Veteran Clinton hired minion (I think that’s fair) James Carville’s reaction to the latest news about how Hillary used the State Department to reward Clinton Foundation donors (that’s a fair description too, and illegal) is wonderful in its way, as it comes as close to a perfect example of one of the most sinister and historically destructive rationalizations on the list, the Saint’s Excuse, as one is likely to see in a lifetime. It’s also useful, because if you find yourself finding his logic persuasive, then you are as devoid of ethics as James Carville is.
Trust me: you don’t want that.
[For various views on the emerging proof that, as honest journalists and analysts concluded many months ago, Hillary traded State favors for cash that went to Clinton Foundation initiatives and, incidentally, into her family members’ bank accounts, see these links: Fox News, Guardian, New York Times, Lawyers, Guns & Money, Washington Monthly, Washington Times,Politico, Power Line, Associated Press, Mediaite, BizPac Review and the Wall Street Journal]
Carville said this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that if the Clinton Foundation had decided not to accept foreign donations while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State —as the Obama Administration swore to Congress that it would not do, as government ethics rules and laws forbade it to do, and as anyone with the tiniest understanding of conflicts of interest knows it could not do,
“…you’d be out hundreds of millions of dollars that are doing good. What the Clinton Foundation does, it takes money from rich people and gives it to poor people. Most people think that’s a pretty good idea.”
Most people? If so, those “most people” are also the ones who are completely ignorant of what corruption is, and exactly the kind of people that Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Carville, happily recruit to prey upon the rest of us.
These exact words could have been uttered by every crook, con man, machine politician, demagogue, scam artist, robber baron and corrupt politician in history or fiction since the nation began. Willie Stark, Al Capone, Boss Tweed, James Michael Curley, Don Corleone, Jesse James, Roscoe Conkling, Bonnie and Clyde, Richard Daley, Boss Prendergast, Hughie Long…the list is nearly endless, and will crawl across the floor if you don’t stomp on it. All of them argued that the ends justify the means; all of them cleverly used high profile “good deeds” to cover for their own greed and sinister interference with fair and transparent government, if not the law itself. All of them, when accused of wrongdoing, would protest exactly like Carville, embracing the deadly Saint’s Excuse:
13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause”
This rationalization has probably caused more death and human suffering than any other. The words “it’s for a good cause” have been used to justify all sorts of lies, scams and mayhem. It is the downfall of the zealot, the true believer, and the passionate advocate that almost any action that supports “the Cause,’ whether it be liberty, religion, charity, or curing a plague, is seen as being justified by the inherent rightness of the ultimate goal….The Saint’s Excuse allows charities to strong-arm contributors, and advocacy groups to use lies and innuendo to savage ideological opponents. The Saint’s Excuse is that the ends justify the means, because the “saint” has decided that the ends are worth any price—especially when that price will have to be paid by someone else.
It is particularly audacious for Carville to justify the pimping of the U.S. Government by the Clintons by saying that “it takes money from rich people and gives it to poor people,” when the Clinton Foundation’s primary function is to make the Clintons rich.
But Carville really is a courtier of corruption, and always has been. This is a full-throated endorsement of illegality, lies, pay to play and bribery, as long as “good” results. The ends justify the means, and among the ends are enriching and empowering the Clintons.
I can’t be any more disgusted with Carville, a mercenary snake, than I already was. Those who nod their heads in agreement with his character poison, however, have failed at the basic ethical duty of being a competent citizen and human being. They are truly disgusting.
37 thoughts on “From James Carville, The Epitome Of The Saint’s Excuse”
What Carville fails to point out is that most of the money collected went to the Clintons or their retainers, and a relatively small about wound up helping the poor. Does he suppose Robin Hood (which is the genesis of Carville’s plaint) would be popular if he robbed the rich, kept 90% to enrich himself, then gave 10% to the poor?
I’m thinking no, but then again, I’m not a Clinton supporter — such a person may actually agree that’s a good thing and not simple highway robbery with a minor distractive element.
Sounds unlikely ‘that most of the money went to the Clintons or their retainers’. If you are right (which I doubt) then why would Warren Buffett have made such big donations? Or do you think he was looking for favours too?
