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Monday, September 12, 2016

Megan McArdle:Just like Hillary, the old Clinton spin machine is showing its age

...Liberal New Yorkers rushed to paint the city as a sort of Death Valley of the East, its streets littered with the fallen bodies of those who had dared to step outside for more than a few minutes. Eventually someone on Team Clinton seemed to realize that the “overheated” story was making her sound like a frail old lady and we got a new story: Clinton had pneumonia.

Now the spin began rotating fast enough to power a high-speed monorail. There was no story here except the one about a brave politician who had disregarded personal sickness to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Clinton had gone to work sick because “that’s what women do.” Anyone still talking about her health after this remarkable display of physical stamina was a scurrilous partisan and a bad journalist. UCLA sociologist Gabriel Rossman had the tweet that I think best captured the flavor of the exercise: “Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un shakes the world with the spirit of Juche by collapsing at a military parade.”

To state the obvious: Obviously Hillary Clinton’s health matters, and the public has a right to know whether she has the physical stamina to be president. Obviously Sunday’s events are a real story, not only because of what happened, but because the Clinton team lied about it. If it didn’t matter, why did they lie, and hide it from her press pool?

Perhaps less obvious, but also true: this whole cycle was straight out of the playbook that worked for Bill Clinton for many years. Hide, deny, lie, and when that lie breaks down, spin another while surrogates and supporters attack. That playbook lost its mojo on Jan. 19, 1998, when the Drudge Report broke the story of Monica Lewinsky’s presidential trysts. It has been steadily getting less effective since that day. Unfortunately, the only person who doesn’t seem to realize that is Hillary Clinton...

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