Streetwise Professor

September 9, 2016

Wasn’t it the WaPo Who Once Instructed Us That It’s Not the Crime, But the Coverup?

Filed under: Politics — The Professor @ 6:36 pm

The Washington Post has had just quite enough of this Hillary email stuff, thank you, and has sent out the Official Narrative, in the form of an editorial:

JUDGING BY the amount of time NBC’s Matt Lauer spent pressing Hillary Clinton on her emails during Wednesday’s national security presidential forum, one would think that her homebrew server was one of the most important issues facing the country this election. It is not. There are a thousand other substantive issues — from China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea to National Security Agency intelligence-gathering to military spending — that would have revealed more about what the candidates know and how they would govern. Instead, these did not even get mentioned in the first of 5½ precious prime-time hours the two candidates will share before Election Day, while emails took up a third of Ms. Clinton’s time.

. . . .

Ms. Clinton is hardly blameless. She treated the public’s interest in sound record-keeping cavalierly. A small amount of classified material also moved across her private server. [Not so much rat in it!] But it was not obviously marked as such [er, so?, and is she so stupid that she needs a BIG BOLD LETTERS TO TELL HER WHAT IS CLASSIFIED?], and there is still no evidence that national security was harmed. Ms. Clinton has also admitted that using the personal server was a mistake. The story has vastly exceeded the boundaries of the facts.

It is beyond ironic that the Washington Post, of Watergate fame, has forgotten the main lesson of that scandal–a lesson it first drew and has pushed repeatedly over the years: it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup. Watergate was a “two bit burglary” that blew up into a presidency-ending national crisis because of Nixon’s efforts to conceal. That Nixon was capable of such conduct was widely believed even before it was proved precisely because of his longstanding reputation for dishonesty and trickery.

What makes the email controversy so damaging to Hillary is not so much the emails themselves (though I take issue with the WaPo’s attempt to sanitize and minimize their import), but the barrage of lies that she has unleashed in an attempt to explain her conduct. The lies are transparently such to those who have an even passing familiarity with the facts. Further, Hillary is such a bad liar that her deceit is likely obvious to many who don’t.  Adding to this is the fact that Hillary’s shiftiness on the email issue reinforces her longstanding Nixonesque reputation as a power-hungry liar. Hence, the longer the email controversy drags on, the lower Hillary’s trustworthiness ratings (never high to begin with) plunge.

Furthermore, that Hillary feels compelled to lie indicates to many that there must be something to hide. Meaning that the lies give the lie to the WaPo’s claim that there is nothing to see here, and we should all move on.

This is why the WaPo and the NYT and a phalanx of establishment journalists savage Matt Lauer and anyone else who asks her about the emails, and why they are so frantic to rule the issue over, done, irrelevant, and out-of-bounds. Every question about the subject obligates her to tell another lie–or lies, plural–further cementing her pantsuit-on-fire image. So the questions must stop! Now!

This may succeed in getting Matt Lauer’s mind right, and the minds of others who want to remain accepted members of the tribe. But this reveals yet another problem with the WaPo’s editorial: it reads like yet another diktat from the Better Thans to the Lesser Thans, instructing them on what to think. Once upon a time that might have worked. But truth be told (though not by Hillary!) these days the Lesser Thans have a very low opinion of the Better Thans, and are more likely to bridle at such attempted instruction, rather than knuckle under. The Brit Better Thans tried to do the same thing, and were rewarded with a stinging Brexit rebuke.

In other words, in the face of populist unrest, presumptuous patrician instruction is likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.

But what else have they got? They go with what they know. And the pronouncements to “pay no attention to the server behind the curtain” betray more than a little establishment panic. The media and political elites are clearly more than a little unnerved by the fact that Hillary has had no more success shaking off Trump than she has had shaking off that racking cough.

In addition to playing defense (“no more email questions!”) the media and the Democratic establishment are playing offense against Trump. Bizarrely, their main weapon in this attack is Putin. I see no evidence that these increasingly frenzied assaults are having the slightest effect. Part of the reason for that is post-Cold War, the vast majority of Americans don’t give a damn about Russia, and couldn’t care less what Putin does to his own country, or even to countries on his borders. But there is another reason as well: the sudden emergence of Putin as a Democratic bogeyman seems more than a little insincere.

