Last week I pointed out that the controversy over Hillary’s secret e-mail server and the various deceits and lies she has employed to justify is invaluable, not merely as further evidence of the character of the woman Democrats seem determine to stuff down America’s throat as the next President, but also as an integrity and values test for the politicians, elected officials, pundits and journalists who choose to publicly defend her…or not.
So it has been, and continues to be. Unfortunately, Republicans and reliably conservative pundits are disqualified from the test, as they would be condemning Hillary whether there was an ethical defense of her e-mails or not. They will end up on the right side of this issue by simply following their ideological proclivities, and thus deserve no credit for being incidentally correct.
Here is what you have to remember, however: the fact the Republicans and conservatives who reached their position on this issue without giving it any thought detest and distrust Hillary Clinton and are being, in some cases, unattractively gleeful about the scandal does not make Hillary’s defense any stronger. As I explained in the earlier posts, she has no legitimate defense, just spin, rationalizations and deceit. That’s why the e-mail incident challenges the non-Hillary haters to exhibit integrity.
I was tempted to exempt Democratic strategists and Clinton consultants from the test as well, since they are, in essence, paid liars. For anyone inclined to believe them, however, the fact that these people—Karen Finney, Donna Brazile, Lanny Davis, David Brock, James Carville— will go on national TV, look an interviewer and the American public in the eye and say what they know is false should prove that their level of trustworthiness is below sea level.
Carville, for example, gave a tour de force of rationalizations on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday, making the recently popular argument that the Clinton’s just can’t get away with fudges and sneaks that other politicians do, and that this is so, so unfair. Let’s go to the Rationalizations List! This is the Golden Rationalization (“Everybody does it”) squared by the #39. The Pioneer’s Lament, or “Why should I be the first?” (That argument is disingenuous, because the Clintons are not like everyone else. They have a long, ugly record of deception and rule-breaking. At this point, they cannot credibly claim, “We just made a mistake” —# 19 and #20. There is a pattern. Once a pattern is established, you have to be especially careful not to repeat it, or there is a rebuttable presumption that you can’t help yourself. Is it unfair to an alcoholic to make a bigger deal out of him coming home drunk than when an occasional drinker does the same thing?)
It is clever, though—those intense Clinton War Room discussions do bear fruit—because this is being spun into a related defense: Hillary has a special right to hide her e-mails, because she knows that Republicans are out to get her, so she’s justly paranoid. (This is Rationalization #25. The Coercion Myth: “I have no choice!” As Carville put it later in the program, “I suspect she didn’t want (Texas Republican Congressman) Louie Gohmert rifling through her emails, which seems to me a kind of reasonable position for someone to take.” How is that a reasonable position to take? An official can’t justify avoiding Congressional oversight because she doesn’t like a Congressman. It may be reasonable for Clinton not to be happy about Gohmert seeing her communications, but it’s not reasonable at all for her to take affirmative, extra-legal action to prevent him and Congress from doing their jobs.
It should be depressing to Democrats that not a single party official or elected representative has risen above the pathetic and corrupt states of denial on Clinton’s conduct. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is a disturbing example: “She used the wrong e-mail account — duh-dah! It’s ridiculous,” he said. Yes, she used a wrong e-mail account, just a simple mistake, like taking the wrong turn on the highway. Whitehouse ran right into the idiot/liar divide: either he thinks the public is made up of idiots and will accept this absurd characterization of the issue, or he really believes it and is an idiot himself. Either way, the statement marks him as untrustworthy.
The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Paul Kane submitted a chilling report about how top Democrats were worried, not that the woman the Party was prepared to nominate for President intentionally skirted the transparency and security policies of her own department, but that her team was tardy coming up with effective lies, excuses and rationalizations to convince the public that nothing happened:
Last week, supporters in Congress and others were willing to go on cable television to defend Clinton on the e-mails but were puzzled when her aides did not provide talking points or other information that might help them, according to Clinton allies. “A lot of people were flying blind,” said one Democratic ally who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment candidly. Requests for information “were met with dead silence” from Clinton’s team, this person said….Correct the Record — an outside political group set up specifically to defend Clinton in the media — received only a brief set of talking points from Clinton’s office instructing them to dismiss the story as silly and to compare Clinton’s use of a private e-mail account to former secretary of state Colin Powell’s use of an AOL account. The group was given no additional information for days, leaving Correct the Record founder David Brock and other surrogates to craft their own, sometimes incongruous, defenses.
Got that? David Brock’s group had to make up its own lies to cover for Hillary, so “top Democrats” are worried that her team didn’t have its own, poll-tested effective lies out to them before they weakened her case with “incongruous defenses.” Is that really the standard by which Democrats judge the fitness of their Presidential candidates—how quickly the candidate’s team can cover-up misconduct with plausible “talking points”? This is how Democrats think national leadership should be determined, by who is the more efficient liar?