Buffett’s contribution, like any other businessman, is a quid made to maximize the chance of a future quo from a future President. The news today was that half of pf Clinton’s meetings with individuals resulted in donation to the Foundation. Coincidence, you think? You should be embarrassed to be willing to spin like this. There is no fair or objective conclusion to be reached other than the fact that there was influence peddling going on.
Reports are that Warren Buffett donated $2.2 billion in 2015. Admittedly that should gain some influence but it would seem ridiculous to suggest this wasn’t predominantly a very proper charitable donation.
Correction – sorry I’ve got the wrong foundation. Buffett was supporting Gates not Clinton.
THAT makes sense. Thanks for the correction, Andrew.
“Yes, but you can’t PROVE anything”, they bleat.
Here is the Quo:
From the Washington Examiner July 30, 2015
“For example, the Clinton Foundation said it tapped Clayton Homes, a construction company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, to build temporary shelters in Haiti through a normal bidding process that included a review of the competing companies by United Nations experts.
UN officials later said the contract was never competitively bid, according to a Nonprofit Quarterly report. The foundation then refused to reveal the names of the experts used or clarify the method by which Clayton obtained the lucrative contract, the report said.
Buffett has been an active member of the Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton insiders played key roles in directing the flow of aid dollars into Haiti.”
Other articles in the National Review (excerpt from Dinesh DiSouza book) The Nation July 11, 2011, Democracynow.org claim that Clayton Homes delivered substandard overpriced trailers to Haiti. What makes this interesting is that Clayton Homes was at the time being sued by FEMA for delivering similarly substandard temporary housing to Katrina victims.
I admit that “most” was a very poor choice of words. In retrospect, I’d revise that to “an unusually large amount” based on what we think we know about the Foundation, which seems to operate much differently from almost every other charitable foundation.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it is not on the up and up, but my experience is that when organizations operate through as many subsidiary companies as the CF does, it is a way to skim money legally that it would otherwise have to let go of.
This FactCheck.org piece delivers up some of the facts, although I generally don’t trust them to avoid partisan spin. But the upshot is, the Clinton Foundation is not really a traditional foundation at all, but an actual charity who hires people to do its charitable work.
This fact represents an astronomical opportunity to dole out salaried positions that are legitimate, but are intended to recoup some of the money for personal purposes. The piece notes that 32% of the foundation’s income were spent on salaries, travel and conferences with 20% going to salaries alone (almost $30 million in salaries in 2013) with an additional$46 million going to “other expenses.”
All I can say is that the operation has a large opportunity for serious graft, and we know they are peddling influence when they shouldn’t be. How could a non-Clinton supporter look at that alone and not be suspicious?
You seem to be forgetting that, when the Cluntons left the White House, they were poor. Bill is well off now, as is Chelsea, who cares not for money. As far as i can tell, the Clinton Foundation has enjoyed immense success.
Oh, well, the rules are surely different for politicians who leave office poor. Of course, they get to peddle influence from subsequent government jobs. How could we possibly begrudge them that?
But, Glenn Logan, to be fair, State Department records shows that there were many visitors to the Secretary with whom no influence was peddled.
You mean she only peddled influence to some of her visitors? How principled of her not to violate ethical or legal principles every single time! Surely we can move the goal posts just a little bit for her poor, impoverished family n’est-ce pas?
EXACTLY! Her critics have cherry-picked the numbers. She had hundreds of visitors at the State Department who never paid a penny to the Clinton Foundation. This is just a vast right-wing conspiracy and, honestly, what difference at this point does it make?
Is there a little bit of “everybody does it” in this too?
Glad you commented on this. I’d have headlined it, “He’s Baaaack!” The Clintons and Lanny Davis must use Carville as their closer. He’s only very rarely used as early as the eighth inning, preferably kept in the pen until the beginning of the ninth. He really is an artist. Very poetic. He said if the Clintons aren’t allowed to continue to run the scam, er, foundation, “people will die.” He really is a genius when it comes to word smithing. “It’s the economy, stupid,” etc. (I wouldn’t be surprised if he coined “Bush lied, people died.”} He’s amazing. He goes beyond apologizing for the Clintons’ past conduct by indicting anyone having the audacity to proscribe the continuation of the illegal conduct in the future! The mind boggles. I wonder what song the Clintonland P.A. announcer pops in the CD player as the Ragin Cajun slithers out of the pen toward the mound.
