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Even Some Admirers Wish Hillary Would Stop Talking About 2016

Hillary Clinton has been the target of gratuitously negative coverage from the national political press for as long as she’s been in public life. During her Bill Clinton’s presidency, rumors of her impending criminal indictment were a regular feature of “Whitewater” coverage almost until that media-created pseudo-scandal fizzled out altogether.  

Two decades later, the decisive moment of Hillary’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential campaign came on October 29, 2016. Kevin Drum has helpfully reproduced New York Times coverage of FBI Director James Comey’s spectacular blunder on his blog. The entire front page above the fold was devoted to accusatory headlines, along with a stern editorial on page A18.

 “NEW EMAILS JOLT CLINTON CAMPAIGN IN RACE’S LAST DAYS,” read the Times’ lead story. Another article pondered the consequences of the FBI Director’s inserting himself into the campaign. “With 11 Days to Go, Trump Says Revelation ‘Changes Everything,’” read a third.

As, indeed it did. James Comey had completely flubbed the dub. The implied cover-up was imaginary. No new emails existed; only copies of old ones. No matter, Hillary’s polling numbers took a steep dive from which they never recovered. “Lock her up!” chanted enraptured Trump supporters.

Subsequent analysis showed that the Clinton emails saga—much ado about very little, in the end—received more coverage in the national political press than all of Donald Trump’s Russian intrigues, sexual scandals, bankruptcies, fraud lawsuits and his veritable avalanche of falsehoods combined. And what was it about? A handful of messages discussing “Top Secret” intelligence that had already been published in, yes, the New York Times.

But lock her up? It’s never going to happen. Not as long as the United States remains a nation of laws, admittedly an iffy proposition of late. There will be Trumps wearing orange jumpsuits or living in luxury Moscow condominiums before that day. They’ve been 25 years investigating the woman with nothing to show for it.

That said, I’ve about concluded that it would nevertheless be a good thing for the Democratic Party if Hillary took a vow of silence regarding the 2016 election. She can’t seem to open her mouth about it without inserting her foot. The Washington Post recently reported remarks she’d made to an audience in Mumbai, India.

“’I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward,’ said Clinton. ‘And his whole campaign — ‘Make America Great Again’ — was looking backward. You know, you didn’t like black people getting rights, you don’t like women, you know, getting jobs, you don’t want, you know, to see that Indian-American succeeding more than you are….’

“At another point in the talk, Clinton, whose campaign slogan was ‘Stronger Together,’ said that the reasons married white women voted for Trump was due to ‘ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.’”

I posted my knee-jerk response on Facebook:  “For the love of God, just shut up.” 

Needless to say, this was not a popular view among some Clinton supporters. “How sexist of you to tell her to shut up,” one friend opined. “Maybe you should do it.My age and race were mentioned unfavorably.

But sexist? Nah. You come up to bat, you’d better be wearing a helmet.

To many Democrats, it was another “basket of deplorables”—a tone-deaf blunder. Especially to Democrats running for election in “red” states. “Those are kind of fighting words for me, because I’m partial to Missouri voters” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) told the Post.  “And I don’t think that’s the way you should talk about any voter.” 

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH0 made similar noises.

Indeed, while I yield to no man in my contempt for Trump, it’s simply foolish to say that the cool people in the best states were on your side, while backwoods bigots and spineless women mainly supported your opponent. Sure many people voted their fear and resentment. But you’ll never win their support by shaming them. The average high school basketball coach knows better than to fire up the opposing team by insulting them.

I’d have thought she learned her lesson in Arkansas during her 1983 campaign to sell Bill Clinton’s education reforms. She traveled the state, meeting with school boards, PTA members, etc., in all 75 counties and listening respectfully. It appeared to be a revelation to her how many non-Ivy League graduates in Arkansas country towns had useful ideas to contribute. She gives the appearance of having forgotten a lot of that and become captive to metropolitan snobbery.

 As a personal matter, I’m confident that’s not who Hillary is. Maybe she simply hasn’t gotten over the hurt. “I understand how some of what I said upset people and can be misinterpreted,” she explained in a Facebook apologia of her own. “I meant no disrespect to any individual or group.”

Next time, she should leave the insults to us professionals.

State Department Seeks 2016 Release Of Hillary Clinton’s Email

By Billy House, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — About 55,000 pages of Hillary Clinton’s State Department email would be made public in January under an agency proposal.

The email, handled on Clinton’s private server and provided to the agency in December by the former secretary of state, must undergo an internal review before it can be released, the State Department said in a federal court filing on Monday in response to a public-records request.

