Nearly three years since she lost the 2016 presidential race to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton clearly still hasn’t gotten over it and moved on. One Washington, D.C.-based talk-radio host speculates that Mrs. Clinton — who turns 72 on Saturday — wakes up every morning at her estate in Chappaqua, N.Y., facedown on the floor next to a box of cheap New Zealand chardonnay after crying herself to sleep the night before. The bitterness of that “what might have been” — her shattered dream of shattering the glass ceiling at the White House — apparently plays out on an endless-loop tape in her head, where Mr. Trump (and now also a Hawaii congresswoman) reside rent-free.
The two-year probe (aka “witch hunt”) by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III of Mr. Trump’s alleged campaign collusion with the Russians — which was supposed to vindicate the former first lady, even if it wouldn’t put her back in the White House — was a colossal bust. It might be over, but not for Mrs. Clinton, who has now concocted a bizarre Russia Collusion 2.0 narrative for the 2020 election. In Mrs. Clinton’s cockamamie conspiracy theory, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — is a Russian agent.
In an interview last week on the “Campaign HQ” podcast hosted by David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Mrs. Clinton suggested that the Russians are “grooming [Gabbard] to be the third-party candidate.”
“She’s the favorite of the Russians,” Mrs. Clinton said. “They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far — and that’s assuming [2016 Green Party candidate] Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset.”
The implication was that any such third-party candidacy would only ensure that Mr. Trump would win re-election a little more than a year from now. Mrs. Gabbard has denied any intention to mount an independent presidential bid. (Just as an aside, it’s worth noting that most news media reports of Mrs. Clinton’s “Manchurian candidate” allegations weren’t prefaced with the same adjectives — such as “unfounded,” “baseless” or “false” — now routinely applied, with editorializing abandon, to practically every claim Mr. Trump makes. Double-standards, anyone?)
It’s an odd accusation to level at Mrs. Gabbard, who is a major in the U.S. (not Russian) Army National Guard and served in Iraq. But she also has been highly critical of the U.S. role as “the world’s policeman” (a position she shares with Mr. Trump) and of what she called a U.S.-led “regime-change war” against Syrian strongman Bashar Assad. The Hawaii Democrat fired back with both barrels, calling her party’s twice-failed presidential candidate a warmonger and the “embodiment of corruption and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.” Mrs. Gabbard said she had long wondered who was behind the “concerted campaign to destroy my reputation,” adding: “Now we know.”
Mrs. Clinton’s “Russian agent” charge is as curious as it is scurrilous, inasmuch as Mrs. Gabbard is hardly a Trump acolyte. The Hawaii Democrat is a lefty who backed the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the openly socialist Vermont independent, for the 2016 party nomination. But anyone who read the 2014 book “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton” can probably surmise that the real reason Mrs. Clinton would, out of the blue, turn on a fellow Democrat is simply because Mrs. Gabbard didn’t support America’s entitled Eva Peron for the party’s 2016 nod. The book, by Jonathan Allen of NBC News and Amie Parnes of The Hill, revealed that the Clintons (both Bill and Hillary) have long memories — and longer knives — for anyone who crossed them over more than two decades, tracking it all on a detailed Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of “saints and sinners,” whom they would reward or punish accordingly.
That also likely explains why Mrs. Gabbard’s rivals for the party’s nomination who came to her defense didn’t criticize Mrs. Clinton — who The New York Times reported Oct. 22 has looked at making a third run — for making the baseless accusation. Rep. Justin Amash, Michigan Republican-turned-independent and a certified Never-Trumper, was not similarly constrained. “The thing we know for sure is that Hillary Clinton is a Donald Trump asset. Hillary does — and did — drive many people into the arms of Donald Trump,” Mr. Amash tweeted. “Her attack on Tulsi does likewise.” If there really is “no such thing as bad publicity,” Mrs. Gabbard’s flagging campaign might ironically benefit, at least in the short term, from Mrs. Clinton’s outlandish allegation.