Whitehouse was one of many Democratic office-holders who took the pure “deny-deny-deny” approach patented by the Nixon Whitehouse. “It’s very clear that she followed the law and she followed the rules … and so there’s nothing there except politics,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said. Ah, the Compliance Dodge, with deceit mixed in for taste! Yes, Senator, she probably snuck through a loophole in the law. Most objective analysts agree, however, that she did not follow the Obama Administration’s policies on official e-mail, and definitely violated the intent of the rules, though she claimed otherwise. The only way someone can credibly maintain that Hillary complied is to believe that her lawyers, paid by her and under her control willingly turned over politically damaging or personally embarrassing official e-mails on her personal server to State, where they could be obtained by the media or Congress and be made public. That contention is objectively ridiculous, especially with the Clinton’s record of non-transparency.
The objective of “deny-deny-deny” is to make an inattentive public believe that there is an honest dispute when the facts are indisputable. It also may convince partisan supporters who don’t understand the issue and just like the deniers. Bill Maher, for example, dismissed the scandal as “stupid infantile bullshit from our stupid infantile press” on his HBO show. Bill flunks the test, though to be fair, I think this issue exposes his fatal weakness and lack of qualifications to be the political pundit and truthteller he pretends to be. Maher has been in show business all his life; he’s never managed a business or served in government. Naturally he is a rigid libertarian, because naivete aids that belief system greatly. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I think Maher doesn’t comprehend the importance of transparency, or, since he works in show business, integrity. It’s all just good guys and bad guys to him. To say that it’s unimportant whether a potential President is faithful in following her own agency’s policies and whether she places national security and the public’s right to know above her own political ambitions is, again, proof of corruption or the watermark of ignorance. Maher said that he believed Hillary’s risible “convenience” argument was valid, and guest liberal Ariana Huffington retorted, “But you were not Secretary of State.”
Ariana passes the test.
She is not alone. Passing the test with an A++ was liberal, feminist snark-artist Maureen Dowd, who delivered a blistering and spot on critique of Hillary’s conduct in her New York Times column. In a piece titled “An Open Letter to email@example.com,” Dowd, in epic form, wrote in part…
It has come to our attention while observing your machinations during your attempted restoration that you may not fully understand our constitutional system. Thus, we are writing to bring to your attention two features of our democracy: The importance of preserving historical records and the ill-advised gluttony of an American feminist icon wallowing in regressive Middle Eastern states’ payola….If you, Hillary Rodham Clinton, are willing to cite your mother’s funeral to get sympathy for ill-advisedly deleting 30,000 emails, it just makes us want to sigh: O.K., just take it. If you want it that bad, go ahead and be president and leave us in peace. (Or war, if you have your hawkish way.) You’re still idling on the runway, but we’re already jet-lagged. It’s all so drearily familiar that I know we’re only moments away from James Carville writing a column in David Brock’s Media Matters, headlined, “In Private, Hillary’s Really a Hoot.”
What is the trade-off that will be exacted by the Chappaqua Republic for that yearned-for moment? When the Rogue State of Bill began demonizing Monica Lewinsky as a troubled stalker, you knew you could count on the complicity of feminists and Democratic women in Congress. Bill’s female cabinet members and feminist supporters had no choice but to accept the unappetizing quid pro quo: The Clintons would give women progressive public policies as long as the women didn’t assail Bill for his regressive private behavior with women.
Now you, Hillary, are following the same disheartening “We’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse” pattern. You started the “Guernica” press conference defending your indefensible droit du seigneur over your State Department emails by referring to women’s rights and denouncing the letter to Iran from Republican senators as “out of step with the best traditions of American leadership.”
None of what you said made any sense. Keeping a single account mingling business and personal with your own server wasn’t about “convenience.” It was about expedience. You became judge and jury on what’s relevant because you didn’t want to leave digital fingerprints for others to retrace. You could have had Huma carry two devices if you really couldn’t hoist an extra few ounces. You insisted on piggybacking on Bill’s server, even though his aides were worried about hackers, because you were gaming the system for 2016….Suffused with paranoia and pre-emptive defensiveness, you shrugged off The One’s high-minded call for the Most Transparent Administration in History.
It depends upon what the meaning of @ is.
…Because you assume that if it’s good for the Clintons, it’s good for the world, you’re always tangling up government policy with your own needs, desires, deceptions, marital bargains and gremlins. Instead of raising us up by behaving like exemplary, sterling people, you bring us down to your own level, a place of blurred lines and fungible ethics and sleazy associates. Your family’s foundation gobbles tens of millions from Saudi Arabia and other repressive regimes, whose unspoken message is: “We’re going to give you money to go improve the world. Now leave us alone to go persecute women.”
…We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of our constitutional system and promotes mutual understanding and clarity as the campaign progresses.
Go to the head of the class, Maureen.