Much is being made of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, which she used when she was Secretary of State. To me, the real issue is not that Hillary endangered national security by sending classified information in the clear. No — the real issue is that the Clintons act as if they are above the rules and laws that apply to “the little people.” They are superior and smug, totally devoted to themselves and their pursuit of power and the privileges that come with it. It’s a matter of character, in other words. Hillary’s evasiveness, her lack of transparency, her self-righteousness, her strong sense of her own rectitude, make her a dangerous candidate for the presidency.
My second point is this: The issue of classification should be turned on its head. The real issue is not that Hillary potentially revealed secrets. No — the real issue is that our government keeps far too much from us. Our government uses security classification not so much to keep us safe, but to keep the national security state safe — safe from the eyes of the American people.
As The Guardian reported in 2013:
“A committee established by Congress, the Public Interest Declassification Board, warned in December that rampant over-classification is ‘imped[ing] informed government decisions and an informed public’ and, worse, ‘enabl[ing] corruption and malfeasance’. In one instance it documented, a government agency was found to be classifying one petabyte of new data every 18 months, the equivalent of 20m filing cabinets filled with text.”
Nowadays, seemingly everything is classified. And if it’s classified, if it’s secret, we can’t know about it. Because we can’t be trusted with it. That’s a fine idea for an autocracy or dictatorship, but not so fine for a democracy.
Government of the people, by the people, for the people? Impossible when nearly everything of any importance is classified.
Too bad Hillary didn’t send everything in the clear — what a service she would have done for the American people and for democracy!
41 thoughts on “Two Points About the Hillary Clinton Email Fiasco”
New Aussie based Blog Launched!
“pox amerikana”!! I like it, I like it! (The name at least, haven’t clicked on the link.)…Wait, you mean one of our Australian friends and allies is critical of the United States?!? I’m shocked, simply shocked!!
I remember reading a book back in the 1970s by Clive Irving called “Pox Britannica: The Unmaking of the British”.
In the final analysis it is the Congress, representatives of the people who have allowed the predicament of greater government control of all things the people need to know while all the things needed to benefit the nation like oversight over Wall Street, food and drugs, maintaining National Parks, infrastructure, making medicare and social security financially sound are all neglected. Our TV networks have become propaganda organs rarely covering the pervasive deficiencies of government. The Clintons, like most politicians, use the system for their own benefit or a narrow group while neglecting the needs of the citizenry for a vibrant democracy, republic.
The United States has never been a democracy and has a long history of crushing democracies in other countries.
If what she did was unprecedented, you might have a point about “the Clintons”. Unfortunately, it isn’t. For example, Colin Powell also used a private e-mail address, didn’t turn over any of his e-mails to the State Department, and now — like Clinton — claims that most of his e-mails were captured by the system because they were addressed to other State employees on their State.gov addresses. Of course, there’s no way to know for sure, because he now claims that he doesn’t have any of the e-mails and the account is closed.
Your second point isn’t about “the Hillary Clinton Email fiasco”. It’s about the federal government in general.
Reddox.. So because others got away with illegal activities it’s OK for Clinton? I guess with that argument you could exonerate the CIA, Military, and the Bushies for torturing and ignoring habeas corpus just like Pinochet, et al?
I think you are not aware of the fact that Clinton’s actions with her “private” e-mail’s very existence broke the law governing State Dept. regulations. As Prof. Astore’s comments above on the Clinton’s hubris implies do you want a dictator who does what they want with the law or a president of a democracy?
The “Hillary Clinton e-mail fiasco” is about Hillary Clinton’s fitness to serve as the head of a country in deep trouble. If one has greater interest in belling this cat read this 25 year veteran State Department officer’s assessment of the Clinton protection machine. http://wemeantwell.com/
b. traven Let me just say up front that for many reasons, I’m not a supporter of Hillary Clinton and would prefer to see someone else get the Democratic nomination next year.
In response to your comment, I’m not going to get into some broad-based government fault-finding dragging in the CIA and the military, because that’s just too big a subject for a blog post or a comment on a blog post — and it’s a ridiculous leap from a criticism of Hillary Clinton’s handling of e-mails.
And as for the “Bushies” torturing, there are actually legal restrictions on that, ranging from Title 18 of the U.S. Code (found by a U.S. court in 2006 to apply extraterritorially), to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the United States ratified in 1994 (treaties being part of U.S. law), to the Constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. So no, I’m not going to defend that, and I believe the Obama administration was wrong in refusing to prosecute. But again, unfortunately (gee–the very word I used in my original comment), there are so many people who went along with those policies that a large number of people in both the executive and legislative branches would have to be prosecuted.
