A phenomenon about which I’ve written often is the longterm GOP goal of discrediting the idea of government by implicating the politicians most committed to sound government. The REpublican House shuts down debt ceiling negotiations in 2011 but “Washington” – both sides – is corrupt. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, the IRS investigated an unusual number of 501c(4) claims by groups affiliated by both parties, which means the organization is targeting conservatives, therefore the IRS should be reexamined. “Running against the establishment,” a trope that we’re tired of, has an allure even for liberals who don’t realize that while most career politicians are venal and dullards they’re no more corrupt than any person in a bureaucracy following patterns he or she set decades ago and likely inherited from a predecessor besides.
Yesterday, Paul Waldman threw up his hands. I’d have to consult Wikipedia to find a presidential candidate with a history of illegal activity as pronounced and dedicated as Donald Trump yet the stories often get no more than an afternoon or evening’s play. Consider: my state’s attorney general dropped a investigation into Trump “University” after his foundation made a contribution to Pam Bondi’s political action committee; last week I learned that he paid an IRS fine. Yet all “Morning Joe” could talk about this morning was the Friday afternoon news dump of Hillary Clinton’s FBI interview transcript taken Fourth of July weekend. There were hints and allegations, Paul Simon sang. But, in an example of the kind of irony that only politics can make, Trump’s vulgarity, racism, and repulsiveness inoculate him. Not only is he a liar who says disgusting things about everyone, he’s not a politician. And don’t underestimate the number of Americans who believe a little corruption is okay if you’re making a profit but not when you run a government agency; a Trump can defraud stockholders and shout CAVEAT EMPTOR so long as you’re not affected directly.
Like I wrote earlier, liberals commit the same error. Digby:
We expect our own to adhere to a higher standard than conservatives. We don’t expect the right to live up to those standards, and they don’t disappoint us when they don’t. But when appearances (even false media ones) suggest people like the Clintons have fallen short, we’re on a hair trigger for throwing them under the bus. Dirty tricksters on the right know this and exploit it as a weakness.
I don’t believe the stories that The Race is Tightening, and I think the Clinton Foundation was always a bad idea if the Clintons knew, as I’m sure they did, that Hillary would run for prez – ambition plaily visible under the carapace of charity – but if she’s not holding to any lead that matters, blame the suspicion of corruption created by loose babble about emails and servers. Her “trust issues” don’t matter a good goddamn either – who cares about liking or, god, trusting a leader? The public didn’t when her husband sat in the Oval Office.