Idaho Democrats are usually focused on Idaho issues until we must participate in the national primary elections for president. I am convinced that my own political effect will only ever be local. However, I do pay attention to national and international issues in order to be as informed as I can be as a citizen. When I asked my Republican friends how they could vote for Trump, they all said, “He isn’t Hillary.” I agreed with them. I wanted “none of the above.”
Donna Brazile’s quoted remarks from her upcoming book had me crowing. “I told you so!” Notice that I did not say gloating. To me, the Clinton’s public life is a classic Shakespearian tragedy. Both Bill and Hillary are extremely able people who believe that their calling is public service. Their legacy will be of two people brought down by hubris. Their moral compass may have started out pointing in the right direction, but it became misdirected toward their belief that their power needed to be enhanced by wealth.
I became skeptical of Hillary when she was talking about her reaction to the Jennifer Flowers incident in Bill’s first presidential campaign. She essentially said her support of Bill was because his agenda for the country was so important. It sounded suspiciously like, “the ends justify the means.” The Whitewater affair seemed to be a failed attempt to gain financially by skirting the edge of legality.
When all the stuff about her private email server came out, it didn’t surprise me. I am sure that Hillary and Bill spent the eight years of Obama’s administration planning her election. It did not surprise me that she was too lazy, tech illiterate or self-important to use State Department internet communication for official business in addition to a separate system for her personal communication. Of course, if this had become an issue while she was still in office, she would have been fired. It would be the same punishment for any government employee who was careless but did not mean for secret information to fall into enemy hands.
As far as the primary went, it became clear to me that the Clintons had worked very hard to make sure that another Obama or, as it turned out, Sanders. could not snatch away the nomination. They planned caucuses where the turnout of the homebound, the military, evening workers or people with limited transportation access was impossible. All this, of course, while saying that Hillary was the champion of the disenfranchised. They courted super delegates with campaign funding and favors for eight years. During the primary, they used almost but not really illegal tactics to disrupt the votes in areas where Sanders was popular.
The other thing that dismayed me was the Clinton foundation. Foundations are interesting constructs. They are a way for an individual or family or corporation to exercise philanthropy, a good thing. They are also a way to finance your own, family, or friend’s lifestyles. They often are private entities, and therefore are not required to make their activities as transparent as, say, a public corporation. Clearly, the Clintons have used their foundation to employ family, enhance their lifestyle and dispense favors. This is all outside any pay-for-play activities which I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on.
A political party organization in the United States exists to screen candidates and provide infrastructure to people who wish to campaign. They provide candidates with information about how to campaign as well as which issues seem to be of interest to most of the voters in any election. That’s how we do it in Idaho, and in every one of the states I’ve lived in. There is political maneuvering within the party, and current office holders do have clout, but no candidate can count on being a sure thing until election day.
To me, the recent revelations simply clarify why the Clinton’s political worldview has lost relevance. Trump was seen as someone who would make Washington pay attention to everyday Americans. If anything, he has disappointed all but a minority with his actions.
The next time around, I hope we have politically savvy policy wonks who run because they know how to deliver what they say they want to deliver and know the art of the collaboration, not just the win-lose deal.