Which gets back to my point, which was that I’m tired of hearing people like the author of the original post act like “the Clintons” are some special case or that they’re inordinately corrupt. That’s the kind of thinking that gave us eight years of ridiculous witch hunting in the 1990s and continues to fuel Republican insanity today. What did that witch hunting uncover? Nothing horrific, frankly. No interventions in peace talks, like Nixon in 1968, or interventions in hostage negotiations like Casey, Bush, and Reagan in 1980. No use of the IRS or some covert White House dirty tricks group to go after political enemies, like Nixon in the 1970s. No illegal foreign policy initiatives like Reagan and Bush with Iran-Contra in the 1980s. No lies to justify wars, like both Bushes.
So far, I don’t see where Hillary Clinton has done anything illegal regarding the e-mails. You could make a case that she was really stupid, knowing how people react to “the Clintons”, to make such a decision in the first place or to create any appearance of grudging compliance later. You could make a case that she should have used a state.gov address as well as her personal e-mail, in order to be in full compliance with National Archive rules. You could make a case that she shouldn’t have been the one to decide which e-mails to turn over to the State Department when she was first requested to do so. But nothing about any of that is illegal. She was only the fourth Secretary of State to serve during the era of general e-mail usage. When Madeleine Albright was secretary, the State Department’s whole computer system was pretty primitive. As I said, Colin Powell handled his e-mails in much the same way as Hillary Clinton. Condoleezza Rice claims she didn’t use e-mail, but the Bush administration overall was embroiled in a huge e-mail record-keeping scandal in 2007.
Clinton is not under criminal investigation. There was no explicit prohibition on government officials using personal e-mails when she was Secretary of State, according to the former director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy. According to the founder of OMB Watch, “She was in compliance with the laws and regulations at the time.” It was only after she left the State Department that the National Archives recommended that government employees avoid conducting official business on personal e-mails, although they acknowledged that there would always be emergencies. Only in 2014 did the president sign changes to the Federal Records Act that explicitly said federal officials can only use personal email addresses if they also copy or send the emails to their official account.
It’s a bit hysterical to imply that Hillary Clinton would be a dictator. And having been a career Foreign Service officer myself, I’m well aware of Peter van Buren’s book and blog.
I didn’t say the Clintons are “inordinately corrupt.” Those are your words — and your description.
Here’s what I did write: “They are superior and smug, totally devoted to themselves and their pursuit of power and the privileges that come with it. It’s a matter of character, in other words. Hillary’s evasiveness, her lack of transparency, her self-righteousness, her strong sense of her own rectitude, make her a dangerous candidate for the presidency.”
That’s my opinion, of course, based on what I’ve observed and read. Telling us about all the politicians who are worse than the Clintons is a strange way of defending them. But I see you’re no fan of Hillary. Perhaps you’ll tell us why?
From b. traven, who asked me to post this:
Reddox….Do you want the only standard we should apply to candidates’ wrongdoings is if it is not criminal and illegal, it does not matter? That is a pretty low bar for the office of President of our country. I’d like to vote for a President who, in addition to not being a convicted criminal, is also somewhat honest, with good judgement and who at least feigns putting the nation’s interests before his/her own. That is a bar that Hillary Clinton can not jump over.
At 91 I have lived under about nine or ten Presidents and i have never seen such an undeserving group of candidates, both Republican and Democratic, in my adult memory. I would not put Sanders in this group and possibly O’Malley although I know very little about him
I went to war in 1943 under a President, who although born to riches, understood the plight of the poor and turned bis back on his privileged class to enact sweeping social legislation that benefited the downtrodden that Hillary, her husband, and the Republican party helped to tear down. I truly do not understand the argument you have presented.
wjastore There is no reply option on your comments below, so I will reply here. First of all, you mistake what I was saying in my original remarks. My goal wasn’t so much to defend the Clintons as to challenge your fixation on them. For the better part of twenty-five years, we’ve heard about “the Clintons” as if they are something unusual. Your remarks are more of the same, and frankly this line of discussion is not helpful. More talk about the evil, evil Clintons is trite and reductive and ignores the broader issues.
