Saturday, July 09, 2016

Race for the White House Volume 80

While most Americans continue to enjoy their summers, through vacations, leisure activities, and backyard get togethers, all is not well in the country. Cities like Chicago see continued violence in isolated parts of town every weekend, but the national headlines are not the same as when black men are caught on camera being shot to death by police officers, in what clearly look to be matters of overreach. Of course, these episodes, the reaction, rightfully shock America, as allegations of systemic racism are leveled and distrust between minority groups and law enforcement grows. Such events happened this week, and then developed in an even more tragic way as as a peaceful protest against police brutality in Dallas, Texas saw five police officers gunned down, and seven more injured, by a black gunman, eventually killed by a police robot, who made it clear that he wanted to kill white police officers.

We are all left wondering just what is going on in America this summer, and how worse things might eventually get. The current President continues to talk about gun control and many feel he is far more sympathetic to the causes of Black Lives Matters activists than in supporting the vast majority of exemplary law enforcement officials.

To say the least, the two presumptive major party nominees do not offer much hope in bringing the country together during this campaign season or into a new Administration. Everything is right now about politics and attacking the opponent, as both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump suffer through miserable polling numbers related to their favorability and trustworthiness.

This upcoming week, Trump is expected to name his running-mate and that will generate a tremendous amount of headlines. Will it be someone predictable like Newt Gingrich, or someone more out of left-field, such as a retired General? We do know that in the past week, two current GOP office holders, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker and Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, who were publicly known to be vetted by the Trump campaign, took their names out of consideration. That is pretty unprecedented in modern politics. It seems as politicians who actively hope to have a viable future after this year, really do not want to run with Trump. The Presidential candidate also met this week with Congressional Republicans, to mixed reviews. His session with Senators was said to be particularly testy at times.

On the opposite send of the spectrum, I have to say that Trump showed tremendous restraint in his initial public statements after the sickening ambush in Dallas. His campaign released a lengthy public statement (likely not written by him, but perhaps daughter Ivanka), in which some facts were wrong, but he took a measured tone in what was conveyed. I also saw a clip of a statement he gave sitting at a desk to a camera and it was about the most Presidential he had ever looked in his entire life. I am not at all confident this will last, because for the rest of the week, Trump has been acting absolutely unhinged, and as if he was trying to give GOP delegates any excuse in the book to somehow depose him at the upcoming convention. To repeat, there is no way, that I will ever vote for Donald Trump.

Much attention this past week involved over a "Hillary is corrupt" Tweet, his account sent out, featuring an image of Clinton, piles of cash, and a six point star, which to many, resembled the Star of David, a sacred symbol of Judaism. The campaign edited the image to change the star into a circle, but denied that it was meant as any sort of subliminal "Hillary is a corrupt Jew" message. After all, Trump has Jewish relatives and has been so nice to minorities throughout this campaign, right? They claim it was just a regular star or a "Sheriff's Star", but it has been proven that the image was lifted by a Twitter account run by a white supremacist and that anti-Semitic imagery is very much a part of the modus operandi. It is of course possible that Trump's inept campaign did not realize what they were sending out, but they have not helped matters by claiming they did nothing wrong. The candidate himself this week said, in great length, that he wished the image would not have been taken down, because it was not a Jewish Star. To say the least, I do not think Donald Trump will be getting a lot of Jewish votes this fall. I have always hoped that more of my fellow Jews would come to vote Republican, but he really makes that impossible.

By far though, the single most significant development of the week was an announcement by FBI Director James Comey early on. It was both a good news and bad news sort of thing for Hillary Clinton. As expected, and quickly confirmed by the Justice Department, she will not be facing charges over her use of private email as Secretary of State. Some had thought the FBI would recommend charges, only to force the Justice Department to disregard, but the bottom line conclusion of the FBI was that there was nothing that justified criminal charges. So, the investigation is over. Hillary will not be going to jail, and Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden can stand down. An obstacle is out of the way, and she is very likely to be elected President in a few short months.

However, once the initial glee of Clinton partisans was expressed, they had to look back and think about how politically damaging the lengthy statement of Director Comey was to her. If anyone was watching live (I was not), they might have taken the first ten minutes of the statement as the lead up to saying that he would be recommending she be charged criminally. That was not to be though, and many on the right firmly believe "the fix was in."

Comey declared, in great detail, that Clinton was "grossly negligent" in her use of the email system and put American security at risk, even if no proof was obtained of foreign hacking. He painstakingly demonstrated that the facts showed that many of her insistent public statements over the past year plus on the matter were false and that she and her team did not do all they could to cooperate. Comey even seemed to suggest that anybody else in the government who did what she did might face charges. It really seemed like he was saying that Hillary Clinton is simply "too big to jail", and that such a politically charged case would be too unprecedented. Critics of Clinton are left shaking their head as to how the facts that were found do not not justify an indictment. I cannot say I disagree, but I did not expect to see that happen, and I will just hope the FBI Director acted appropriate in all of this. He does have a fairly strong reputation for fairness and (to the dismay of some on the left), he really did seem to go out of his way to detail just how much Hillary Clinton did wrong. That was made even more clear when he testified late this week before Congress, as Republicans had to try to walk a thin line between criticizing his decision and not trying to come across as overly partisan.

So, Hillary Clinton will not be going to prison any time soon, but it is fairly evident that if she were still Secretary of State, and this investigation released the details as they were, she would have to resign or be fired by the President of the United States. She is out of government at the present though, so she cannot be fired, and ironically on the very same day, Barack Obama campaigned alongside her for the first time in this campaign, asking Americans to entrust her with the Presidency.

Ultimately, the verdict on Hillary Clinton will be up to the American people. In a normal political universe, she would take a great hit for both having done what she did in the high office she held, and by the overt ways she lied about it as a Presidential candidate. So many potential Republican nominees would likely have a solid lead over her at this point of the campaign, but instead, the Republican Party had enough primary voters who are politically suicidal and others who have shown no courage in trying to remedy a crisis situation that had produced Donald Trump as her opposition, meaning that this campaign will ultimately not really be about her at all.


Post a Comment

<< Home