Politics Is Applesauce

March 18th, 2015 15 Comments

Hillary Clinton

 

“It’s a good thing we don’t get all the government we pay for.”

Will Rogers (1879-1935)

 

Have you been following the Hillary Clinton email (pick one) debacle, scandal, disgrace, tempest-in-a-tea-pot, much-ado-about-nothing?

How you choose to describe it has much to do with your political leanings and how you feel about the Clintons personally, but there is another aspect to the whole affair that makes it a paradigm of government in general, or perhaps makes the Clintons a sort of synecdoche for all elected officials.

In case you’ve been watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island, or just not following the news at all in any form, the issue has to do with the legality of conducting government business on personal electronic devices (that phrase is intended to include cell phones, smart phones, any and all kinds of computers, servers, anything and everything that might be used to convey information from—in this case—the Secretary of State and her office to any other entity, public or private, domestic or foreign) and also with the legality of turning over—or not turning over—all such communications to the federal government as required by law.

The story was originally broken by the New York Times, and since then far better and better trained minds than mine have debated this daily. Was it legal or illegal? Did she or did she not turn over the emails? Did she or did she not sign the document she was required to sign that certifies under penalty of perjury that she had turned over the documents? Is it more illegal if she did turn over the emails but did not sign the document, or is it worse not to have turned the emails over and to have signed the document? Is it more illegal to have conducted the people’s business on a private computer than to have conducted personal business on the people’s server (well, it may have been her server, but who paid for it)? What if she did neither? Or both? Or something else entirely? Knit one, purl two. The permutations are endless and—knowing the Clintons’ history—will probably never be fully disclosed.

It is distressing to think we will never learn the full truth about the Benghazi debacle and various other issues that occurred under Hillary Clinton’s watch at the Department of State (notably, as reported by Sharyl Attkisson, the six billion dollars that were unaccountably “lost” at the Department of State during her tenure, a loss that begs the question of how well we might expect a President Clinton to take care of the American people’s money), but none of it is as distressing as Hillary Clinton’s attitude about all this.

Let’s be very clear: in this case I am indeed using Hillary Clinton as a sort of synecdoche to represent every single one of our elected officials, so when I say her name, think of any congressman or senator you wish. Or all of them.

I watched the news conference where Mrs. Clinton answered questions about the missing emails, the private server, the documents signed or unsigned, as the case may be, and what struck me most—as a former actor used to picking up on the unspoken message behind the words, the facial expressions, the body language, the tone of voice, the whole package by which the body conveys what the mind is really thinking, regardless of what the mouth is saying—was her clear annoyance at being questioned.

Let’s make sure we understand this: here is a lady who is running (yes, she is running) for the highest office in the land, for the most powerful position in the world, for the responsibility of guiding America and the rest of the world through a period of unprecedented dangers, and she’s annoyed because the press sees fit to question her actions?

The truth is that all elected officials, by definition, have enormous egos: you don’t run for public office unless you are convinced your ideas and opinions are better than anyone else’s, that you can do a better job than anyone else, that you are better suited for the task at hand, more intelligent, more competent, than anyone else. And if you get elected (or appointed, as in the case of Secretary of State) that success confirms you in your own high opinion of yourself.

Once you are elected you are surrounded either by people who also believe in you and hence reinforce your positions and actions at every turn, or by people who are simply unscrupulously venal and will turn themselves into yes-men for their own enrichment, but in either case, you are not likely to encounter a lot of people who disagree with you or even question you. Except (when it suits their own purposes and political leanings) the fourth estate, the press, the putative conscience of our society. Some politicians are smart enough to be able to deal with uncomfortable questions without losing their temper or their cool, but Hillary does not appear to be one of those, and that is a direct result of her own sense of entitlement. She believes she deserves to be the leader of the free world, that she is better than, smarter than, more competent than, more—damn it all—deserving than you or I or any of the insignificant little people out there on whose lives she will have such an impact.

Do you doubt it? Here is a true story:

Back when my bride and I first moved up into the southern Sierras, I was filming a hunting show and had to travel constantly. Bad weather had delayed my various flights, and I made it back into Los Angeles airport for my final plane change at the last possible moment to catch the last flight of the night, a flight that would take me to Bakersfield, about an hour and a half drive from my home.

When I boarded the plane, I was the sole passenger, but instead of taking off, there was a delay, followed by the stewardess coming back and telling me they were holding the flight for The Honorable—————, then US Representative for California’s twenty-third district, the district that back in those days, before redistricting, encompassed a weird strip of this part of the state, but that included Bakersfield.

Okay. I sat and waited and in due course twelve men, clearly much stimulated by artificial means of the liquid variety, boarded the little plane with a lot of loud and boisterous jocundity.

That’s fine; I’ve been known to over train for the main event myself. But what shocked me into full alertness was the nature of their comments. The mercy of oblivion has set in over the years, and I have deleted most of it from the memory bank, but the general tone was one of contempt and disdain for the constituents they were on their way to visit, for the stupidity and ignorance of the people who had elected this man to office. The one comment I have not been able to delete was spoken by the Great Man himself, and it brought howls of laughter from his staff. He said: “I had to spend three weeks in Bakersfield one night.”

Don’t ever forget, America, that’s a pretty accurate reflection of what your elected officials think of you.

 

“Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.”

Will Rogers (1879-1935)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Her majesty is not amused.