I see any number of politicians, not to mention corporate executives and other elites in this country, who — as you say — “act as if they are above the rules and laws that apply to ‘the little people'”, who are “superior and smug, totally devoted to themselves and their pursuit of power and the privileges that come with it.” Again, why single “the Clintons” out? How, exactly, are they so much worse than many, many others that could be named?
You say that “Hillary’s evasiveness, her lack of transparency, her self-righteousness, her strong sense of her own rectitude, make her a dangerous candidate for the presidency.” That’s just hyperbole. I’d grant that she is probably temperamentally not the best suited to be president. After decades of being treated like a treacherous gorgon, she’s inordinately reticent and suspicious. But I don’t exactly see her as Richard Nixon in female form. To say that she is “dangerous” is absurd.
So you didn’t specifically use the words “inordinately corrupt” in your remarks. I didn’t say that you did. I said you “acted like” this was the problem. You did, however, say this woman is “dangerous”, that she is “totally devoted” to pursuing power and privilege. You as much as said she lacks character. I don’t see a lot of difference there. But split hairs if you must.
I didn’t say that “the only standard we should apply to candidates’ wrongdoings is if it is not criminal and illegal, it does not matter”. I did argue in response to b. traven’s implication that Hillary Clinton had done something illegal, which it appears she has not — so far. And I asked why the same standards and expectations aren’t applied across the board, when others have engaged in the same if not worse behavior. If we’re going to talk about government records and secret e-mails, I’d like to know, for example, about voter suppression activities in Florida during the 2000 election by the Jeb Bush administration, and collusion with the Florida secretary of state who was also a co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign. Do you think you’ll see those e-mails? Is anyone asking about them? I don’t think so.
My reasons for not supporting Hillary Clinton? I don’t support her policies. She was a Goldwater Girl in her youth, and it shows in her foreign policy hawkishness. She and her husband are DLC Democrats, and their willingness to compromise with rightwingers has caused serious economic damage. I have similar views of Barack Obama.
From b. traven (again):
Reddox: I agree 100% with your last paragraph above. But, my, what a circuitous route you took to get there.
Personally I believe Obama is the worst president this country has had the misfortune to elect to that high office. Not only did he betray the promises he made to be elected from his first day in office but he neutered the Democratic base by throwing them occasional legislative bones that conned them into shifting blame to the Republicans for his failures to live up to his electoral promises.Richard Nixon showed more presidential vision in four years with the “Clean Water Act and the outreach to China than Obama has in two terms in office.
Re. Your question on why Hillary Clinton is singled out for examination? Why she is the one running for President. That’s why. The office matters.
Astore here: I agree with traven. And I don’t have a Clinton obsession. But Hillary is running for president and she’s the presumptive democratic nominee (and probably the favorite at this point to be elected). Very close scrutiny comes with the territory of running for the nation’s highest office.
I will say this about Hillary: I think she’s the smartest candidate running. But I don’t think she’s a skilled politician. She’s not a consensus-builder. She’s a polarizing figure. She’ll only exacerbate the gridlock in Washington. And she’s a hawk on defense, meaning more debilitating wars and more dead innocents around the world. My previous comments were intended to make the point that she’s out of touch with ordinary Americans (like most politicians, of course). Hillary sees herself as being above the rules; she acts that way, and then makes the technical defense “I broke no laws.” A lawyer’s defense, like Bill Clinton’s “I didn’t have sex with that woman.”
Talk about hair-splitting! That’s what the Clintons are expert at.
Well, b.traven, it’s one thing to be critical of Barack Obama, but anyone who lived through the George W. Bush administration and then adopts the line that Obama is the “worst president this country has had the misfortune to elect to that high office” has taken leave of his senses.
I didn’t take a circuitous route to anything. I started out with a very simple criticism: wjastore’s comments were a bit over the top. They were typical of the so-called “Clinton rules” fixation that has plagued us for decades. My comment was not a defense of Hillary Clinton. It was an observation that exaggeration — so commonplace in any discussion that involves either Clinton — does not make a point. And digressing to a much broader, marginally related topic for one’s supposed second point is just weak argument.
For that, I got a response that was even more over the top, about dictators and Pinochet and Bush torture. Do you really think such dire ranting deserves to be taken seriously?
Criticize the Clintons for their policies. There’s a lot to be criticized. They’ve both done much to advance policies of the right wing agenda. They’re both creatures of the consensus politics among Washington elites of both major parties that limits political dialogue in this country. But spare me these jeremiads about how especially evil they are. It isn’t going to change the minds of Clinton supporters, who are used to hearing these things from the right.
