An airport encounter this week between Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and former President Bill Clinton has welled into a political storm, with Republicans asserting that it compromised the Justice Department’s politically sensitive investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices while she was secretary of state....If you're right-wing, this is either Clinton intimidation of law enforcement or a corrupt attorney general who regards herself as on the same team with the Clintons making clear that she'll do their bidding. But the reality is that only a clumsy intimidator (or a clumsy set of colluders) would telegraph matters in such a public way. If the public finds out, doesn't the whole scheme collapse?
Ms. Lynch said the meeting with Mr. Clinton was unplanned, largely social and did not touch on the email investigation. She suggested that he walked uninvited from his plane to her government plane, which were both parked on a tarmac at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
“He did come over and say hello, and speak to my husband and myself, and talk about his grandchildren and his travels and things like that,” Ms. Lynch said at a news conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where she was promoting community policing. “That was the extent of that. And no discussions were held into any cases or things like that.”
This is a scandal now, and it will be recounted as a scandal by the right for the rest of Bill and Hillary's lives. If it was meant to help Hillary, it's obviously backfiring:
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch will support the recommendations from prosecutors and others leading probes into the use of a private email server by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, a Justice Department official said....And this announcement won't stop the calls for a special prosecutor. If Hillary Clinton is elected, this will haunt her first term.
Such a review process by Lynch would remove chances that a political appointee could ultimately decide the fate of the case and potentially overrule the investigators....
The issue of potential political intervention in the email case has sharpened in recent days after a private -- and apparently chance -- meeting between Lynch and former president Bill Clinton earlier this week at an airport in Arizona.
So why did Bill do this?
The right gins up a lot of phony Clinton scandals, but both Bill and Hillary Clinton do commit a lot of unforced errors. Bill's affairs. Hillary's private email server. And on and on. At times it seems as if they want to get themselves in trouble.
I know this armchair psychoanalysis, but I think that's precisely the problem: Both of them have a certain compulsion to attract public criticism. I think it's because of how they both grew up.
We know that Bill's stepfather "drank too much and tormented the family with verbal and physical abuse." But Hillary's father was also an unpleasant character:
As a little girl, if Hillary Rodham forgot to screw the cap back on the toothpaste, her father would toss the tube out the bathroom window. She’d scurry around in the snow-covered evergreen bushes outside their suburban Chicago home to find it and return inside to brush her teeth, reminded, once again, of one of Hugh E. Rodham’s many rules.You grow up like this and you spend your life in two states: being abused and suffering anxiety while waiting for the next wave of abuse. Eventually you develop coping strategies for dealing with the abuse -- when it comes, it's bad, but at least the shoe has finally dropped. The moment you've been dreading is actually here, so you can see its parameters instead of just imagining them. Also, you're a kid, so you're craving your parents' love, or at least their attention, and abuse seems to be how Dad shows his love for you.
When she lagged behind in Miss Metzger’s fourth-grade math class, Mr. Rodham would wake his daughter at dawn to grill her on multiplication tables. When she brought home an A, he would sneer: “You must go to a pretty easy school.”
... The brusque son of an English immigrant and a coal miner’s daughter in Scranton, Pa., Mr. Rodham, for most of his life, harbored prejudices against blacks, Catholics and anyone else not like him. He hurled biting sarcasm at his wife and his only daughter and spanked, at times excessively, his three children to keep them in line, according to interviews with friends and a review of documents, Mrs. Clinton’s writings and former President Bill Clinton’s memoir.
For years I've been thinking that the Clintons both grew up living that script and went on to spend their adult lives compelled to replicate it. That's why many of the scandals turn out to be big nothings: We Americans are Dad and they're trying to incur our wrath, so even when they cut corners or slip around moral bounds, they're less adept at that than at enraging us.
There are also pathetic efforts to avoid parental wrath: Hillary's use of a private email server seems like compulsive secret-keeping much more than an attempt to hide any particular secrets. And it was futile in any case -- getting caught and being chastised is part of the familiar childhood pattern.
This, paradoxically, is why I don't think the Clintons are as evil and dishonest as a lot of people think they are. They make a lot of what they do look worse than it is, because they have this need to anger us. Truly skilled crooks are much better at concealing their theivery. Thy get away with a lot more thievery as a result. For them, thievery is the point. For the Clintons, I don't think it is.
I'll still take their neuroses over Trump's sociopathy -- without reservation. Trump gets away with thievery. He has the opposite problem: He never thinks he's guilty. That's much more frightening.