And speaking of Louisiana, why aren’t Carville and Kanye West upset about FEMA’s and Obama’s muted response to the Louisiana flooding compared to the Katrina disaster? Could it possibly be that everyone flooded this time is white and watch “Duck Dynasty?” Just a bunch of privileged crackers?
He should be known as “Cotton Mouth,” probably the most poisonous and deadly snake in America’s swamp lands.
Slightly redolent of his opposite, Cotton Mather.
Remember folks; here’s our two major choices for President in 2016:
1. Dangerous blatant corruption with a politically savvy, family dynasty, candidate.
2. Dangerous ignorance with a politically inept candidate.
No reasonable man of character can responsibly choose from these two candidates.
Heck folks, there’s no reason not to keep this dynasty shit going; at this point, what more have we got to loose! How about Hillary Clinton vs Michelle Obama in 2020 and Chelsea Clinton vs Ivanka Trump in 2024? Yes, that was sarcasm.
1. Dangerous blatant corruption and near complete lack of integrity with a politically savvy
, family dynasty, candidate.
[I don’t think the family matters: I wish it did; Bill was a pretty moderate, skilled President for a sociopath.]
2. Dangerous ignorance with a politically inept candidate lacking common sense, impulse control, dignity, useful experience, maturity, judgement and any ethics compass whatsoever.
I think dangerous ignorance and politically inept covers the things you mentioned; also, I think “near complete lack of integrity” is an understatement for Hillary.
My real comparison was between dangerous blatant corruption vs dangerous ignorance and politically savvy vs politically inept.
so my “liberal” friends are saying this story is pure fabrication.
and they gave me this article.
any input on this? i’d like to answer them and i just can’t keep up with it all…
What story is pure fabrication? FACT: The Obama Administration, with Clinton’s assurances, promised Congress as a condition of her confirmation, that the Foundation would not seek or accept contributions from individuals or foreign governments with dealings with State. She did. FACT: more than 50% of individuals Clinton met with while secretary contibuted to the Clinton Foundation. This creates the appearance of impropriety, which violates an Executive Order, and is prima facie evidence of corruption and a pat-to-play scheme. Fact: Clinton aides responded to appeals for State favors from Foundation donors. They should not have had any contact with them at all. Presumably, they were told to be responsive. FACT Bill Clinton excepted exorbitant speaking fees from foreign governments while his wife was SOS. Also Appearance of impropriety. Since the Clinton Foundation pays Clinton’s family, plus travel and lodgings, it is a personal slush fund. The fact that “it does good work,” as I explained in the post, doesn’t excuse the conflict of interest.
As the Hill wrote today: “There are many other instances of high-level contacts between top Clinton Foundation donors and either Clinton or other senior department officials; but no hard evidence has emerged showing that the Clinton State Department took actions as a result of money given to the Clinton Foundation.” But in terms of government ethics, “hard evidence” isn’t necessary. The appearance of impropriety is bad enough. Your liberal friends are government ethics dummies.
Thank you! May I post your reply in thei discussion? I am awaiting their reply to your article.
I can remove the dummy part. 😊
I think Hillary is an ethically challenged person, as is Bill. That being said, I think she is qualified to be president and has it within her grasp to become one of the great presidents as far as effecting progressive change if she gets a Democratic Senate despite her flaws. I’ve posted 91 essays on Daily Kos, (they call them diaries). My special area is mental health so some were about the ethics of diagnosing Trump from afar, with me breaking the Goldwater rule (which isn’t anything I’m bound by). This latest essay had nothin g to do with that. It was about the subject you wrote about here, but I really went easy on the Clintons. I was dismayed how this high readership website’s readers are so incredibly dogmatic and mean spirited that for posting this brief alternate universe speculation (below) I had such a reaction…
It just came out that Bill Clinton took some $17 million to be honorary chancellor of a private, albeit accredited, university, and with Hillary that half the visitors she granted visits to the State Department where $1 million or more donors to the Clinton Foundation. Add this to the email scandal, which she was responsible for and Benghazi, which she wasn’t. For good measure add this to the fact that some people just can’t stand her.
