Michael Goodwin in the NY Daily News:
Way back in 1992, when Hillary and Hubba Bubba first burst onto the national scene, many Americans expressed doubts about their honesty and integrity. Clintonesque, parsing, the definition of "is" - those and other phrases became polite shorthand ways of accusing a Clinton of lying.Attacks?
Fast forward to last week, to fresh proof that the charge is still political dynamite. If Sen. Clinton loses the nomination because of the honesty gap, she can't say she wasn't warned.
Indeed, one of the mysteries of the Democratic race so far is why she fell into a predictable trap. She and her team, including the former President, are addicted to polls the way some people are addicted to crack. They had to see the red flags on basic character questions, yet they did nothing to confront them. And so Hillary has been Hillary, to a fault.
Now she is starting to pay the price. Winning the nomination, which seemed inevitable for nearly a year, is becoming a serious challenge. Suddenly, she looks neither invincible nor inevitable.
Polls that show Sen. Barack Obama picking up support at her expense in Iowa, New Hampshire and nationally perfectly illustrate Clinton's weakness.
Asked which candidate is most honest and trustworthy, Clinton came in fourth in New Hampshire and third in Iowa. Only 13% rated her tops in that category in New Hampshire, with Obama getting 27% and both John Edwards and Bill Richardson doing better than her. In Iowa, Clinton got only 15% on the same question.
In both states, Obama gained ground she lost. He now leads for the first time in Iowa, 30% to her 26%, according to the ABC/Washington Post survey, with Edwards at 22%. And her 23-point lead in New Hampshire shrunk by 9 points in a month, according to the CNN/WMUR survey, which put her ahead by 36%-22% over Obama.
Given her relative strength across the board, the results hardly qualify as a great unraveling, but neither are they incidental. Less than a month after Obama and Edwards began making more direct attacks on her candor, cracks began showing. That's not a very long time under the gun to suffer such damage and the quick results will only encourage more attacks. [...]
What Obama and Edwards are doing is just reminding voters of Senator Clinton's background.
Have they said anything that isn't factual?
And yes, they’ve only just begun.
Neither Obama nor Edwards has reminded voters, for instance, that Hillary’s Rose Law Firm billing records "disappeared" for a few years, only to be “discovered” on a table in the Clinton White House.
How about that?
Goodwin ends with:
But even if she prevails in the primaries, the damage her rivals are inflicting is likely just beginning.Goodwin’s entire column is here.
Most of the GOP field is already attacking her along the same lines, so the general election would follow a similar script. Tellingly, she accused Edwards and Obama of echoing "Republican talking points."
Well, yes, that's true - because there is bipartisan agreement she has an honesty gap. And she has only herself to blame.
Just one blogger’s opinion but Hillary’s “honesty gap” seems more like a wide chasm.
What do you think? Gap? Chasm? Or should we blame everything on “the “vast right-wing conspiracy?”
Hat tip: RealClearPolitics.com