  2. Anonymous says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/us-sets-record-denying-censoring-government-files-071519617–politics.html

    The problem starts at the top and is in all of the government’s departments.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As someone who’s relatively new to following politics, I would hate to see Hillary take the election. I, too, find her deceitful and arrogant. But I remember reading something back in January that the Koch Bros’. donors are leaning toward Rubio. If that’s the case, she’ll have over $900 million dollars working to campaign against her. Will that be enough to buy the election? And how crazy is it to speak of buying elections in America in 2015? I wish the third party candidates had a snowball’s chance, and I wish that votes actually still counted. I haven’t followed Rubio’s campaign at all, but just knowing that he has that kind of money backing him scares me. Mostly I wish we had more options than a deceitful former first lady and a man who would allow himself to be bought and sold for $900 million dollars. Granted, it would be hard to turn down that sort of money, but the CEO of our country should be above that. Possibly I’m being too hard on Rubio — criticizing him without familiarizing myself with his ideals — but I think there are other candidates who have the cure. Sadly, they don’t have the money and so they don’t count. Sort of like my vote.

  4. Anonymous says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/transcript/2015/03/17/bill-oreilly-what-will-happen-to-hillary-clinton/

    The O’Reilly Factor “What will happen to Hillary Clinton?”

  5. Anonymous says:

    http://www.cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/curtis-kalin/obamacare-architect-americans-too-stupid-understand

    You might remember this. Jonathan Gruber calls the American people stupid.

  6. Anonymous says:

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/03/hillary-clinton-state-department-exit-form-116152.html

    According to the State Department Hillary Clinton did not sign the exit form. Did she or didn’t she only she knows for sure. There is no way we are going to find out the truth in this situation. We are suppose to trust the State Department that there is no form Nope, the form is not here it must have been feed to the document shredder.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hello JP,

    although I don’t know what exactly happened and German news didn’t report anything about this scandal this post was very eye-opening to me. You gave a very plausible psychological analysis for the incredible pomposity politicians of all nations evince.

    Best wishes

    NW

  8. Anonymous says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/19/us-usa-clinton-emails-idUSKBN0MF2LK20150319

    If they can’t get the emails from her then they are going to get them from the people who received the emails.

    • Anonymous says:

      Except for the fact that at least two of her staff also had private e-mail accounts on her private server AND the State Department only recently (January or February of this year) began archiving e-mails on THEIR server(s), two years after the Shady Lady left her post.

      As I understand it, the only way to get at those e-mails, is to have a forensic computer person sift through her private server, provided it hasn’t had a ‘hard scrub’ done to it. At least I think that is the term. Maybe one of the smart computer folks here can expand on that, or correct me if I am wrong.

      In any case, she will probably get away with it, just as most of the other politicians get away with the shenanigans, malarkey, & outright criminal behavior for which the rest of us would find ourselves incarcerated.

      Mr. Parker, you wrote awhile ago about the early Greeks’ method of dispatching politicians who proposed odious new laws, a sort of strangling them in the cradle, so to speak. While I find much to admire about our Founding Fathers, they were rather short-sighted in an important area of our Constitution: punishment for extra-Constitutional activities. All through that incredible document are phrases such as, ‘the rights of the people shall not be infringed’ and ‘Congress shall make no law’, etc. However, there is no punishment prescribed for those who fail to confine themselves to the boundaries set forth in the Constitution. Maybe they should have added a page from the Greeks, a short addendum or codicil, if you will, that stepping outside the confines of the Constitution would be met with swift justice. Maybe there would be some humility and honour in the halls of power. Or maybe not.

      On a lighter note, I wish you and yours a healthy and accident-free spring.

      KSP

      • Your comment about the Constitution is very interesting. I have an acquaintance who does some kind of top secret engineering work for one of the top secret companies that create new and previously unimagined weapons systems for the government. (If I sound a little vague about all this, it is for obvious reasons: he can’t tell me much about what he does, and even if he did, I wouldn’t be smart enough to understand it.) But the two of us were taking a defensive shooting class recently, and during a break he made an intriguing comment. He had been telling me about the never-ending corruption and incompetence of the bureaucrats he and his company have to deal with at the federal level, when he said, (I’m paraphrasing, but not much) “The Constitution” (of the US) “has an intrinsic and irrevocable flaw: it was written by men who had faith in the good will of the average person. It was intended to prevent the great evil of despots; it doesn’t into account the little evil of little people–greed and laziness and selfishness.”
        Just a thought.
        JP

  9. Anonymous says:

    Working in corporate America and being so low on the ladder, and so far from National Government, I certainly forget that we have a government working for me. I see small government at the city level occasionally county and very rarely at state level and have come to the conclusion that they are also wrapped up in themselves and passing the next bill, fighting with each other that thy don’t care about the little people. A little de ja vu of the Roman Empire.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress. ~Mark Twain

  11. Anonymous says:

    Don’t EVEN git my uppity peasant-self going about human hierarchies and politics, American(North) and otherwise!….. Whenever considering my voting privileges, I don’t even bother trying to vote for whom I think might be BEST at the job, but more whom I think will do the least damage! I do usually consider how good or close their relationship with their dogs is(IF they have a dog–if not, I ain’t votin’ fer them!). That’s about as accurate a barometer as we peons are likely to have acces to…….L.B.

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