A Slightly Annoyed Defense of Hillary Clinton

I saw that tweet the other day. And I got a little annoyed.

Why? Because I actually don’t think it sounds like Clinton. At all. I didn’t think that a year ago. And I don’t think it now. There is a reason for that.

Clinton Has Been Very Open

Clinton has always released her taxes, her email, her family’s foundation records, her fundraising records, her donation records, and her life’s story when asked by appropriate parties. Appropriate parties are: the American people, the government, the press, and the editors of her books.

Not once do you have a record of her refusing to release something that she felt she had a legal or ethical obligation to release.

When you have someone who is that willing to release information, you have someone not trying to hide anything. Are there times she fails to release? Yes — because we are talking about multiple tons of documents. Is there a pattern of her hiding anything? No.

Donald Trump Political Donation ScandalNow on to the bribing. Because she has released all of this information, we can go through and see if she has any record of using sketchy ways of handling business. And guess what? She doesn’t have that record. She complies with the rules even when she gets suggestions to not do so. (I’m looking at you Colin Powell.) Even when she probably should have used an Official Government Email Account™, she followed the rules for not using one.

Having been in government, I know why she used the single device. It is a decision most people in leadership have to make. And most of them hate using two or three devices. Clinton’s having it set up with her husband’s server was probably better than using gmail. But I digress.

Clinton’s Clean Donation Record

The fact is that you can trace her giving to whomever via her taxes, her family’s direct foundation, and the Clinton Foundation. You can look to see what they did with every dollar they received. You can spend months on this — just like most of the charity watchers do. And nothing — Absolutely nothing! — shows it was not above board. There was no using donation funds to buy things, no using funds to make political donations, nothing. Nada. Nichts.

Clinton does have a track record: not lying whenever she wants; not using her money to get out of scrapes; admitting fault; apologizing when she screws up…

Yet where does Justin Green, Political Editor for Independent Journal Review, start? Saying that Hillary Clinton is who first comes to mind when reading, “Rich person laundering political donation (bribe) through his foundation and hiding it on IRS filings”? And he is surprised that it is Trump?! Clinton has zero record of doing anything so unbelievably illegal and Trump is, well, Trump.

Clinton’s Track Record

Clinton does have a track record: not lying whenever she wants; not using her money to get out of scrapes; admitting fault; apologizing when she screws up; not breaking the law; not bribing public officials; not creating investment or university scams; and on and on.

So why the hell would anyone — especially a professional political editor — even conceive of writing such a statement?

Clinton has screwed up before — the Iraq war vote, using a private server that the State Department hadn’t authorized[1], most of the 2008 campaign, pushing for the use of American power when a wait-and-see approach would probably have been better. But these are policy decisions. When it comes to behavior? She doesn’t do anything wrong.

[1] This always struck me as weird, since she was in charge of it and Obama clearly knew she had the server and didn’t care.

12 thoughts on “A Slightly Annoyed Defense of Hillary Clinton

  1. Not knowing Mr. Green’s record, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant something like “most people would assume this is about Clinton, but it’s really about Trump.” The media breathlessly reports every minor hiccup related to the Clinton Foundation because it “seems shady” and there are issues of “optics” and “people say” there’s a pay-for-play scandal. But when there’s clear evidence that Trump is doing exactly that, it is barely news at all. So, given the limits of Twitter conversation, I’m hoping he was making a comment on people’s perceptions rather than asserting his own.

    • I think he was actually surprised. However, Elizabeth was a little bothered that I played up his role in my edit, given that the tweet was part of a series of tweets talking about how serious it was and how it should be a big deal. So definitely not some evil guy. But I hold people with 11,000 Twitter followers to a higher standard. :-) Regardless, the broader point stands that there are a lot of people who just assume Clinton is this totally unethical person when the facts don’t support that. I certainly think her Iraq War vote was craven. (The same goes for Kerry, though.) But I’m afraid that the Conservative Book Club of the 1990s has created a false narrative here.

