11/14/16

Note: This is the fifth in a long series of separate postings discussing many aspects of the 2016 elections.

Is Hillary Clinton a tragic figure?

While she dedicated her life to public service, unfortunately, she lost the true nature of what dedication and public service mean in the process.

She acquired the feeling of being entitled. According to her, because of her public service she deserves special treatment. She felt that norms, procedures and possibly even some pesky little laws do not apply to her because she sacrificed so much for “America.”

She became what well-known columnist William Safire called a “congenital liar” 20 years ago in his January 8, 1996 New York Times op-ed piece “Essay: Blizzard of Lies.”

Lines between legal, ethical and unethical at best, if not illegal, were blurred and probably even breached time and time again.

She clearly lost the “true north” of public service and dedication.

Did she lose the election because of that? No. The sad truth is that losing her moral compass was not the reason she lost the presidency.

I am sure it did not help. Nor did the fact that, in spite of being in actual public service for 15 years (I do NOT count being First Lady as a momentous public service), her track record of achievement is poor-to-zero and her judgment often proved to be ill advised. But, sadly, she did not lose because of that, either.

Did she lose because her agenda/platform was uninspiring and, indeed, bad? Unfortunately, no.

Did she lose because of her lack of leadership qualities manifested in an ultimate fashion in her terrible handling of the Benghazi tragedy? Again, disappointingly, no.

All of these elements, each of which should have caused her to lose the election, did not because the media and other elites covered up for her. They gave her a smoke screen that did not allow most people to penetrate the cover and see the real person.

Of course, at the margin, none of these matters helped and there could have been a “straw that broke the camel’s back” effect in the piling up of scandal after scandal and her being a bad campaigner and on and on, But none of these were the main reason for her losing.

The tragedy for her is that she lost because of President Obama. The true reason Hillary Clinton lost the presidency is that a wide enough coalition of American people rejected Obama’s policies, values and ways so completely as to give the presidency to a person who, in normal circumstances, Clinton would have obliterated.

So, in effect, Clinton was bitten by Obama twice, both in 2008 and in 2016. And that is tragic.

My suggestion to Mr. and Mrs. Clinton is to shut down their foundation immediately and with much haste. They have the perfect opportunity to do it now, gracefully, with good reasons to call it a day. They can transfer existing charitable projects to other, proper, foundations such as the Gates Foundation or the Wellcome Trust, or many other good charities around. If, in their arrogance, they do not do that, they will end up having to shut it down in disgrace. Donations will IMMEDIATELY take a huge hit. After all, the Clintons have NOTHING to sell any more. Why would people give their foundation any money? After the first major hit, donations will continue to trickle down and, in a matter of very few years, drop to a level that will not be sufficient to support this weirdest and most suspect of “charities” where administration expenses amount to about 90% of the revenue. If they allow that to happen, not only will they risk having to close it down due to lack of funds, but also it will be the ultimate proof that the foundation was mostly a cover for a pay to play scheme.

There is another reason why they should wind it down immediately. Investigating a sitting president’s foundation is clearly a carrier builder for any aspiring ambitious FBI special agent. Investigating the foundation of an ex-President of the United States and an ex-Secretary of State less so, but still pretty important. Investigating the closed down foundation of a couple of has-beens is really not very alluring, and I suspect that such an investigation would progress at a snail’s pace, if at all.

To ensure they are less alluring to would-be investigators, the Clintons need to lower their profile. No more political activities, no more paid speeches of any significance (in any case, the fees paid will be dramatically lower now), etc.

If they do lower their profile, there will not be a need for either Obama or Trump to pardon them. Can you imagine how shameful that would be? Much better to fade into the background and preserve their reduced political capital for use when Chelsea will need it than to try and keep it going, fail miserably and face the near certainty of indictment.

If they do that and if, in spite of it, indictments come down the line, it will, at the time, be up to President Trump to decide what to do. The best outcome then would probably be a plea deal that would have her admit to a minor offence—maybe only a misdemeanor—and call it a day.

If, however, they try to maintain their high profile and strong political platform, they will fail; they will most probably face indictments and they do not deserve any pardon.