We’ve reached the moment of truth. If such a thing exists among the political elite.
The Clinton family has been trying to outrun a list of scandals as long as your arm for years — pretty much the entire time they’ve been major players in US politics. But Hillary Clinton’s Presidential bid seemed to have finally lurched beyond the pale when she (allegedly) used a private email server to (allegedly) avoid perfectly legal FOI requests and store and disseminate classified materials.
Is it possible to judge the quality of a politician by the number of times the word “allegedly” appears in sentences bearing their name? Maybe so.
After an interminable stretch of months, during which time Clinton dodged attacks from both the Left and the Right, and where she answered the charges against her with everything from snark (“Wipe it? You mean like with a cloth?”) to stony silence (The last time she gave a press conference, the theatrical run of The Force Awakens was being advertised on television), we finally have closure — or what passes for it these days.
In case you missed it, FBI director James Comey finally announced the inevitable verdict of their investigation into both Clinton’s use of a private email server and her handling of classified materials.
His precise wording was: “Extremely careless.” Not quite the “criminally negligent” label Clinton’s political enemies were hoping for, and certainly not a prelude to an indictment. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, following a helpful “impromptu” visit from Bill Clinton (as though anything the Clintons do could be considered “impromptu”), Lynch has announced she’ll follow Comey’s lead and not pursue criminal charges.
Americans of all political stripes are reeling from the news — but one person who’s not remotely surprised by the outcome is Julian Assange, the whistleblower behind the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) Wikileaks.
Wikileaks Called It
Just before Comey publically announced the FBI’s decision not to pursue charges, Wikileaks made available more than 1,200 emails from Hillary Clinton’s days as Secretary of State. This came after a previous delivery of more than 30,000 emails from her private server last March.
The purpose of all this is pretty clear: Assange and Wikileaks were hoping to hold the FBI’s feet to the fire by making the materials in question a matter of public record. After all, suppose the FBI, under pressure from Democratic insiders, chose to protect her out of self-preservation. By making records of her time as Secretary of State public, Wikileaks has ensured that Americans have access to the same evidence the FBI has.
But Assange has a knack for prediction as well as patriotism; even as he busied himself with these multiple leaks, he knew (as most of us did) that the FBI “will never” proceed with criminal charges, despite the overwhelming evidence against her. Surprised? You shouldn’t be — there’s an entire branch of law dedicated to protecting whistle blowers, since they are, themselves, often treated with the sort of mistrust and even contempt that rightly belongs to the folks they’re “blowing the whistle” about. For all the good they’ve done, folks like Julian Assange and Edward Snowden — patriots, both — don’t seem to have had much political influence beyond the fringes. Most Americans don’t even know who they are.
Meanwhile, American citizens have always been instructed to believe that a second Clinton presidency was “inevitable” — have we not? The Political Class gets what it wants, when it wants it. The rest of us get to twist in the wind, wondering whether a sane and morally sound political party will ever get the traction it needs to take on the America’s Political Duopoly®.
On to the Next Media Circus
And now American voters find themselves between a rock and a very hard place. Donald Trump is unfit for the Presidency for a number of self-evident reasons, while Clinton’s fitness for the same job requires a considerable amount of equivocation and, frankly, willful blindness. Duplicity is politics-as-usual on the Left; blatant hate speech is politics-as-usual on the Right.
But for now, Clinton can put this inconvenient controversy behind her — and to her credit, she’s hit the ground running with a free college tuition proposal that should make some of Bernie Sanders’ supporters pretty happy. And good for her. If she can’t seem to hear the deafening roar of disapproval, at least she knows a good idea when she sees it.