, , ,

Folks frequently refer to Bill McCellan, a semi-retired columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as a liberal. It must really be so because he tells us in Sunday’s column that he was cheering for Bernie Sanders. Gotta be liberal, even downright progressive, no?

Well, maybe not. McClellan is more than willing to embrace the GOP’s Hillary Clinton narrative. Hillary’s corrupt they say. How do we know this – it’s got to be true because rightwing shills have been making unfounded allegations for the past twenty years and the news media faithfully echo whatever cons say like it’s big doings. To be fair, a good-sized subset of the Bernie bros and gals also really want to believe this moonshine – more in the interest, I suspect of a Bernie victory than anything else. McClellan, however, unless he’s just pulling our collective leg, seems unusually credulous.

Nevertheless, the column’s shtick is that McClellan will hold his nose and chose the whiff of Clinton corruption over the nightmare of the Republican’s Big Orange Stupid. Big of him I say.

McCellan says Bill was bad, but Hillary is worse, corruption personified. He digs up some of the discredited “scandals” of yesteryear – Whitewater anyone? – and adds some of the more recent GOP fantasies to the list. For example:

By the time of the 2016 campaign, the Clintons were infinitely more sophisticated. The symbol of this sophistication was the Clinton Foundation. It was sheer genius. By moving out of the political realm into the world of charity, the Clintons could seek unlimited money from anybody, including foreign nationals and even foreign governments.

If a secretary of state had influence to sell, think what a president could offer potential donors.

Almost certainly, this co-mingling of the financial and the political is what led Hillary to establish a private email server during her tenure at the Department of State.

Newsflash for Bill McClellan: the Clinton Foundation does lots of good with the funds it collects and while it’s no more perfect than any other large NGO, to date nobody has substantiated any of the accusations about the Foundation that he repeats with what I assume is a straight face – in fact nobody has ever demonstrated that there are any grounds for anyone to have made those accusations in the first place. So sorry, Billy Mac, if Hillary’s corrupt, she’s done a good job of hiding it in spite of all the fabricated hullabaloo.

But what I wanna know is if McClellan is so sensitive to corruption, even imaginary corruption, why has he been so gentle with Republican Senator Roy Blunt, named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) as one the capital’s most corrupt politicians? Tom DeLay’s partner in crime? Montsanto’s man in Washington?

In 2007 I noted that McClellan referred to the efforts of the League of Conservation voters to lay out the relationship between Blunt’s votes favoring energy industry interests and his considerable take from that very industry, as nothing more than “negative campaigning” with no reference to the details of the allegations. In the same column, he attributed Blunt’s bountiful campaign war chest to the fact that he represented outstate Missouri values, rather than to his corporate toadying – in spite of a 2005 Washington Post article that outlined the foul-smelling reach of the Blunt fundraising network.

This deference to the local big man is ongoing. Last year, on a Donnybrook program (a political talk show produced by our local PBS affiliate), McClellan sat silently, didn’t turn a hair, while participants called Blunt “scandal free” – an outrage all by itself. I can’t remember or find a citation, but he may have even endorsed Blunt during his Senate race – at any rate he didn’t fulminate over the odoriferous fumes emitted by Big Daddy Blunt and his lobbyist family members (pdf)

So tell me, why do unsubstantiated allegations of Clinton corruption smell worse to McClellan than the piece of political rot we dug out of a stinking Missouri back lot and sent off to Washington to do good deeds for corporate campaign donors?