Unfortunately for all of us, the case can be made that the reason the Clintons have been successful is that they’ve been effective at competing with the tactics of the Republicans, unlike many on the left these days. And therein lies the problem: We live in a generally corrupted political environment that rewards certain kinds of candidates. One party in particular — with the support of wealthy interests behind the scenes — has spent decades honing a propaganda machine while using divide and rule tactics.
Meanwhile, commenters on a site that claims to ask hard questions waste their time on sanctimonious, self-indulgent personal attacks no different from those that have gone on for years, even when Hillary Clinton wasn’t running for president.
Incidentally — the Clean Water Act of 1972 was passed over Nixon’s objections, not because of his initiative. He even tried to impound funds for its implementation. It went to the Supreme Court. And the only reason he made an overture to China was to take advantage of friction between the Chinese and the Russians. Not particularly idealistic.
Rightwingers just love this kind of circular firing squad displayed in your arguments. You’re not engaging in “very close scrutiny”. You’re just mouthing the very things the right loves to hear.
Another perspective. FYI.
Reddox: You, like me, would prefer not to see Hillary as president. At least we agree on that. And I agree with you on the DLC, the rightward turn by Democrats such as the Clintons that was meant to neutralize GOP criticisms of the party as being weak and too liberal. The DLC helped to change American politics, giving us two business/war parties: the GOP and the GOP-lite (the Democrats as represented by the Clintons as well as by Obama’s policies).
To repeat myself: I’ve never said the Clintons are inherently corrupt or evil. As politicians, Bill is more adroit, Hillary is more polarizing. My criticisms of Hillary stem not only from recent events but from her handling of health care reform under her husband Bill — a badly botched effort. So I stand by my “sanctimonious” critique of her. Character matters in politics, especially at the highest levels of power, and I find her wanting in certain qualities that I’d want in a leader.
Let’s take this email issue again. Her latest statement is that she didn’t knowingly send material in her emails on her private served that was marked “secret.” In other words, she obeyed the letter of the law. But this leaves an opening that her emails may have contained classified material that was not marked as such (which apparently did happen). She’s now saying that if that happened, it’s because of interagency disputes about what should be classified, i.e. she’s shifting the blame to “interagency disputes” while evading any direct responsibility.
In my view, she should simply say: “I used poor judgment in using a private server. I take full responsibility for any information sent in the clear that was classified, even if I didn’t know it was classified at the time. I hold myself to high standards, and in this case I failed to meet those standards, ones that I should be expected to uphold, indeed to exceed, as Secretary of State. I will do far better as President.”
But I haven’t heard anything like that. She keeps saying: I broke no law, and anyway the American people don’t care. Again, not the response I want from a candidate for the presidency.
I must say I’m amazed at the volume of comments on this thread, to point where I kind of dread adding to it. But I will! I think the focus fell on HRC because of concern that the US is now saddled with the prospect of two politician-dynasties occupying the White House…indefinitely? Chelsea Clinton and those daughters of Dubya will turn 35 some day, after all. I can tell you, no one has polled my opinion on whether this is a good thing! I will credit this discussion with providing me a minor epiphany: the realization that it’s the success of Dems in moving to the right that forced the GOP to adopt its current craziness. Honestly, you have to be willing to drink the Kool-aid of Kraziness to swear allegiance to the modern version of Mr. Lincoln’s party. One must assume ol’ Abe would vigorously renounce the modern GOP, once he could be convinced it really is The Republican Party.
As for “b. traven” concluding that Obama is worse than the Cheney/Bush regime, I agree this is absurd (though of course we generously allow him to hold that opinion!). I’m not at all sure that O promised us Peace On Earth and Free Universal Health Care. To the extent we believed the election of an African-American POTUS might finally signal a real change in direction for this nation…yes, we are entitled to be bitterly, bitterly disappointed. He has escalated some of the policies he inherited, viz. intrusiveness of the National Security State, but at least he has not launched new military actions on the scale of the original assaults on Iraq and Afghanistan. Not yet, at least!
Sigh. OK, wjastore. Here we go again. You didn’t specifically use the words inherently corrupt. You just used the words “totally devoted” to the “pursuit of power and the privileges that come with it”. And you didn’t specifically use the word evil. You just said “dangerous”. What, exactly, does any of that imply? Is Hillary Clinton staging a coup or something? Is she going to send you to a concentration camp? I repeat, your remarks are ridiculous hyperbole and I’m sorry I even responded to such time-wasting nonsense.