      • I was going to say that her Iraq War vote wasn’t a policy decision, it was craven like you say. Voting for the war was politically expedient for her and most of the other politicians who did the same. “But the Bush Administration told us …” excuses just don’t cut it.

        I mostly like Hillary, but sometimes not so much. The latter is mostly because of Bill’s triangulation to the right during his presidency and my perceived notion that she has done the same (e.g., the Iraq War vote) and will do the same as President. I greatly enjoy listening to her in one-on-ones and groups (e.g., the primary debates); she has a great sense of humor and I’m usually on the same side of her policies. Her speeches are not the greatest, but then again, Obama’s usually put me to sleep.

        • I think I would have loved Hillary Clinton circa 1992. Now I like her quite a lot. But she’d survived 25 years of war and has many scars to prove it. And it strikes me as unfair for the media, who have fallen for so many fake scandals, to now complain that she’s too secretive. That’s especially true when, if she holds a press conference, you know she will be asked about, as Bernie Sanders would say, “her damned coughing.” As everyone knows: coughing is a sure sign of a brain tumor.

          She is charming and funny. And she’s at her best in intimate environments. She clearly doesn’t have the love of big crowds that her husband had.

          I think she will be far more liberal than Bill for two reasons. The first is that she was always more liberal than he. The second is that the times have changed. I don’t think America wanted most of what Bill was selling. But they were willing to accept it in a way they aren’t now. Plus, we know more. NAFTA? Okay: you could make the case for it then. You can’t now. Welfare reform? Same thing, although I think the case was much weaker. You could say the same thing for a number of other issues.

    • I read it the same way you did, Jurgan — but I don’t know Twitter.

      There is no small degree of regular, classic sexism in how these candidates are perceived. Aside from the Fox News Black Hole Of Truth (no verifiable claim can escape their event horizon), Clinton’s negatives are all about her being Ambitious. A Know It All.

      Well, what candidate has ever run for president who wasn’t hugely ambitious and egotistical? Even Nader, God bless him, has a very healthy ego. We praise this in men; to some, it appears “unseemly” in a woman.

      Personally, I find the desire for power a bit psychotic. But I forgive it a little more in women than men, as there’s a power imbalance being corrected there.

      Trump proudly boasts about all the times he’s swindled others, and promises to swindle others For Us. Clinton has made mistakes with the fine print, and gets painted as a swindler — when she’s not painted as an egghead too interested in the fine print.

      But I suppose that’s part of Trump’s brand. He didn’t swindle others through knowing the fine print, just by being the Alpha-est of Alpha Males. Others gave in to his clear superiority. For a girl to achieve prominence through knowing the fine print — that’s just cheating.

    • Yeah, I wasn’t really mad at Green. I was mad at the idea that people would think that. Heck I was reading a CNN piece yesterday with her principle biographer and even he fell into the trap. That is okay, Paul Krugman wrote an article lambasting the media so I think things will slowly improve.

      Just in time for the 2024 elections!

      • Was that a joke? “Paul Krugman wrote an article lambasting the media so I think things will slowly improve.” I’m sure Krugman would get a kick out of it. People should start introducing him, “Nobel Prize winning economist and healer of nations, Paul Krugman!”

        For the record, it’s an excellent article: Hillary Clinton Gets Gored.

        • Huh? No. I read it and thought it was great. I also thought this was not going to change things that much.

          • I just thought it was funny. Krugman obviously does have an impact. But he spent something like 8 years talking about how George W Bush was a fraud before the media suddenly woke up to that fact. And this is nowhere near the first time that he has defended Clinton like this. But I do think is a splendid defense, which is why a quote from it will go up later today.

            But I did imagine Krugman saying, “You think these bozos I work with are going to listen to me?!”

            • I love it when Krugman makes little jabs at his colleagues, like one time he said on vacation he’d take a cab and ask the driver for any ideas for his next column.

              • I didn’t not see that! That’s brilliant. I do see him go after David Brooks a lot — usually without mentioning him by name.

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