If the race to be the next United Nations Secretary-General goes down to the wire, the Kiwi runner can call on the ultimate celebrity endorsement: according to the person who may well be the next leader of the free world, the only things that would survive nuclear war are cockroaches and Helen Clark.

Yes, Hillary Clinton really said that. It could be regarded as a case of the pot calling the kettle black - or white, since it was probably intended as a compliment.

Clinton herself is nothing if not durable: her enemies have been trying to destroy her for 25 years but she's still standing.

She's been the subject of more investigations than fluoridation. It started with the 1993 death of Vince Foster, a colleague and friend from Arkansas who was deputy White House counsel at the start of Bill Clinton's presidency.


Foster's death spawned lurid conspiracy theories, which still continue, and separate investigations by the police and FBI, a coroner, a special investigator and two congressional committees. They all concluded that Foster, who suffered from depression, committed suicide.

That investigation segued into Whitewater, which became a byword for a fishing expedition, an open-ended inquiry seemingly designed to reach a pre-ordained conclusion. Ostensibly focused on a real estate development gone wrong, Whitewater became a 360 examination of the Clintons' Arkansas years.

It lasted practically as long as the Clintons spent in Little Rock and culminated in an 800-page congressional report that diverged on party lines: Democrats dismissed the whole exercise as a witch-hunt; Republicans claimed Mrs Clinton had been the "central figure" in all aspects of alleged wrongdoing. Curiously, given that the multiple investigations led to 15 people being convicted of more than 40 crimes, she wasn't charged with a single offence.

She's currently the focus of two further investigations: into the attacks on US diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, that took place when she was Secretary of State, and her use of a private email server for official communications.

That the Benghazi investigation is essentially about sabotaging Clinton's bid for the White House is now so obvious Republicans no longer bother denying it. This probe into events resulting in four deaths has surpassed those into Pearl Harbour and 9/11 in scope and duration. The Pentagon is now publicly complaining that the Republican-dominated committee's demands for information have become a drain on resources.

Anyone who doubts that society will always find a way to blame a female victim for a male transgression need only look at how her husband's philandering is used to attack her.

For her 1992 response to reports of Bill's affairs - "I'm not sitting here, some little woman standing by her man like Tammy Wynette" - she was accused of insulting housewives everywhere and the entire country and western music community. When she did stand by her man during the Lewinsky affair, she was scorned as a doormat or a closet lesbian in a sham marriage of convenience.

And no game of "how low can you go" would be complete without a contribution from Donald Trump, who last week labelled her "an enabler" of her husband's predatory affairs.

The double standards that have been imposed on Clinton throughout her career are evident in the current campaign. Her inability to put away Bernie Sanders supposedly demonstrates that she'd be a weak nominee. Quite how Sanders, who has secured significantly fewer votes than Clinton over the course of the primary process, emerges from this narrative as the stronger candidate is a mystery, as is the media's forgetfulness about how hard she pushed Barack Obama in 2008. (She actually gained more primary votes than the future president.)

As the nomination race enters the final phase and we look ahead to the main contest, the outlines of an anti-Clinton pincer movement are emerging. The left is indulging its old, pernicious weakness for moral equivalence: Clinton's not a real progressive; in fact, there's little or no meaningful difference between her and Trump so, if that's the choice, we'll sit this one out, thank you.

And after months - years, in some cases - of dismissing Trump as a joke candidate, manifestly unfit to be president, the Republican establishment is now saying anyone, even a classless buffoon with authoritarian tendencies, is preferable to Clinton.

Clinton's had an awful lot thrown at her over the past quarter century. Here comes the kitchen sink.