Friday, July 01, 2016


I was hoping this story might just go away, but that was naive of me:
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....

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.”
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?

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....

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.
And this announcement won't stop the calls for a special prosecutor. If Hillary Clinton is elected, this will haunt her first term.

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.

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.
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.

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.


Victor said...

Your analysis seems quite plausible.

They do seem to crave attention. And, BOY, do they get it! Bill, imo, more so than Hillary.

Of course, in the world of attention, they are mere pikers compared to Duh Dohnuld! He's a crook and a grifter - and a shameless one at that!

Tom said...

Nah. I think they are just defiant. Everybody already knew that the Clintons and Lynch have a history. Bill appointed her and they knew her socially in New York. Whether or not he said hello to her at the airport the GOP story after Clinton is exonerated would be "Fixed, fixed!" because of that history anyway.

Nobody really believes it was anything but a social call do they? A conspiracy concocted in the public view?

mlbxxxxxx said...

I want to wake up tomorrow and it's Nov. 9th. This is going to be agonizing watching Bill try to sabotage a truly historic election -- not saying he's doing it on purpose but the final result is the same. This is shaping up to be a fucking wave in our favor -- or at least a big ripple. We can't have it ruined by Bill's ham-handedness. They need to put a minder on him who can sit on him when shit like this starts to happen. He is incorrigible.

That being said, I think Bill is largely responsible for Trump actually being in the race -- so I gotta love him for that.

flipyrwhig said...

BILL CLINTON TALKED TO A PERSON-GATE is sure to be the beginning of the end.

Molly Layton said...

First off, I can see how growing up with such a persecutory father would make HRC watch her words. But you have to be careful with "repetition compulsion" as an explanation for anything. I mean, it was not HRC who spoke to Lynch, so otherwise you are confounding Bill's choices with hers. Bill Clinton is a known schmoozer, a talker, a chatter, and I can see him walking over to the next plane -- and you'd have to be steeped in conspiratorial fantasies, plus faux outrage, to see that event as anything but circumstance. But then that's the Repub playbook. For me, there's no there there.

Sweet Sue said...

Wasn't Lynch's husband there and wasn't it in plain sight?
Do not do the GOP's work for them.
This is fast becoming a nothingburger; let it die a natural death.

KenRight said...

Clinton's worst crimes were embargoing a million Iraqi children and others,
with Korben's approval and criminally bombing Serbs, (see Chomsky) again with the ungrateful Korben-Albright's approval.

Bankster liberation follows closely behind to Robert Rubin's delight.

Clinton's orgiastic destruction of Libya and attempts to do so re Syria
fill the "Bill."

But fitting this in with "childhood abuse" is part of the problem. So please not to bother.

Jeff Ryan said...

@Ken Right: Wow. "Bankster" and "Chomsky" in the same post.

Power to the people, man.

Jeff Ryan said...

This is really silly. The "optics" are bad, for sure. But I can also see both Lynch and Clinton not realizing it at the time. Dumb, but no more than that.

Shit, if you're going to collude, you aren't going to do it in broad daylight on a publicly viewable tarmac.

Ten Bears said...

Uhm, Ken, you're helping. Please stop.

Feud Turgidson said...

I feel I must be in some rut, what with always agreeing with Victor, siding with Victor, standing with Victor. So, this ONE TIME at least -- JUST TO BE A BIT NAUGHTY -- I will ... DISCIPLINE myself (... oh yeah ... ) to just observing that Hillary's telling in some interview or another than she urged that she and Bill actually go ahead and accept an invite to one of the Donald's knock-on wedding parties because "Come on, Bill: it could be FUN!" - is rather akin to the abiding affection that English middle class-jumpers' and strivers' for Vicars & Tarts themed parties.

IAE, I'm also standing at least one foot in Jeff Ryan's line, due to his spot-on mortar hits at the invitingly repressible KenRight. I now to proceed to Show Solidarity wtih JR in adding that KenRight's not even all that able a troll, given his inexplicable omission of Saul Alinsky.

Incidentally, HRC and I share something that Bill and Obama share not: a letter-writing relationship with Saul Alinsky. But mine was only 3: first I wrote, then his response, then me back, which I don't know if he missed or ignored given in it I informed him I'd chosen a different post-grad, quite possibly one of which he was not approving (or else he was just busy or sick, I really don't know.). This is actually something a lot of Berners and Obamaites don't get about Hillary: she wrote a degree thesis on Saul's work (not real long or especially deep, but better than either of them did ...), and they kept up a running correspondence thereafter until he died. I don't think she was 'being naughty in this; I think she found a different model and set of values than those she'd grown up at home with.

Finally, I applaud the question and observation of Sue Smart. Indeed, I were some moderate con like Norm Onstein, I might even go around warning my fellow cons "It's a trap!"

Robert said...

@Ken Right,
Please. You're selling the boy short, if his atrocious Welfare Reform Bill isn't at the top of the list.

But that's Bill, not Hillary. She's a liberal, and will get the liberal vote when she denounces Bill's nonsense.

And Jeff Ryan's right. You don't need to cite "bankster" or "Chomsky" when pointing out how right-wing Bill Clinton was as President. Any sentient being with two brain cells to rub together can figure it out without the prodding.

Ken_L said...

If we're floating psychoanalytical explanations, I'd say it's more plausible that Bill is totally pissed off that the media treats him more like a shady ex-con than the popular, widely respected ex-president that he actually is. So he declines to act as if he has anything to be either ashamed of or to hide. If he hears an old acquaintance is flying in, then damned if he's not going to do the natural thing and say hello, and the media jackals and the right-wing hyenas can all go to Hell.

Some things are more important than winning an election, and retaining your self-respect and sense of identity may well be one of them for Bill and Hillary. It's not like they've never been in the White House before. If they're going to win again, it's going to be on their terms.

See also: the disdainful way Hillary ignores the media's tantrums over her refusal to hold press conferences or take questions at campaign events.

Ernest Lamonica said...

Steve you do know there is difference between "The Clintons" and Bill Clinton? Right? Some women dont like Hillary because they cant slap Bill "so lets slap Hillary?" You know, I hope you do, that Bill gave us George Bush NOT Ralph Nader. You do, right?

Ten Bears said...

First Hillary, now Bill, I'm gonna' have to stop defending these people before folks get the wrong idea about me. Just exactly how Ernest, did Bill Clinton give us George aWol Bush? I could be wrong, it's happened a time or two, but it has long been my conclusion our frat-boy scion of a Hitler financing convicted of the Trading With the Enemies Act Robber Baron familyw was appointed to the highest office in the land by the unelected judges of an ideologically stacked court, a voting population too willingly (or too stupid) to let them get away with it, and a fraternity brother opponent lacking the courage to stand up say "hey, wait just a minute!"

Still not gonna' vote for her.

Fiddlin Bill said...

Isn't it kind of silly at this point to say things like "but that's Bill, not Hillary." She's had decades to jump off the bus, she is fine with Bill campaigning for her, etc. She owns it, and a vote for Hillary is a vote for First Husband too. Bill will be sitting in the White House schmoozing, making deals, explaining stuff in his folksy way, etc. I'm not saying this is an argument for voting for a dangerous, ignorant fascist, but we do need to see things for what they are. I don't see how Hillary's childhood has much to do with any of it.

Sweet Sue said...

Fiddlin, were you an adult in the nineties?
I ask because the first President Clinton was really good.
HRC will be stellar, God willing.