My conclusion is that if she were running against a sane and sensible Republican like Jeb Bush he would be at least 10 points ahead in the polls, and probably would be the third member of the Bush family to occupy the Oval Office.
Hillary will still beat Trump, but how many more revelations can she stand?
I was roundly and vehemently attacked six ways from Sunday in well over 200 comments.
I’ve gone from being disappointed to upset to downright pissed off.
Halmartin Brown said, “I think Hillary is an ethically challenged person”
I think that’s a gross understatement.
Halmartin Brown said, “I think she is qualified to be president”
These qualifications you speak of are that she is a natural born citizen of the United States, she’s over the age of 35, and she has been a resident of the United States for more than 14 years.
Using that list of qualifications, I agree with you; of course Trump is equally qualified, Jack Marshall is equally qualified, Chelsea Clinton is equally qualified, and Anthony Weiner is equally qualified; but I’m pretty sure you weren’t talking about that.
Wait, how did I get assigned to a miserable group including Trump, Hillary, Chelsea and Anthony Weiner?
Jack, from what I can tell you aren’t qualified to be president (that anyone who meets the requirement in the Constitution is a silly meme)….
You are qualified to be a president ethics advisor.
I don’t know history well enough to go over the various presidents who had positive impact to say which ones would rate where on an ethics scale. Somebody might consider LBJ.
What I mean about Hillary is that she’s well informed about a range of subjects, experienced, highly intelligent, and has made more mistakes at a high level than we could in a lifetime which she’s hopefully learned from. I’m a Democrat so it should go without saying that I wouldn’t want any Republican guiding the country and name Supreme Court justices.
Halmartin Brown said, “that anyone who meets the requirement in the Constitution is a silly meme”
So let me get this right; you think that Article Two, Section 1 of the United States Constitution is just a silly meme?
Is the rest of the Constitution just a silly meme too?
What about the 22nd Amendment?
Halmartin Brown said, “What I mean about Hillary is that she’s well informed about a range of subjects, experienced, highly intelligent, and has made more mistakes at a high level than we could in a lifetime which she’s hopefully learned from.”
You can “hope” all you want; but there is a pattern related to lying that shows Hillary is to some regard stupid (as in the inability to learn from one’s mistakes). She lies, get’s caught, spews out some excuses for lying, and then turns around and lies again.
Halmartin Brown said, “I’m a Democrat so it should go without saying that I wouldn’t want any Republican guiding the country and name Supreme Court justices.”
My emphasis on the word “any”.
That statement shows an extremely high level of bigotry.
Nobody is truly qualified to be President, since the job is unlike any other. Seemingly completely unqualified individuals like Truman and Arthur have been surprisingly good Presidents. Super-qualified Presidents like Nixon, Buchanan, Hoover and Taft have fallen on their faces.
I’d agree that actually working in the government in an executive capacity, being elected to high office, and/or having executive responsibility in a state or city is critical experience. I’ve studied the Presidency and leadership as a scholar and amateur for decades—it was my sub-major at Harvard, but that would make me about as qualified as Woodrow Wilson was before he was Governor of New Jersey. On the other hand, I’m a lawyer; I’ve run businesses and non-profits, and I know more about leadership than Barack Obama on the smartest day of his life. I have no experience in foreign affairs or intricate political dealings, so I agree, I’m not “qualified.”
But I’m as qualified as Abraham Lincoln. And I am trustworthy (you’ll have to trust me on that) and miles from being venal, as my wife can confirm, ruefully. Hillary is qualified by her experience, though marginally—certainly not extremely so. She has hands-on experience. She has never held elective executive office, and that’s a huge minus (no, being First lady doesn’t count). She was a lousy manager at State.
You are as qualified as Lincoln, but the world is a more complex place now than it was then. I have little doubt that on the liar liar pants on fire scale your trousers are flame retardant, while Hillary’s have some burn marks.
Experience: Being first lady does count. She has knowledge of how the executive branch works when it works well, and doesn’t work when poor decisions are made.
Not exactly a Teddy Kennedy as Senator, she still knows how that august body (?) functions and was engaged as a senator.
