Sorry for the sparse blogging. I had a project, and I had to see it through to the failure point, which I finally reached last night. All of life is a struggle to reach the failure point. Such is the nature of existence; to be is
not to be.
Politically, the existential question is this: Has Hillary Clinton's candidacy reached the failure point?
First, I had better warn you: I'm suddenly starting to warm, or re-warm, to the idea of a Clinton presidency. Why? Because so many people have turned on her. As you know, I am ruled by the creature that Poe called "the imp of the perverse." In the words of another fine writer: When they give you lined paper, write the other way
As we assess this so-called email scandal, we must note, first and foremost, that Hillary did nothing that the Republicans did not do. I refer, of course, to the great (and largely forgotten) GWB43 scandal, discussed here
. Right-wingers hate
it when they mount one of their organized rage campaigns only to confront some smarty-pants liberal blogger who points out that Bush did it first and worse. But precedent matters, and so does hypocrisy.
The GWB43 tactic was used to twist elections into knots, while Hillary's servers were used for...for what? We just don't know. Maybe she was up to some deviltry, and maybe she was not. The faux-hip presumption of malefic intent is not the same thing as evidence.
know that Colin Powell did precisely as Hillary did.
Here's what he said to George Stephanopoulos:
What I did when I entered the State Department, I found an antiquated system that had to be modernized and modernized quickly.
So we put in place new systems, bought 44,000 computers and put a new Internet capable computer on every single desk in every embassy, every office in the State Department. And then I connected it with software.
But in order to change the culture, to change the brainware, as I call it, I started using it in order to get everybody to use it, so we could be a 21st century institution and not a 19th century.
But I retained none of those e-mails and we are working with the State Department to see if there's anything else they want to discuss with me about those e-mails.
I don't have any to turn over. I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files.
For more, go here
Moreover, Sen. Chuck Schumer has stated Clinton's email system was based on that put in place by Powell. Condoleeza Rice, who served as secretary of state between Powell and Clinton, reportedly did not use email -- so it is unlikely she would have prioritized updating the department's systems.
If computer systems at State were as dangerously primitive and old-fashioned as Powell testifies, and since it appears Rice had little incentive to complete the modernization process he started, then it makes sense Clinton and her aides would utilize a private email built specifically for keeping the work of the nation's top-ranking diplomat secure. Especially in light of reports that no government emails in any department were automatically archived during Clinton's tenure.
Anyone who screams at Hillary while excusing Powell is a Janus-faced partisan. This is starting to look like another ginned-up pseudoscandal, reminiscent of the Benghazi buncombe.
Oddly, many non
-rightwingers are playing along with this silliness, just as they once played along with the Whitewater silliness. As John Amato
writes in Crooks and Liars:
It's interesting how most of the media (and yes Howard Kurtz, even MSNBC) have been attacking Hillary over this story.
Are you ready for the return of the 1990's Clinton media hunting party?
Guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be. But I'm also wondering: Why?
Wasn't her tenure as Secretary of State bellicose enough to please the neocons? What more could they want
from her? Why on earth are the war hawks and their paid press-titutes suddenly so fretful about the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency?
Let me run two names past you: Huma Abedin and Sidney Blumenthal.
Although the media rarely mentions these Clinton associates, those two names have set off alarms in certain households.
Sidney Blumenthal is the father of Max Blumenthal, who may be considered America's most effective critic of Israel. (Norman Finkelstein's youthful mad dalliance with Maoism makes him much easier to marginalize.) The Likudniks and their supporters hate
the younger Blumenthal. Imagine their reaction when the hacker called "Guccifer" uncovered some emails between Sidney Bumenthal and Hillary Clinton
in which he discussed sensitive information from Middle Eastern sources.
Were those emails a chance discovery, or is there more to this hack-job than we have been told? Guccifer is actually a Romanian cab driver named Marcel Lazar Lehel
. We are told that "Lazar was an amateurish hacker with no special skills beyond what he learned from various hacker websites." And yet he got into George W. Bush's emails...?
Now let's talk about Huma.
The NYT recently referred to Huma as Hillary's "substitute daughter." But in those dark and slithery regions of the internet where liberals rarely tred, the very mention of the name Huma Abedin
sends the professional Islamophobes into explosions of hategasm. No longer is she considered the betrayed damsel of the Wiener saga. She is now Mata Huma.
The sublime Michele Bachmann (whose scholarship and judgment are, as everyone knows, the stuff of legend
) once called Huma a Muslim infiltrator
. And she wouldn't take it back, even after John McCain castigated her.
, esteemed author of The Case for Islamophobia
(which I promise to read the moment I go completely mad), considers Huma an agent of the Muslim Brotherhood. You should read the post at the other end of that link: It's freakin' hilarious. In Shoebatian logic, the fact that people have come to Huma's defense only proves the existence of a Massive Muslim Conspiracy To Bring America Under the Heel of the Caliphate.
David Horowitz -- one of the most impressively pustular assholes ever to poise itself over the great toilet bowl of American culture -- has proclaimed Huma Abedin to be "worse than Alger Hiss."
I could cite many further examples, but the point is made.
As Michael Parenti once noted, we often neglect to ask ourselves: Do they
see it that way? By "they," he referred to to right-wing enemies of Democratic politicians whom some lefties consider As Bad As Anyone On the Right. (Specifically, Parenti was talking about JFK. But that's a topic for another time.)
The current situation illustrates the point. To oddballs and outsiders like you and me, Hillary-as-SOS bore a distressingly close resemblance to the Bush-era war hawks. But the view from the hawks' nest is quite different. When actual neocons meet in their private places, sharing Havana cigars and Royal Lochnagar with Michael Ledeen and Sheldon Adelson, they don't complain, as we complain, about the way Hillary Clinton morphed into a Condi Rice clone during the 2008-2012 period.
see things differently.
They see Mata Huma, a.k.a. Alger Hiss, in a quasi-familial relationship with the person who leads all polls to become the Democratic nominee. They see the detested Max Blumenthal gaining access to policy makers on the highest level. They see these things, and they grow very troubled. Nothing Hillary has done in the past, and nothing she says now or in the future, will quell their concerns.
Thus: Emailgate. Thus: All future "gates" standing between Hillary and the White House.
If Hillary survives the current brouhaha (as she probably will), don't be surprised if the Blumenthal factor come up during the campaign. If compelled, she will not hesitate to toss the entire Blumenthal family under the bus. Then she will proclaim her love for Israel with the volume and gravity of a Bruckner fanfare.
At that point, another batch of hard-to-explain hacked communications may pop into public view. And I'll bet you a donut that the hack-job will be rather implausibly ascribed to yet another unskilled amateur in a foreign land.