And still you continue to return to your dead horse, although suddenly you’ve decided to also bring in a 20-year old policy failure. If character matters so much overall, will you be chastising other candidates? Will you actually criticize the system that rewards and encourages less than ethical behavior? Will you say something about the decades-long campaign of fear-mongering that has reduced most of the politicians in this country to cowering invertebrates who live in terror of being seen as not “tough” enough? Will you say something about the campaign finance system that has many of the candidates being funded by their own private billionaires?
The e-mail investigation, like the Benghazi investigation, has not been the least bit surprising in how it has unfolded. People make their judgments as they learn the facts and try to sift through the rightwing propaganda that shrouds everything a Democratic politician does. Clinton has made plenty of mistakes and stupid choices. But does this make her “dangerous”? Hardly.
My goodness, Reddox. I’ve written 200+ articles for this site, roughly 40 for TomDispatch.com, and 100+ for Huffington Post, Truthout, and so on, and I assure you that maybe 1 or 2 of these focus on the Clintons! For my views on the subjects you mention, I invite you to read some of these articles — if you can stand it. Best to you.
Reddox–The folks who post here, other than the occasional wingnut perturbed by the views expressed on TCP, are generally HIGHLY critical of the gross failures of US politics/policies, precisely the concerns that you cite. As the presumed Dem candidate (despite Bernie’s recent poll showings), HRC is bound to draw a lot of scrutiny. But I think this discussion has gone as far as it “ought to.” BTW, I only now saw your mention of a “George P.” Bush; didn’t get an email alert on that post. I wasn’t aware such a being existed. If Hillary succeeds in blasting the Oval Office open to having a woman occupant, don’t count Dubya’s twins out of the running! But, personally, I hope my cremated ashes will have been spread about before such a thing can come to fruition!
greglaxer: Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater would have doubts about the modern Republican Party. Neither one of them would be acceptable.
I agree that people have a problem with the Bush/Clinton dynasty issue. But I doubt it’s George W.’s daughters you have to worry about. Jeb’s son George P. is already Land Commissioner in Texas, a very influential office in that state.
greglaxer: I think I had already indicated that I wasn’t planning to debate further by saying I regretted responding in the first place and thought I’d wasted my time. I will, however, respond to you and then I’m done.
I’m well aware of what most of “the folks who post here” write about, as I have read it. My concern was this particular article, which I considered very poorly argued.
I don’t really care what kinds of other articles wjastore has written or where, because I found his writing underwhelming. There’s plenty of mediocre material on Huffington and Truthout. Maybe he has only written a couple of times about the Clintons. But in this article, he sounded like any number of crazed rightwingers who have written about them.
I have no doubt that as the current Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton will be subjected to scrutiny, as she should be. But how many times and in how many ways do I have to say that my objection was to the use of hysterical language and exclusive condemnation in a situation that is not unprecedented?
Reddox–Your points are well taken…by me! But I ain’t in charge around here! Best to you…
The National Security state has invoked the shibboleth “national security” for decades to hide all matter of improprieties, malfeasance, negligence, fraud, and outright treason against the People of the United States.
SCOTUS has gone along with it which makes SCOTUS a co-conspirator. It’s a coup by any other name…
At Lenin’s direction, one of the first acts of the Bolshevik regime in late 1917 was to make public all the secret diplomatic dealings the Czars had engaged in. In a hypothetical revolution in this country, imagine how daunting would be the task of digging out all the data stored digitally by the National Security State (that which the fleeing old regime failed to destroy)!! We’d need to put a hundred Ed Snowdens to work on the job, around the clock!…Meanwhile, getting back to Hillary, isn’t it about time for the next Congressional hearing on the Benghazi Affair?!? Assuming Congress isn’t too busy still trying to repeal “Obamacare”!
Greg.. read the 800 page biography STALIN written with a day by day tracking Stalin ( who was Lenin’s boy) and Lenin who upon the Bolsheviks attaining power not merely kept secret the CP’s decisions but saw to it that the OGPU secret police liquidated any opposition with extreme prejudice. ( Apocalypse Now language).This biography is sourced from the authors access to all of the archives on that period including up to 1928. A second volume is supposed to come out covering the next few years followed by a third volume to the end of Stalin’s reign. In my opinion it is the best and most complete biography I have ever read. Just the documented facts not suppositions.
