Charles Cooke‘s latest National Review Online column explains why the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email account while serving as U.S. secretary of state surprises almost no one.

Even in the most myopic corners of the Democratic party’s vast and ruthless political machine, the radar is picking up a faint cri de coeur. “Is Hillary really our best choice?” beeps the signal in the darkest parts of the night. And then, before it can provoke too much restlessness or dissension in the ranks, it fades and disappears under the weight of present expectations. In the coming weeks, whenever the progressive soul is at its most restive, this question will haunt the skeptics with a renewed and discomfiting vigor.

Political scandals are never more penetrating than when they confirm a set of pre-existing suspicions, and Hillary’s latest imbroglio is a doozy of election-changing proportions. Sarah Palin was so gravely injured by her inability to name her daily newspaper because the failure served only to buttress the widespread presumption that she was an intellectual lightweight. The endless batch of “elitist!” arrows that were cast at John Kerry in 2004 found their target because, deep down, Americans worried sincerely that he was too effete to be commander-in-chief. This being so, the news that Hillary Clinton broke a series of federal laws in the name of her own pride will presumably pursue the candidate all the way to the next election. Hillary’s error, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza proposes today, is damaging precisely because it “plays into everything people don’t like about her.” Worse still, the charge was first heard within the pages of the friendly New York Times.