As new scandals emerge to bedevil Hillary Clinton’s march to power, a question occurs: what exactly is this quality of Hillary’s that actually makes people want to vote for her? Right now it seems that Secretary Clinton is doing her own rendition of Taxi Driver, with her in the role of Matthew and the Democratic Party in the role of Iris (WARNING! Strong Language);
As I pointed out in an earlier post, conservatives have gradually come to terms with the “transparent selfishness and corruption” of Republican politicians, a recognition that the best that government can aspire to is an evil, albeit a necessary evil.
But the Left believes the opposite: that government can be a force for good, that rule by experts can usher in a new age of Aquarius, blah blah blah, etc. As Jonah Goldberg put it, “Liberalism, as an ideology, insists that government can do good and great things for the people and the world, if the people running the government are smart liberals.”
The left must claim that good government comes from good governors. The election of Barack Obama may be excused by his particular brand of practiced obscurity: he was a blank slate coming into office, onto which a majority of voters could project their allotments of “I hope”. Secretary Clinton allows for no such illusions as her history making it explicitly clear that she has a mafioso’s contempt for the strictures of government.
It is one thing for the Republicans to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of two evils: at the heart of the skeptical outlook of conservatives and libertarians is the idea that government may be necessary, but it remains a necessary evil. This is both a problem and a strength for conservatives: the expectation that the best and brightest are doing something, indeed anything but going into politics puts them at a certain disadvantage, but at the same time… well, it makes possible the “vote for me because my opponent will ruin this country” avenue of attack.
The left cannot so easily accommodate this reality. One of the greatest gifts the Obama presidency has presented to his opponents is, paradoxically, transparency. Not on his part (of course) but on the part of everyone else. Obama has so abused his office, so systematically embraced the machine of government, so taken to the things claimed to abhor that his defenders… well, they have been shown to be not so much principled as partisan.
You thought Obama’s election promised to advance the Anti-War movement he made so many appeals to? Well… that didn’t turn out so well.
You thought the left objected to a president killing people in far off lands with a stroke of the pen? Oops, turns out he’s rather fond of the practice.
With that in mind, let’s ask what offenses against good government Hillary has already committed?
-As MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell observes, the transparency requirements Hillary has evaded with her emails are policies liberals have desired for decades.
–James Taranto of the WSJ points out that Secretary Clinton’s decision to provide her emails entirely in paper print-outs has some selling points, although entirely from the view of thwarting public access. Providing her emails in the form of boxes and boxes of paper slows Freedom of Information Act requests to a crawl and makes FYI, if you hear someone reference Hillary turning over 55k emails, correct them: it’s 55k pages of emails. Not at all the same thing.
-Liberals concerned with the power of money in politics will be (no doubt) overjoyed to learn that the Clinton Foundation “has received as much as $81m from wealthy international donors who were clients of HSBC’s controversial Swiss bank.”
-Concerned with the plight of women in repressive Middle Eastern nations? Don’t worry, though Bill Clinton’s “friends” in the United Arab Emirates may have thrown some money into the Clinton Foundation coffers, Bill doesn’t “agree with everything they do“.
-Maybe that’s alright, so long as the Foundation abided by the rules set up by the State Department. Except they didn’t. Algeria managed to slip $500,000 into the Clinton Foundation coffers. No doubt it was a coincidence that they gave money to the Secretary of State’s family charity at the same time Algeria “was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.”
-Further the Clinton Foundation makes sure to keep company with a, uh, rarefied group of donors. As the New York Times reports (emphasis mine);
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation has accepted tens of millions of dollars in donations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Algeria and Brunei—all of which the State Department has faulted over their records on sex discrimination and other human-rights issues.
-As Mollie Z. Hemingway points out, when American companies do the things that foreign governments did with the Clinton Foundation, it falls under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. As she observes, “it would be weird if we held U.S. companies to far stricter standards regarding bribery than we did our own secretary of state.”
Now, don’t mistake any of this: I don’t like Hillary. I haven’t liked Hillary for decades, and for reasons entirely to do with the standards and philosophy she professes to believe. But in a strange way, all of this makes me a little less worried about Hillary. After all, as a conservative I have no illusions about the integrity of politicians, and there is something refreshing about a politician so blatantly mercenary. But for the left, if you think that the Republicans are the party of big business, why would you want to put in power a politician that has spent decades in Washington establishing that her loyalty is exclusive… to the highest bidder?
As Joe Scarborough of MSNBC asks, no doubt speaking for liberals everywhere, “How stupid do they think we are?”