The timetable means the email controversy will continue to follow Clinton’s presidential campaign into the new year. The disclosure that Clinton, a Democrat, used private email while at the State Department already has re-energized Republicans’ criticism of her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

The State Department is planning to make public as early as this week 296 Clinton emails already turned over to the Republican-led committee investigating the terror attacks. That panel is led by Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

The court filing, by State Department official John Hackett in federal court in Washington, seeks a judge’s permission for the January document release. The filing is part of a public-records lawsuit by a Vice News reporter. The department says it’ll take time to examine the e-mails, which number about 30,000.

“Given the breadth and importance of the many foreign policy issues on which the secretary of state and the department work, the review of these materials will likely require consultation with a broad range of subject matter experts within the department and other agencies, as well as potentially with foreign governments,” Hackett wrote in the court filing.

Photo: Niu Xiaolei via Xinhua/Sipa USA/TNS

Eleanor And Franklin, Here Come Bill And Hillary

WASHINGTON — Presidential history books tell the stories of a select few pairs: Abigail and John. Eleanor and Franklin. Jack and Jackie. Yes, Bill and Hillary are on the shelf, too.

Indelible partnerships make memorable presidencies. Abigail and John Adams relied on each other’s Yankee work ethic and shrewd advice. The Kennedys scattered stardust a thousand ways in a thousand days.

But it’s the Roosevelts, Eleanor and Franklin, that Hillary and Bill Clinton aim to take after. The Roosevelts lived in the White House for a dozen years. The Clintons plan to stay a total of 16.

On a new page, weary Americans may welcome two Clintons minding the store again at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Hillary’s failed health care initiative and Bill’s sins with Monica Lewinsky are Whitewater over the dam.

In their marriage, Barack and Michelle Obama aren’t locked in a laserlike political duet. Too bad. Mrs. Obama could have saved the president from rudely cutting a senator of his own party, Elizabeth Warren, speaking of her in public anger by her first name. The talk of the town isn’t just trade anymore; Obama’s faux pas disrespected a female lawmaker. When Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), called out the personal outburst, the White House demanded an apology, stirring the tempest.

As the 2016 election churn gets going, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is sure to play strings of shared memory. President Bill Clinton presided over peace and prosperity, with plenty of help from her First Ladyship. The 1990s were pretty golden.

The 21st century, since 9/11, has been pretty dreary. That sad fact is in plain sight, from the streets of Detroit to Baltimore. The tragic train wreck in Philadelphia is an object lesson in life falling off the tracks.

If history repeats or rhymes, the deep bond between Eleanor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt sets the stage for Hillary and Bill Clinton. In each case, the presidents were rock stars, with perfect pitch. Bill Clinton’s appearance on David Letterman’s Late Show brought back his disarming demeanor in a rush. That Huckleberry Finn smile.

Franklin D. Roosevelt exuded cheer, competence, and confidence. A nation in despair badly needed that when he took office. The Great Depression was the crisis that he faced and solved by trying new things, like creating government work programs. Conservation was one; another was a writers project for preserving folklore. Building bridges and civic buildings also became part of his lasting repertoire.

A jaunty patrician with a common touch, Roosevelt was a stellar president. My father’s boyhood was brightened by the father-like FDR, until age 12. Families in Chicago and New York kept his picture in the kitchen and huddled by the radio to hear his fireside chats as if he were speaking directly to them. The voice had a magical reach.

Of the famous presidential couples, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt were the most consequential during their time together in the White House, from 1933 to 1945, through the Depression on the home front and then the Second World War. The nation trusted and believed in both Roosevelts.

Mrs. Roosevelt acted as her husband’s “eyes and ears” all over the country as a kind of ambassador, from the coal mines to the bread lines. (Few knew the president could not walk unaided.) She returned to the White House filled with stories and ideas for social programs that would help poverty and lift morale.

According to author Doris Kearns Goodwin, idealistic Eleanor knew what should be done, while Franklin knew what could be done. They were extraordinary. Their personal relationship foundered over an affair of Franklin, but they had an unwavering pact to shore up the common good.

As for the Clintons, give them this: never a dull day. They met as equals at Yale Law School, and always presented themselves as a team, for better or worse. Grand jury testimony one day, ending the war in Bosnia the next. They refused to let impeachment do them part, over a slight affair. Their bond proved unbreakable, proving the cynics and critics wrong.

Was it a co-presidency? Close enough so that voters will associate Hillary Clinton with the good times of the 1990s. Her ringing declaration in Beijing, that women’s rights are human rights, also showed her solo on the world stage before she became a senator and secretary of state. Everyone knew she was speaking for President Clinton.

And one day, Bill may be speaking for President Clinton.

Photo: Karen Murphy via Flickr