Since at least July 2015, when the Justice Department referred the Clinton email server case to the FBI, Democrats and the Clinton campaign wanted to keep the issue out of the news. Now they lost the election, and they want the issue back in the news in a big way. They think FBI Director James Comey is responsible for her loss. Democrats ought to follow Bill Belichick’s example after a loss: mumble something meaningless about playing better next time. Then leave the public forum, to prepare for victory in the next contest.
That’s not the style in the era of Obama. Our president spent eight years avoiding responsibility. When Democratic candidate Clinton loses the election to succeed him, the whole party shows it has absorbed Obama’s lesson. When something bad happens, it is someone else’s fault. We do not make mistakes. If we do not succeed, the explanation lies elsewhere.
Democrats ought to follow Bill Belichick’s example after a loss: mumble something meaningless about playing better next time. Then leave the public forum, to prepare for victory in the next contest.
To avoid his current situation, Comey needed to play Washington politics at the top level. He did not. Someone somehow persuaded Michael Horowitz, DOJ Inspector General, to investigate Comey’s handling of the case. I can tell you in advance one conclusion the IG will not hand down: “Lock her up.” If he exonerates Comey, Democrats will never accept his conclusion. If he criticizes Comey, Democrats will ask for his head.
For some reason, Democrats accepted Supreme Court appointment of Bush as president in 2000 far more readily than they accepted their 2016 defeat in the electoral college. It is strange, as the Supreme Court decision was unconstitutional, whereas the 2016 election outcome was constitutional. Yet the phrase, “Not my president,” went up immediately. Did all of us accept the Supreme Court’s 2000 decision because anything that court does is constitutional by definition? Do we regard the 2016 outcome as illegitimate because due process elected a person we can’t stand?
Back to Clinton’s email server while she was secretary of state. Remember that this was a non-issue for years. She knew that strict State Department procedures forbade use of a personal server. IT types and others would say, “Look, some nameless bureaucrat wrote those procedures before smart phones, maybe even before email. They haven’t been updated in years.” The domain she used for her email address, clintonemail.com, made it clear to all correspondents that she used a personal address. An official address would have ended in state.gov. So everyone knew that Clinton’s email, sent and received, did not comply with State Department rules.
Bernie Sanders, her opponent for the nomination, is the only person who said, “Forget the damn emails.” Bless him. He should be president for uttering that one line.
Moreover, the issue did not emerge until she started to prepare her run for the presidency. No one – including the president, the State Department’s inspector general, the attorney general, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA, or anyone else cared about her email address while she was secretary of state. No one cared about it after she left office, until she indicated she would run for the White House. Then we heard about it. It has been a political issue from that time forward. Bernie Sanders, her opponent for the nomination, is the only person who said, “Forget the damn emails.” Bless him. He should be president for uttering that one line.
Sanders is not president, and Democrats will recriminate while Trump cleans up – that is, finishes off – what’s left of our democratic institutions. The clean-up won’t be hard, as the institutions have deteriorated for a long time. You have to wonder who, including Democrats, is sorry to see them go. Sadly, IG investigation of Comey creates an illusion that things still work the way they should. Partisan warfare proceeds without limits now, so I suppose extension of the email issue beyond the election is in fact what we should expect.
If Democrats and Republicans don’t reform themselves soon, they will look back and wonder how they got lost when so many signs pointed in the right direction.
I don’t think you can blame Comey for being partisan. When he held that press conference in July – he declined to prosecute Clinton, and added her practices were extremely careless – he decided for the moment to enter an arena where bureaucrats die. Democrats were happy; Republicans charged Comey with giving her a pass because she’s Clinton. Now she has lost, Democrats aren’t so happy anymore. They want justice, and Comey, with Anthony Weiner’s laptop under his right arm, is a likely target.
If Democrats and Republicans don’t reform themselves soon, they will look back and wonder how they got lost when so many signs pointed in the right direction. The Democrats in particular are flailing right now. It’s a sad spectacle, sadder still when they sink below the surface. Only a few people perceive that the party need not drown, if only it would calm down.