You are just plain in error, “traven”! Stalin was a mid-level functionary, considered dependable, in the Bolshevik organization prior to the seizure of power. After the armed insurrection his talent for maneuvering and manipulating blossomed. In his unofficial “last will and testament,” Lenin suggested he could not be trusted with the reins of power. Trotsky underestimated Stalin’s ability to affect Party members with his innuendo, plotting and just plain bullying. He failed to defend himself vigorously, apparently trusting Party members to do the right thing. So in 1929 Trotsky was forcibly exiled (via Istanbul) and Stalin was unleashed to liquidate his opponents who remained on Soviet territory (and a few who’d fled abroad). Stalin contributed nothing of worth in terms of Socialist theory in the years of exile and underground work leading up to 1917. After he gained control, of course, any drivel he penned became sacred text. Only in the sense I gave up front, that Stalin was considered a solid and dependable Party member, could one remotely call him “Lenin’s boy.”
Thanks for the comic relief!
Nowadays we are in a black hole of our own doing. Most of us are too lazy to get involved or even informed about the amendments, bills, acts etc that are everyday brought to the floor of the Senate and the Congress. If and when some interest decides to shine the light on any of them, then we sign petitions in favor or against it. There is no easy solution for the mess we created. Every politician at one time or another broke some law. And still we kept silent. Silence is approval. Old age gives a different perspective of history. The one that fails is always man. All law can be good if applied and followed by good people. All errors can be corrected if caught on time. But the human condition is our main rule and we keep on doing the same errors and then denying them. As long as we do not improve the human condition by educating future parents and also our children education agenda by teaching the true history, that is Humanities, and we do not face our weaknesses on its mirror, the error will be the monarch and we the serfs.
Hillary Clinton wants to be a candidate. That is why we are being told the story about her emails. Sen. Ernie Sanders is another candidate but we do not hear anything about him. Why? Because he does not care whether he wins or loses. He does not want to compete, he just wants to be heard. But the current human condition loves the gossip, because if it liked the truth a real investigation would have taken place a long time ago. But by whom? There is nobody that can throw the first stone. So, for those who believe, a second coming is needed to solve this problem.
We are caught up in issues of politics (War is Politics by other means) … there is ‘reality’ beyond politics but it is difficult to justify opinions on ‘reality’. Reality, mother nature, will ‘win’ in the end.
University of Utah. “Is global warming unstoppable?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 November 2009. .
“All errors can be corrected if caught on time.” It may be to late.
“I believe that when discontent with a government takes root, it gradually acquires so irresistible a strength that nothing is able to restrain it.” (Porfirio)
Re: A View from Down Under
Some interesting views expressed herein. I will have plenty to say about Hillary Clinton down the mountain as it were, especially as we immerse ourselves more in the upcoming “Game of Thrones”. But for now let me say this. There can be little doubt both the Clintons, together and separately, are – to use an especially American turn of phrase – a piece of work.
But Bill’s observations were on the money methinks. Seems to me he was simply trying to emphasise amongst other things the prevailing double standard in relation to how Mrs C. operates overall, with the email scandal just another manifestation of such. To be sure though, the Clintons have not cornered the market on invoking the double standard or thinkin b. But there’s no shortage of folks in the queue, and they may not even be at the head of said “queue”.
All of which is to say, the issues Bill raises I think go beyond the Clintons or for that matter, the Democratic Party. This hypocrisy in inherent in the double standard is an increasingly recurring motif in the Grand American Narrative, now moreso than ever before I would argue. It is also one that the ‘practitioners’ themselves are becoming increasingly oblivious to, and to the extent they might even be aware of it (usually only when someone has the chutzpah to point it out to them), increasingly unconcerned about.
It really is simple. Until and unless a critical mass of grassroots Americans are able to AND willing to hold their politicians, public figures on both sides of what remains of that thing we might call the ‘political divide’ to much higher levels of accountability and transparency – one that is truly, genuinely reflective of the values this Sometimes Great Nation extols and purports to embody, defend and uphold – then the country as a whole is on a hiding to nothing. As then they will get – according to that age-old political adage – exactly what they deserve.
And considering America’s place in the world and the influence it exerts (to say nothing of the impact that this “influence” has even on supposed American allies and friends), I firmly believe the country – indeed, the rest of the world – deserves better than that. Much better. Until and unless all that happens, politicians of all stripes from the Oval One on down the food chain will continue to arrogantly distance themselves from the explicit and implicit responsibilities spelt out in their oath of office, and do so with increasing impunity, the implications of which for a country like America are considerable to say the least.
