On Monday evening, The New York Times posted a story about Hillary Clinton’s use of email as secretary of State that immediately had Republicans salivating and Democrats gulping. At the moment it’s still unclear whether Clinton did anything wrong, let alone illegal, but it certainly brought back memories of the 1990s, when we were never without a Clinton scandal, or at least one Republicans were trying to drum up. It’s also a reminder of the fundamentally different kind of scandal-mongering that has gone on for the last six years.
It isn’t for lack of desire. Republicans have certainly tried to whip up scandal at Barack Obama whenever possible. But scandals are driven both by what an administration does and how its opponents choose to go after it.
No administration, particularly one that lasts two terms, is entirely without scandal. It seems impossible to bring thousands of people into positions of authority and not have human weakness express itself. But this administration has actually been remarkably free of major scandals. There has been nothing on the scale of Watergate or Iran-Contra, and the smaller controversies haven’t implicated the president himself.