Not exactly a historically great Secretary of State, she also presumably learned a great deal from her tenure in that high position, even as I said, from her mistakes.
Did someone insult me or themselves by saying I was incorrect in suggesting reducing the simple constitutional requirements to be president to age and being a natural born citizen. That is a silly meme for lazy thinks and snarky argumentation.
Footnote from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_career_of_Hillary_Rodham_Clinton
Committee on the Budget (2001-2003)
Committee on Armed Services (2003-2009)
Subcommittee on Airland
Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
Committee on Environment and Public Works (2001-2009)
Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Water
Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure (2007-2008)
Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health (Chairwoman, 2007-2009)
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (2001-2009)
Subcommittee on Children and Families
Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety
Special Committee on Aging.
She was also a Commissioner of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (2001-2009).
She also held two leadership positions in the Senate Democratic Caucus:
Chairwoman of Steering and Outreach Committee (2003–2006)
Vice Chairwoman of Committee Outreach (2007–2009)
While a member of the U.S. Senate, Clinton sponsored 31 pieces of legislation,[dubious – discuss] including 21 bills, 9 amendments, 33 Senate Resolutions, and 21 concurrent resolutions. Fourteen of her Senate resolutions were passed, expressing the Senate’s views on policy or commemorative questions. One of her concurrent resolutions—supporting National Purple Heart Recognition Day—passed both houses. Of the 363 bills, three became law:
Still very slim. Admittedly, covering up scandals for Bill may be useful if Clinton plans on having her own her own ethically challenged administration, and she obviously does, but I wouldn’t call that desirable experience from a voter’s perspective. Observing without accountability isn’t executive experience. She obvioulsy didn’t learn Bill’s charm or political skills through observation. Do we give degrees for auditing? No.
As for the Senate, it provides virtually no useful governing experience at all. Senators draft bills, negotiate, bargain, talk, campaign, posture. There’s no accountability for policy, no management. That’s why Senators have been such mediocre Presidents, and increasingly, not Presidents at all.
The debate about qualifications is kind of silly: there are the formal, minimal qualifications, and the real qualifications that make someone a desirable candidate. Nobody seriously confuses them. Color and gender aren’t in either. Being trustworthy and honest isn’t a formal qualification (it is for lawyers, though, which is why Bill’s no longer a lawyer), but it should be the second kind. Neither Trump nor Hillary, by that standard, is qualified.
Jack Marshall said, “… the real qualifications that make someone a desirable candidate.”
Careful Jack; there are a lot of people out there that think Trump is a “desirable candidate” for President; personally outside him meeting the basic qualifications set forth in the Constitution, I don’t think he qualified – of course I don’t think Hillary is qualified either.
Whether a candidate is qualified for President of the United States is something that each individual must choose for themself. Only political hacks from the left or blithering idiots actually “believe” “there has never been any man or woman more qualified for this office than Hillary Clinton”.
Halmartin Brown said, “Did someone insult me or themselves by saying I was incorrect in suggesting reducing the simple constitutional requirements to be president to age and being a natural born citizen. That is a silly meme for lazy thinks and snarky argumentation.”
If I had truly intended to insult you, you wouldn’t have had to ask that question.
You need to own the fact that you are the one that labeled the base Constitutional requirements of the President of the United States to be a sill meme in the first place.
I couldn’t help but notice that you dodged my questions and doubled down on your silly meme statement with snarky argumentation. Just in case you forgot; here’s the questions again.
So let me get this right; you think that Article Two, Section 1 of the United States Constitution is just a silly meme?
Is the rest of the Constitution just a silly meme too?
What about the 22nd Amendment?
Jack Marshall asked, “Wait, how did I get assigned to a miserable group including Trump, Hillary, Chelsea and Anthony Weiner?”
You’re in “great” company; every person in the United States of America that fits that qualifications list is assigned to that same miserable group; me included. 🙂
As for your essay and the subsequent attacks…
You dared to talk negatively about Hillary Clinton and you wonder why you were attacked?
Did you know, prior to writing that little essay, that the primary tactic of the political left is to attack the messenger whenever negative things are stated about the political left or anything associated with the political left; this is especially true especially true when negative things are stated about the Clinton’s or Obama.
You violated their safe place and you earned and “deserve” anything they can dish out.