Well, it seems outrageously insincere, actually, to anyone with a memory that stretches back four years, or seven. Go back seven years, and you come across the image of  a buffoonishly grinning Hillary pressing the reset button with Lavrov, and announcing a new age of Russia-US relations. Go back a mere four years, and you see the same people screeching about Putin now ridiculing Romney for suggesting that Russia and Putin are a threat. Go back four years, and you see these people seeing nothing amiss in Obama whispering a Message to Vladimir to Dmitri Medvedev:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him [Putin!] to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

So, in 2012 the people now claiming Putin is the evil puppet master who will jerk Trump’s strings were totally fine with Obama canoodling with selfsame Putin, and snarked at Romney “the 80s called and want their [Cold War] foreign policy back” when he claimed that Putin was a threat.

So were they clueless in 2012? If so, will they man up and admit it? Or are they opportunistic now? (Personally, I’m going with “both.”)

Hillary is still the likely winner, but it is far too close for comfort for the elite media and the political establishment (primarily on the Dem side, but not exclusively so). So the drones are swarming to defend the queen. But I seriously doubt that their Putin sting is all that venomous, and if I am right Hillary may well be frustrated in her ambition. If that happens, no head in throwing distance of a lamp will be safe.


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  1. I think your comparison with Nixon is unfair, Professor.
    Nixon was good at foreign policy. HC got her head in the sand of Benghazi and couldn’t find a bullet to dodge in Bosnia.

    Comment by bloke in france — September 9, 2016 @ 7:23 pm

  2. @Bloke-Generous guy that I am, I bend over backwards to give Hillary every benefit of the doubt! Let’s just say that Hillary has all of Nixon’s flaws, and none of his strengths.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 9, 2016 @ 7:37 pm

  3. Yet Trump’s “not knowing” he just gave an interview to RussiaToday looks not that dissimilar to Clinton’s “not knowing” what was classified. What’s to say Dmitry Peskov won’t be the next White House press secretary if an “old friend” recommends him?

    Comment by Ivan — September 10, 2016 @ 2:44 am

  4. It’s a wonderful choice: the monstrous mountebank versus the evil invalid. Me, I’d vote against the gangster.

    Comment by dearieme — September 10, 2016 @ 4:58 am

  5. People still read the Washington Post?

    Next you’ll be telling me people also still read The New York Times! LOL.

    “So, in 2012 the people now claiming Putin is the evil puppet master who will jerk Trump’s strings were totally fine with Obama canoodling with selfsame Putin, and snarked at Romney “the 80s called and want their [Cold War] foreign policy back” when he claimed that Putin was a threat.

    “So were they clueless in 2012? If so, will they man up and admit it? Or are they opportunistic now? (Personally, I’m going with “both.”)”

    Yes, I remember all that. Clueless and opportunistic.

    Comment by Ex-Regulator on Lunch Break — September 10, 2016 @ 6:05 am

  6. @Ex-Reg. Well, normal people don’t, which is related to a couple of points in the piece. The role of the WaPo (and NYT!) is to tell people who want to be part of the smart set what to think. They serve the same function for the bi-coastal elite as Pravda did for the Party. A corollary of this is that the people who the smart set scorns (people who Hillary just lumped into the “basket of deplorables”) at best pay no attention, and at worst (for the smart set, anyways) get even at the ballot box. I think the Brexit phenomenon is very instructive here. The great unwashed look at the complete hash the Better Thans have made of the world, and say they want nothing to do with it.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 10, 2016 @ 11:04 am

  7. Prof
    Yes if she was declared nor guilty by a jury I too would say she was as pure as driven snow.
    The hard bit is getting a fair jury.

    Comment by bloke in france — September 11, 2016 @ 1:44 pm

  8. The point in all the above is that the arguments that are chosen by any side at any given time are chosen because they fit the current narrative, not that they are consistent, or even make sense when put in any phenomenological context covering more than one election cycle.

    Comment by Sotos — September 12, 2016 @ 1:00 pm

  9. To get an idea of where all this can go, here’s a great quote from : “We’re so used to thinking of the country in terms of rough-halves we find it hard to conceive of the new reality: the conflict today isn’t against half the country, it’s against a tiny parasitic elite that’s entirely isolated, reviled by virtually everyone, living on borrowed time and banking on inertia.”

    There’s more than a few parallels between HC and Dilma as well, especially in regards to crony capitalism. I’m a little surprised you (Dear Professor) haven’t expanded more on that.

