Politics & Policy

Will Hillary’s Political Luck Hold?

Clinton speaks at a rally in Detroit, Mich., October 10, 2016. (Reuters photo: Lucy Nicholson)
New revelations about Clinton’s corruption are unlikely to prevent her coronation.

You may have noticed that Donald Trump has a real weakness for hyperbole, and he probably is wrong when he insists that Hillary Rodham Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to get this close to the presidency of the United States.

Top ten, though?

That is a list you probably don’t want to contemplate too intensely if you enjoy sleeping at night.

James Comey, the contemptible bureaucrat who apparently is running the show at the FBI these days, just informed Congress that the agency plans to reopen its investigation into the question of Mrs. Clinton’s covert e-mail system, the classified information that passed through it, the contents of e-mails that were improperly kept from investigators, and more. “The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote to Congress, which means that the FBI is finally catching up with the gentlemen in Moscow and Buzzfeed.

Hurrah for the feebs.   

The recent WikiLeaks release is hugely entertaining reading. Vexed by the Clinton circle’s lack of e-mail security, Clinton aide Cheryl Mills wrote to John Podesta — in an e-mail, for pete’s sake! — “We need to clean this up.” Clean what up? “He” — President Barack Obama — “has emails from her. They do not say state.gov.” You’ll recall that President Obama, whose dishonesty is at least as instinctive as Richard Nixon’s was, said that he knew nothing about Mrs. Clinton’s e-mail shenanigans until he learned about the situation on the evening news. “I first heard about it on the news” is his standard line on practically everything. If, God forbid, the man should one day come down with testicular cancer, he’ll learn about it from Dr. Sanjay Gupta at 7 p.m. on a slow-news Wednesday on CNN.

RELATED: The FBI’s October Surprise is Devastating for Hillary Clinton

Remember that this mess started with the invasion of an e-mail account belonging to Sidney Blumenthal, a longtime Clinton sycophant. If you and your gang were in hot water because you could not keep your secret e-mails secret, what on earth would possess you to put a such a confession — a confession of what looks for all the world like conspiracy to obstruct justice – into an e-mail?

English is going to need a stronger word for stupidity.

But don’t expect this to slow down Herself and Herself’s coronation. Not too much, anyway.

The Clintons are, after all, the luckiest people in politics. Current Republican rhetoric notwithstanding, there was in fact a time in American history when Americans were doing so much winning that they got tired of winning, and that time was 1992. We’d just defeated the Soviet Union, watched as simultaneously weeping and jubilant Germans ripped down the Berlin Wall, enjoyed one of the greatest economic expansions in the history of the human race as we went from gasoline lines and stagflation to an economy that grew by more than a third over eight years, and then watched with no small degree of pride as George H. W. Bush slapped a “Do You Even Foreign Policy, Bro?” bumper sticker on the back of Air Force One and deftly built an effectively worldwide coalition against Saddam Hussein when he decided to disturb the peace. We were sick of winning, and Bill Clinton, a well-scrubbed hustling rube with a little political talent, capitalized on that with his one-word campaign: “Change.”

Change from what to what? some of us asked.  

Now we know.

#share#Mrs. Clinton is at least as lucky as her husband, inasmuch as the American electorate does not seem to be very much moved by the argument: “Hillary Clinton is venal, untrustworthy, and dishonest — so vote for Donald Trump!” Even a roster of heavy-hitting conservative intellectuals including Callista Gingrich doesn’t seem to have had much effect.

This leaves us in a difficult spot.

What seems most likely to await us in January is a President Hillary Rodham Clinton facing an open-ended federal investigation involving serious wrongdoing.

The act of making predictions about politics is of very limited value, because human social systems are inherently unpredictable. But what seems most likely to await us in January is a President Hillary Rodham Clinton facing an open-ended federal investigation involving serious wrongdoing, a Senate that is either deadlocked or close to deadlocked, and a Republican House that has slightly less positive power than it does right now and hence is pushed even more deeply into pure opposition. The media will publish duly considered lamentations of the ensuing paralysis and partisan rancor even as it secretly cherishes the emotionally charged content that such a situation produces on a weekly basis. Various gentlemen on the radio will tell conservatives that things would be different if only Paul Ryan really, really believed in the immortality of Tinkerbell.

Inaction often is the best kind of action in Washington, but there can be too much of a thoroughly-okay-compared-to-the-next-best-option thing. Despite the assurances of the people who believe that climate change is a more pressing problem than the national debt (the same people who believed that the Obama administration’s Syria policy is a remarkable success, recall) we are on course to leave behind the relatively modest deficits of recent years and return to very large ones as our unbalanced entitlement programs run even more wildly amok. We are one substantial jump in interest rates from a national fiscal crisis. That recent health-care reform whose success all the best people (and many of the worst) assured us was beyond question is sending many families’ household finances into desperation and disarray. There are atomic ayatollahs in the world’s future. There is much that needs to be done.

#related#For the moment, the fortunes of the republic are being held hostage by the competing psychoses of two of the worst people of our times, along with the various financial and political interests attached to those two living, breathing personifications of wrong. As one Wall Street trader put it: “In the short term, the markets are driven by fear and greed. In the long term, they’re driven by math.” Fear and greed have their role in politics, too, but in the long term the fate of these United States will not be governed by math but by the monster that haunted Harold Macmillan’s nightmares: “Events.” Osama bin Laden was the furthest thing from most Americans’ minds when they went to the polls in 2000 or when George W. Bush was sworn in in 2001. Herbert Hoover was exactly the sort of man Americans say they want as president: a brilliant, pragmatic engineer who donated his government paychecks to charity. He seemed like the obvious man for the job, until he didn’t.

Events. I hope we are ready for them.

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