Conventional wisdom has long held that Hillary Clinton, if she runs for president, would be the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 2016. But after a trifecta of scandals buffeting President Obama – fresh questions about the White House’s veracity on Benghazi, the IRS’s harassment of conservative non-profits and the Justice Department seizure of AP telephone records – Clinton’s close connections with Obama could become politically problematic.
Some Republicans believe that revelations about the Benghazi operation could lead to unflattering details that cast questions about Clinton’s stewardship at the State Department. If there was any attempt to downplay the details of what transpired for political reasons, the blowback would be serious. But Clinton could have more to lose over the general tenor of scandal that’s lately suffused this administration. If the media focus shifts from Obama’s second-term legacy to second-term scandal, it would cast a cloud over those looking to capitalize on his coattails.
The last week has been rough for the president. As political analyst Stuart Rothenberg wrote Tuesday, a confident administration now looks “out of touch and unresponsive.” He warns if the controversies worsen, “many Americans will start to doubt his administration’s veracity and values.” The conservative narrative of the Obama White House as hyper-politicized and thin-skinned about its opposition is starting to resemble reality. If that image begins to stick, it will be hard to shake off.