    Comment by dh — September 12, 2016 @ 5:48 pm

  10. @dh-I wrote a long post about Hillary’s corruption a few weeks ago. I definitely agree that she is unbelievably corrupt.

    Ironically, a story came out today detailing the close connection between Vekselberg and the Clinton Foundation. There are more documented Hillary-Russia connections than Trump-Russia ones.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 12, 2016 @ 7:50 pm

  11. @dh-Here’s the post.

    I am not predicting a revolution, but there is a pre-revolutionary feel to the current times. The most notable aspect of that is the disconnect of the elite, which has more than a little similarity with the pre-revolutionary elites in France and Russia. Totally enclosed in their bubble, not realizing that the ground is shifting beneath their feet.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 12, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

  12. The other day, Killery Rotten Klinton of the Klinton Krime Family, the Hildebeast, claimed that she was not involved in reviewing emails and deciding which ones to delete. It was “the lawyers.”

    That means that David Kendall, Cheryl Mills and “other lawyers” were involved in obstructing justice.

    Right now, the IT people are refusing to testify before Congress, despite the fact that they have immunity, except for Mr. Cooper. One of the IT guys simply decided not to show up for the hearing.

    The long, long pattern has been, with Comey, with Loretta Lynch, with a host of others, that people are willing to simply roll over for the Kllinton Krime Family – even go to jail for them.

    Here’s my question – what does the Klinton Krime Family hold over all these people? Why would Comey and Lynch simply bend over for Billary? Why would IT people with immunity not testify before Congress?

    What hold does the Klinton Mafia have over all these people?

    Comment by elmer — September 13, 2016 @ 10:15 am

  13. @elmer. Ever heard of Arkanicide? The threat of that, and the fact that the Clinton Foundation is just one big slush fund that can be used to make people very comfortable and very quiet.

    In other word, the stick and the carrot. The gun and the gold.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 13, 2016 @ 11:14 am

  14. so how did they get to Comey?

    I can’t imagine the FBI allowing himself or herself to succumb to death threats and/or bribery.

    Comment by elmer — September 13, 2016 @ 7:17 pm

  15. @elmer. Careerism. He also saw what the Clintons did to Louis Freeh. And James Woolsey. A betting man would figure that Hillary is going to win. Comey has years left as FBI director, and may have further ambitions. They owe him now, and have no reason to attack him. He’s inside the magic circle. If he had done differently, he would have been attacked by them; the media; the DOJ; the rest of the administration. He would have been a pariah in DC.

    He’s easy to explain. And remember: honor is dead.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — September 13, 2016 @ 7:24 pm

  16. well, Freeh had a “curious” car accident.

    And guess who is now on Trump’s side – you guessed it, Woolsey.

    But I find it difficult to believe that Comey would not have been able to latch on to a law firm somewhere and make far more money than as FBI Director, no matter how much the Klinton Krime Family tried to demonize him.

    If the guy had a spine and some guts, he would say he was doing his job – properly – and people would believe him and understand it.

    As it is now, he is viewed pretty much as a turd, and people are boiling mad that a bitch in a pantsuit is above the law and gets away with crime, including endangering national security and many, many lives.

    Carly Fiorina was absolutely right – traveling is not an accomplishment.

    Comment by elmer — September 13, 2016 @ 8:25 pm

  17. I’m still trying to figure out how the Klinton Krime Family got to Comey. We have not DOJ, and we have no FBI.

    In the meantime, here is the furious reaction of the lardbutt Hildebeast pantsuit in 2010 against Wikileaks – not the “concern” about national security, but when it comes to the icy death herself – well, “nothing to see here folks” – oh, and look at the comment by Hildebeast about PUBLIC RECORD:

    The US Secretary of State said she “deeply regrets” the release and attempted to reassure US allies around the world.

    “I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen State Department cables,” Mrs Clinton said.

    “But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations.

    “I want to make clear that our official foreign policy is not set through these messages, but here in Washington,” Mrs Clinton added. “Our policy is a matter of public record as reflected in our statements and our actions around the world.

    “I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information,” she said.\

    American politicians have reacted with fury at WikiLeaks, calling on the group to be designated a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation” and calling on President Barack Obama to pursue a prosecution.

    Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and also a Democrat, branded the leaks a “reckless action which jeopardises lives by exposing raw, contemporaneous intelligence”.

    Comment by elmer — September 16, 2016 @ 9:27 am

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