There are doubts about the honesty of the Clintons. Since the day they entered the national media stage, scandals have framed the careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton, from Gennifer Flowers at the start, to Whitewater, Travelgate, Lewinski and Marc Rich.
The series has been extended this year as Hillary Clinton starts her campaign with e-mail servers and unreported (and possibly conflicted) foundation contributions.
The doubts are registering in polls, and appearing in political commentary and daily speeches of many Republican presidential candidates.
One rule to remember about public opinion and honesty in general, and specifically the Clintons, is the public may believe the politician is integrity-challenged and yet still support them. The best example is Bill Clinton. In his worst days in 1998, the public gave him favorability rating in the 30 to 40 percent range, but presidential approval stayed above 60 percent. And in the 1998 midterm election, Democrats gained seats and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich resigned. Today, Bill Clinton still has a favorability rating above 60 percent.
Hillary may be more vulnerable, but the American people are skeptical of the integrity of most politicians. They are willing to overlook much if they like the person or the job they’re doing. And, as the latest WSJ/NBC News poll and NYT/CBS News show, partisanship often trumps honesty.