Given the political zeitgeist – both domestically and internationally – I would also argue that in no other nation on the Big Blue Ball is there a more pressing need for such a transformation.
Can I gets me an Amen from the choir then?
Greg Maybury — Yeah, I’d agree with much of that.
Have just posted this link on your site for other commenters (a couple of whom it benefit to decaf a bit), but I thought you might find this is an interesting perspective from Justin Raimondo on the HC imbroglio.
Reddox — Thank you for the spirited argument with William J. Astore. I enjoyed reading the back-and-forth between the two of you. Although I agree with your observation that Mr and Mrs William Jefferson Clinton — the self-described “two for the price of one” — have received much rough and unfair treatment at the hands of the Republicans whom they only, after all, wished to accommodate at the expense of their own Democratic Party and its traditional constituencies, I think that your reliance on the Tu QuoQue — i.e., “you do it, too” — fallacy somewhat detracts from the point you wish to make. For example, I once attended a Saturday traffic school to have a ticket removed from my driving record. At some point during the day’s proceedings a woman complained that she had gotten pulled over on the freeway for speeding while a host of other drivers went speeding by without getting punished for it. Replied the lecturer: “Ever gone fishing? Ever catch all of them?” So much for the “other people do it, too” rebuttal. You couldn’t argue your way out of a traffic ticket with a weak argument like that. If you truly believe that You-Know-Her has done nothing wrong in using an unsecured private server for official State Department business, then just argue that and support it with available evidence. If that doesn’t convince your audience, then the fault would not lie with your argument.
As for any “danger” that You-Know-Her might represent if elected to the Presidency of the United States, I maintain that anyone occupying that office constitutes a clear and present danger to the world at large, as decades of recent experience ought to have demonstrated beyond the possibility of refutation. For example, I remember former (co-) President Bill Clinton bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade Yugoslavia. “Oops!” The Chinese didn’t think much of that mind-bogglingly stupid stunt. They certainly considered Clinton a dangerous fool. Then, of course, we have President Bill Clinton bombing and sanctioning Iraq for eight straight years, leaving that country hollowed out and impoverished to the point where even a dyslexic dwarf chimpanzee like Deputy Dubya Bush could knock it over with a feather. The Iraqis certainly considered President Bill Clinton dangerous, although worse would follow for them during the next succeeding two U.S. presidencies. I could multiply examples, of course, but why bother? I trust that you get my point about the very real danger posed by any U.S. president, but especially those Democrats who call themselves “hawks” and who live in perpetual dread of any Republican calling them “weak,” or “wimp,” or “pussy.” (Well, that last one may have to go because its anatomical correctness in the case of a woman robs it of its metaphorical power when directed at cowardly Democratic “men” who have accepted and internalized decades of Republican slander about their lack of “manliness.”) So now we face the lurid prospect of a woman eager as all get out to prove she has bigger balls than those “men” who have formerly occupied the nation’s highest office. Now someone — actually very many someones — will have to die or become homeless refugees merely to prove this woman’s “manliness.” How utterly repugnant. Yes, men have done it, too, but what would electing this particular” — and avowedly hawkish” — woman President do to change any of this sordid history? I can just see Victoria Nuland as You-Know-Her’s Secretary of State. Either her or Samantha Power. Ugh!
Finally, regarding the imputation of “character” to one of the persons most responsible for the destruction of Libya and its descent into violent chaos, consider only the most recent of my vitriolic verses dedicated to You-Know-Her’s viciousness and venality:
A Glib Giddy Ghoul / Goldwater’s Girl
(Venimus. Vidimus. Et Mortuus Est)
“We came. We saw. He died,” she cackled,
This chicken hen hawking her bile,
Amused at the bleeding and shackled
Gaddafi upon whom would pile
Jihadists with red hatred spackled,
And all so Dame Clinton could smile.
On hearing of Gaddafi’s savage murder
She smiled and joked: “We came. We saw. He died.”
Apparently, she thought that those who heard her
Would share her chickenhenish war-slut pride.
She campaigned in her youth for Bomber Barry
Goldwater, who from Arizona came;
Who made his money ripping off the natives
On reservations where he staked his claim.
Our You-Know-Her worked hard for Bomber Barry
Who swore that if elected he would kill
Vietnamese who found us less than scary
In numbers that would break their iron will.
A pantsuit with no principles or vision
Just raw ambition: naked, stark, and vain.
