The e mails. One more Clinton semi-scandal. Mrs. Clinton has always liked to point to a right wing conspiracy. But at the moment, the right wing is too busy shooting itself in the foot to pay much attention to her campaign.
This is no Benghazi, an American diplomatic fiasco and tragedy for which Mrs. Clinton may or may not bear some responsibility. Instead, it is an issue mostly because it is yet another example of the 'Clinton hubris.'
Politicians regularly screw up and then deny or confess and fall on their swords. But the Clintons seem genuinely indignant that the rules promulgated for mere mortals apply to them. The rules for email accounts of government employees (as in most companies) are pretty straightforward. In essence, government employees must use government e mail for all government related transactions.
We now know that a government e mail is not a guarantee of privacy but presumably the government supplies better protection than a private e mail sourced somewhere in Colorado. In any case rules are rules, and this one seems neither overly intrusive nor difficult to obey; the damage if any is difficult to ascertain.
Clinton's scandals range wide. There is the dirty real estate deal: Whitewater and then the commodities trading incident in which she magically turned a 1000 investment into almost $100,000 over a period of nine months (this was most likely achieved through a process wherein at day’s end the broker would allocate winning trades to her and pass off losers to someone else, a process commonly referred to as ‘theft.’).
The trades were allegedly done with the aid of Tyson foods, a major Arkansas company and as The New York Times reported: "During Mr. Clinton's tenure as Governor, Tyson benefited from several state decisions, including favorable environmental rulings, $9 million in state loans, and the placement of company executives on important state boards.”
And the Vince Foster suicide, the virtual wet dream of internet conspiracy theorists; travelgate; filegate and the infamous Clinton pardons, including the one for fugitive offender Marc Rich and the pardoning of two hoodlums from the orthodox Jewish community, which, if not intended to help Mrs. Clinton’s Senate aspirations, certainly had that effect. Mrs. Clinton has earned over $1.8 million for giving speeches to Wall Street banks, admittedly a small part of the $153 million she and her husband have made in speaking fees in the last fifteen years. (WSJ, CNN).
Those who heard her speak at Goldman Sachs are boasting that she sounded like a partner in the firm. She refuses to release a transcript of her speech, and has a contract with Goldman forbidding them to release the text. As Secretary of State, Clinton apparently gave special access to an investor in her son-in law’s hedge fund. (Time Magazine, WSJ, from Clinton e mails). And it is hard not to wonder who invests in this fund and why. Last year the fund lost a stunning 48% and has been below its ‘high water mark’ for most of its existence.
And then, the Clinton Foundation. Though not without some merit, the foundation has been used what can kindly be called ‘loosely’ by the Clintons. For instance, when the Obama administration refused to hire Sydney Blumenthal as a lawyer for the state department, Mrs. Clinton used him ‘informally’ and his fees were paid by the Clinton foundation. And the Saudi Arabian government donated $10 million to the foundation and then bought fighter jets when Mrs. Clinton was Secretary of State. (Actually, it was not my intent to list all the Clinton scandals, and I have not, but once you get going, it’s endless.)
After all these scandals, probably not one of which would alone disqualify her, there remains the question, what has this woman done to earn our regard? She has, despite her protestations, stood by her man with some aplomb. And she has proved herself a masterful fundraiser and loyal party functionary. Her other accomplishments are sparse. As First Lady she managed to set back the cause of public medical care for at least 10 years. A cynic might think that if this had been her goal in mismanaging her healthcare debacle she could have done no better.
Mrs. Clinton’s website lists her seven biggest accomplishments as follows:
“Fought for children and families for 40 years and counting.” The site notes that she chose to work for the Children’s Defense Fund rather than a large law firm. Ok, first, after 8 years as first lady, 8 years in the Senate as and 4 years as Secretary of State, her primary accomplishment harks back to her first two years out of law school? Because, of course, after two years at CDF during which she was also pursuing post graduate studies, she went to work as a Congressional aide, and then to the large Rose law firm. 2. “Helped Provide Millions of Children With Health Care” ? 3. Helped get 9/11 responders the Health Care they need.” 4. “told the World that Women’s Rights are Human Rights” 5. “Stood up for LGBT Rights at Home and Abroad. As secretary of state, Hillary made LGBT rights a focus of U.S. foreign policy. She lobbied for the first-ever U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on human rights.” 6. “Helped Expand Health Care and Family Leave For Military Families” How much better it might have been for these families had she not supported the deadly and seemingly endless and pointless war in Iraq. 7. “Negotiated a Ceasefire Between Israel and Hamas. As our nation’s chief diplomat, Hillary didn’t back down when the stakes were high. As Hamas rockets rained down on Israel, Hillary went to the region immediately. Twenty-four hours after she landed, a ceasefire went into effect—and that year became Israel’s quietest in a decade.”
The peace between Hamas and Israel is no doubt surprise news to both. But this is a variation on her oft repeated and disproven claim that on her visit to Bosnia she “land[ed] under sniper fire. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”
This is an embarrassingly short list for a woman who has had positions of power in public life for much of her life.
What does her list indicate about what we can expect from a Hillary Clinton presidency? This is depressing part. Nothing. And what we know from other sources is not good. She not only supported the war in Iraq, but in the Obama administration she pushed for more aggression in Syria.
Clinton’s Wall Street ties are beyond question and do not bode well for reform, or, more importantly, for adequate enforcement of our existing laws. Her blasé public attitude toward her own misbehavior does not suggest to me that she would be the ideal person to tackle much needed prison and sentencing reform. Equal justice, to put it mildly, has not been her ‘thing.’
It seems Mrs. Clinton’s best tactic might be to try to scare voters. Do they really want the presidency, the congress and the Supreme Court to be run by Republicans? Would Mr. Sanders really be able to move beyond the left wing of the Democratic party?
This is a sad election cycle; the public seems to perk up only when so-called outsiders (Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years, Trump is clearly a dealer in politicians as well as real estate) join in or when non candidates such as Biden or Bloomberg are considered. The best we can hope for is that, whoever ultimately slogs through and wins is able to rise above his or her past and produce some much needed leadership.