The Clinton E-Mail Flap . . . a Fart in a Typhoon

The Clinton E-Mail Flap . . . a Fart in a Typhoon

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No doubt some Republicans— the right-wing conspiracy wackos and the Benghazi nut-cases, like dogs with an old bone—will want (out of desperation) to chew on this latest Clinton miscue, the flap over her “secret” e-mails, right up until the 2016 election. The Republicans—in order to discredit Hillary, and hurt the 2016 election prospect of the most formidable candidate they could face—will do anything to portray this as a diabolical Clintonesque plot to subvert the constitution and derail the little choo-choo train chugging along on what we all want to believe is the American “good government” track.

Hillary_Clinton_speaking_at_Families_USAAs a politician, Hillary Clinton has her shortcomings; but a lack of patriotism is not one of them. She’s as strong a patriot as any Republican within the Washington beltway, and better than most.  And whatever else she may or may not be, she’s not stupid. She’s not my perfect candidate, but I’ll vote for her if I have to—only because she’s better than the alternative.  Was this e-mail thing a mistake by Clinton and her team? Yeah, probably.  Does this meet the ideal of transparency that we would all as citizens like to see in our government?  I would say no. Is this the end of freedom and democracy? Or, more importantly, will this cause her to lose to her Republican opponent in the coming presidential election, should she decide to run—probably not.

In time the e-mails will all be released and reporters and the Clinton opposition will have plenty of time to pore over them in search—I suppose —of some kind of “smoking gun”. Some deed so dastardly and so evil, something only a Clinton mind could conjure, something so nefarious as to disqualify her as a candidate for the presidency. At this point, this is the last, best hope for Republicans because they don’t (on any horizon that I can see) have a candidate that could beat her in the upcoming election. Republicans are going to fixate on this not because they’re so obsessed with good government (we should all laugh at that joke) but because a scandal of major proportions involving Hillary is the only thing they have right now to stop the Clinton juggernaut.

That the Clinton political organization is not a model of transparency shouldn’t surprise us.

That the Clinton political organization is not a model of transparency shouldn’t surprise us.  What political machine ever is? How about the Nixon-Kissinger team? They were hardly what you’d call “sunshine” politicians. And let’s remember back a few years to the Reagan era and Iran-Contra.  Top Reagan lieutenants (virtually his whole inner circle) —including his National Security Advisors Robert McFarland and General John Poindexter, the Director of the CIA William Casey (he died before he could go to prison), his Secretary of State George Schultz and Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger, Attorney General Edwin Meese and Oliver North of the Reagan National Security Council —were shown to have been involved in a scheme to sell arms to Iran in exchange for hostages, and using the money from the sales to fund the Contras in Nicaragua in their fight against the Sandinistas (the elected government), a violation of congressional law at the time (the Boland Amendment)—and probably an impeachable offense. This really was the “Gang that couldn’t Shoot Straight”. And of course—in true Republican fashion—nobody involved ever went to jail.

After the Tower Commission report, there were fourteen indictments involving all these men and eleven convictions—on charges ranging from lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and the destruction of documents. Some of the convictions were later vacated on appeal. Those remaining were pardoned by George H.W. Bush at the end of his presidency—another shining example of Republican good government and American justice. Ever since Watergate it’s become a standard in Washington for Republicans to get presidential pardons, and then a prestigious job at a conservative Washington “think tank”. Witness Scooter Libby (Dick Cheney’s lap dog) only the latest Republican to be officially pardoned (granted a “stay” on his sentence by George Bush) for lying to prosecutors and obstructing justice.

In public statements Reagan never took any direct responsibility other than to allow that some of his underlings may have strayed a little off the reservation. Oliver North—part of the Reagan national security team and the principle driver in the funding operation—later said in a book that Reagan knew full well what was going on and had signed off on everything. We’ll never know the truth because all the documents relating to Reagan’s part in the scandal were destroyed. Think what Republicans would be saying and doing today if something like this were going on in the Obama administration.  This is probably not the time for the R’s to get too self-righteous about their politics. Also, we should remember that Ken Starr, the Republican’s “Star” Whitewater prosecutor wasted tens of millions of the tax payer’s money in an earlier Clinton investigation that produced absolutely nothing.

So before we get the political long knives out, maybe we should wait and see what is actually in the e-mails. If Clinton was just trading recipes or gossipy little tidbits with friends about the quirks and private eccentricities of some foreign leaders that’s one thing. It might prove embarrassing for her,  and possibly even for her state department; but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a major national scandal like the Republicans are probably hoping, and is more—like I said—just a fart in a typhoon. If, on the other hand, she was knowingly and willfully putting the vital national security interests of the country at risk—well, that’s a entirely different matter. We’ll have to just wait and see.

The Money Trader

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