If peace might happen, war is her decision.
Goldwater’s Girl is just a John McCain.
Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2015
Just a follow-up on the subject of mean Republicans and their very real and vicious persecution, both legal and political, of the androgynous Clinton-Twin — or “partners in power,” as they used to advertise themselves. For a long time I just couldn’t understand this Republican hatred of all things Clinton. After all, the self-described “two-for-the-price-of-one” couldn’t wait to “triangulate” over towards whatever outrageous demands the Republicans made upon them in the interests of further enriching the corporate oligarchy while betraying American labor at every opportunity. Ending Aid-to-Families-with-Dependent-Children, “Free Trade” agreements like NAFTA that outsourced American jobs by the millions, not to mention gutting the Glass-Steagall Act, etc. At any rate, given this rank capitulation to the Republicans and utter betrayal of the Democratic Party’s loyal base constituencies, what cause could the Republicans possibly have for not considering the Clintons charter members of their own reactionary club? Then I stumbled upon this explanation by the nineteenth-century American pragmatist philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce:
“Where two faiths flourish side-by-side, renegades are looked upon with contempt, even by the party whose beliefs they have adopted.”
Or, as the old Arkansas hillbilly joke has it in the vernacular:
A hillbilly bridegroom returned to the family homestead after his wedding night, only without his new bride. When his papa asked him: “Where’z yor wyfe?” the boy answered: “I shot her pa!” To this, the hillbilly papa enquired: “Why’d jew dew that?” The boy replied: “‘Cuz she was a virgin, pa.” To which scandalous news the hillbilly papa simply said: “Then I don’t blame ya none, boy. If she weren’t good enuf fer her own fambly, she ain’t good enough fer ours.”
No one has any respect for a sell-out or a turncoat, even if the sell-out practically gives away for nothing that which his/her/their political tormentors have demanded for decades. So the contempt that the Republicans feel for the easily co-opted Clintons I can now understand, but the seething hatred I still find a bit puzzling. I can only surmise that the Republicans — operating as they do on the basis of boundless greed and the cynical belief that you can sell Americans anything — must figure that if the Clintons would give them that much for so little, then they should have gotten it all. Nothing else makes much sense to me.
I’ll give Bill ‘Big Dog’ Clinton credit for this: at least he likes women. (Can’t keep his mitts off ’em, I hear! Sorry, couldn’t resist.) He vowed to defend the right to abortion on his watch, and he did. Does Obama stand as firmly on this issue, as the campaign against women’s rights escalates year after year? Statutes on the state level have now effectively banished women’s right to choose across large swathes of this nation. Give the GOP Crazies’ Crusade an inch and they’ll take a mile before you can blink. Bibles at the ready, they’re always happy to lecture us on the sanctity of the embryo, even when it’s still a few millimeters long and indistinguishable from a nascent tadpole to all but highly trained eyes. Provided the GOP doesn’t succeed in barring women from the polling stations in key states, this current crop of Republican hopefuls SHOULD ensure a Dem victory in 2016. If only THAT thought was in the least inspiring to me!!
Michael Murry: I wasn’t going to say anything else on this thread, but will respond briefly to your comments. It’s nice that you enjoyed the discussion. But you apparently think I said Hillary Clinton should be excused because others have done the same things. I specifically said her behavior should be subjected to scrutiny. My original comment was that the author implied Clinton had done something unprecedented when she hadn’t, and this detracted from his point. Proper context is important, and you don’t get that when one person is singled out for personal demonization.
While I must agree with W.J.Astore “…that the Clintons act as if they are above the rules and laws that apply to “the little people.”, I must say that the real issue, and the issue that should be keeping Hillary awake at night, is, I believe, the real possibility that she will face criminal indictment for compromising US Government classified information. Now I have no illusions that she will be treated the same way a military E-4 clerk or a civilian GS-9 who took home and left dozens of classified documents unprotected would be. But now that the FBI and Justice Department have the Clinton email server they will go through it and, I believe, find so much classified information that FBI Director Comey and Attorney General Lynch will simply have to take action. Among all the government officials with an interest in this mess, they are the two I would least want in charge if I were Hillary. I think it is very possible that when they determine the extent of what was really on Hillary’s server they will at least, perhaps quietly, inform her that she has violated US laws regarding safeguarding classified information and faces further investigation and likely indictment and prosecution. Hillary will decide that she needs to spend more time with her family and drop out of the presidential race.