Enough about Hillary Clinton’s damn emails!

Jan 30, 2016 | Elections - Presidential (2016), Scandals

Published: The Good Men Project (January 30, 2016)

815 words into the Associated Press’s recent 949 word piece on Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, one will find a passage that should appear at the very beginning:

The FBI also is looking into Clinton’s email setup, but has said nothing about the nature of its probe. Independent experts says it’s unlikely Clinton will be charged with wrongdoing, based on details that have surfaced so far and the lack of indications that she intended to break laws.

Since the start of the 2016 election cycle, I have been highly conflicted about Clinton’s presidential campaign. Of the three candidates seeking the Democratic nomination, she is easily the most conservative, and there is plenty of evidence that she has used her establishment connections to rig the contest in her favor before a single ballot has been cast. Although her extensive experience makes her abundantly well-qualified for the presidency and I would support her over any of the Republican alternatives, she certainly isn’t my first choice.

At the same time, as Bernie Sanders once put it, I am sick and tired of hearing about her damn emails. The latest revelations change none of that.

Yes, it has been revealed that that 22 emails sent from Clinton’s private server contained highly classified information. Yes, this was a major faux pas on her part, and to paraphrase Washington lawyer Bradley Moss (who specializes in security clearance matters), she should feel humbled by her mistake.

At the same time, the headlines are plastered with declarations like those of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who insists that the FBI is ready to indict her (a rich claim coming from a man who was indicted in 2005 on criminal charges of conspiracy to violate election law). Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa made the same claim, despite his own role in hounding Clinton during the discredited Benghazi hearings. Left and right, pundits seem to agree that this news could be catastrophic for her presidential campaign, coming as it does a mere three days before the Iowa caucuses will take place. As CBS News aptly put it, “Hillary Clinton is in damage control over new information about the private email server she used as secretary of state.”

None of this is warranted.

For one thing, Clinton herself has consistently called for all of her emails to be released to the public. Even though the media has made it seem as if there is little dispute that these 22 emails would jeopardize American national security, there is plenty of reason to believe that the ongoing controversy is really one over bureaucratic labeling. Some government officials believe that the emails should have been highly classified and others don’t, but it is hardly definitive that Clinton did anything wrong. What IS certain, though, is that Clinton didn’t think she had done anything wrong. If that had been the case, she would have pushed for those emails to be suppressed even as the rest of her material was publicized. Similarly, it would not have taken the State Department almost a year to reach the conclusion that these were highly classified.

Beyond this, though, there is something downright unseemly about the media’s determination to have this issue become a major factor in the Democratic primary process. Sanders put it best in a statement released by his campaign on Friday:

“There is a legal process in place which should proceed and not be politicized. The voters of Iowa and this nation deserve a serious discussion of the issues facing them.”

That, really, is the bottom line. If Clinton is denied the Democratic nomination, it should be as a result of the voters carefully evaluating her views and finding them wanting. Her ability to perfectly navigate through the State Department bureaucracy without so much as cracking a single eggshell, on the other hand? Anyone who says that this should determine her fitness for the presidency is either (a) already biased against her or (b) not conducting nearly enough research on the subject.

Then again, who can really blame them? Even the AP doesn’t think the fact that this is a non-scandal matters enough to appear until the very end of their reporting.