe it's above board. But I still fear we'll all end up on a cocaine bender in Mena, Arkansas.
It's not Clinton's fault that right-wing kooks are obsessed with her and her spouse, or that her candidacy will revitalize those who have made the Obama presidency a public stage for their psychosis. But there are people in Clinton's orbit who keep opening the door to ugly stuff all by themselves. McAuliffe is one. Her aide Huma Abedin is most definitely another.
Hillary Clinton has remarkable qualities and the nation is almost certainly ready for a woman president. Just don't make us go back to the old days, with McAuliffe's fingers in every pie and Anthony Weiner standing in for Paula Jones. Madame President deserves so much better. We all do.
(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)