With the conventions of both political parties coming closer and closer, and with the infighting between Hillary Clinton and Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders growing more vituperous by the day, it can’t be a good sign for the former Secretary of State when the editorial page of the Washington Post rips into her, as does sympathetic Post columnist Dana Milbank, and even Democratic flack NBC’s Chuck Todd voices skepticism.
The firestorm of criticism was lit, of course, by the scathing report by the State Department’s inspector general this week about Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server when she served as President Obama’s Secretary of State.
Todd actually did a good job on Meet the Press Daily when he directly addressed a core problem for Clinton: the public, including many Democrats, has serious doubts about bedrock issues of personal integrity.
“Your lead in the polls arguably, might be a lot bigger if you didn’t have these honest and trustworthy issues with the voters.”
Well, yes, when only forty-some percent believe you are either and, by the way, when you have more negatives (41%) than positives (38%) among those Democratic voters supporting Sen. Sanders.
The email server issue is not our issue. What is relevant is the manner in which Clinton’s handling of it has diminished her prospects and soured reliably Democratic outlets (not, I hasten to add, that they would ever support a Republican for President).
For example, the Post editorial concludes (after listing a couple of weak Clinton rationalizations)
But there is no excuse for the way Ms. Clinton breezed through all the warnings and notifications. While not illegal behavior, it was disturbingly unmindful of the rules. In the middle of the presidential campaign, we urge the FBI to finish its own investigation soon, so all information about this troubling episode will be before the voters.
Even though he begins by trotting out Clinton’s excuses, Milbank goes much further than the editorial board. Here’s a summary of his argument.
(1) A knee-jerk resistance to transparency:
But what’s damning in the new report is her obsessive and counterproductive secrecy.
(2) A well-earned reputation for believing if she can avoid providing a complete answer, the furor will eventually die down:
The stonewalling creates a firm impression, well captured by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this week when he interviewed Clinton’s spokesman, Brian Fallon: “If she didn’t do anything wrong and she had nothing to hide, why didn’t she cooperate with the inspector general?”
(3) One step above being crooked:
But what Clinton has been is nearly as problematic as being crooked: Hunkered Hillary. At the first sign of conflict or accusation, Clinton circles the wagons, shuts her mouth and instructs those around her to do the same. This generates a whole lot of smoke, even if there’s no fire. Her secrecy elevates the accusations — whatever the accusations are.
(4) Finally, the reflex response that all criticism of Clinton emanates from the “vast right wing conspiracy”:
Fallon, a skilled flack, tried to argue that Clinton and her aides prioritized the similar Justice Department investigation and were cooperating with that one. Then he insinuated that “there were hints of an anti-Clinton bias” in the IG’s office.
The vast right-wing conspiracy had infiltrated the State Department! Asked Blitzer: “Are you accusing the inspector general of the State Department” — a Democratic appointee — “of having an anti-Clinton bias?”
The spokesman retreated, noting that the report documented “that the use of personal e-mail was widespread and done by her predecessors, including Secretary Powell.”
And that might have been the take-away — if Hunkered Hillary hadn’t let her instinctive caution again get the best of her.
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared in at National Right to Life News Today —- an online column on pro-life issues.