Saturday, November 12, 2016


Not much original to say, but I like to step back and take the longer view of things.

Hillary is rather obviously a bad candidate.  She started with every advantage in 2008: a network of donors and people who owed favors; a front-row-seat knowledge of who actually pulls the strings in the Democratic Party; an actual occupant of the White House.  Yet she lost to a complete outsider with a thin resume, whose only talents seemed to be a blank-screen quality that allowed people to see what they wished in him (as BHO himself said), plus an ability to look dignified and thoughtful while saying mean things.  That he had some advantage in that the country was actively seeking for a black president was certainly offset by her similar advantage of a country that had been seeking a female president for even longer.

She lost to him, amazingly, and took a coupla top-level jobs in government to keep her hopes alive.  Senator, Secretary of State. Some say she was a disaster, some say she did very well in difficult circumstances, but no one claims she was brilliant at either. Good enough, unspectacular, Grrl Power competence seems to have been the highest claim.

She runs for president in 2016 against a person who is not even a member of the Democratic Party, yet if the party apparatus had not cheated in her favor - starting from the Superdelegate arrangement that favors all party-chosen delegates - she might well have lost the nomination.  She then runs against the anti-Obama, the candidate who made it easy for people to project whatever negative thoughts they had on him. (I said often enough he was plenty bad without anyone having to make stuff up or make it look worse.  It is telling that people needed to project worseness onto him anyway.) Trump may actually have been the easiest negative in the long lamentable catalog of bad American presidential candidates.

She does not have obvious virtues, beyond a remarkable ability to punish those who crossed her.  How, then, did she get so far?  She did not succeed, but she came very close.  It is easy to dismiss those who finished second in competitive endeavors, but none of us were ever remotely in a position to finish second, or twenty-second, or two hundred and twenty-second in presidential voting.  She must have some strengths that people don't give her credit for. Some give her credit for personal charm in small groups, though others deny it; she has some credentials for intelligence, but these never seemed to blossom into anything; her public speaking is very good, though a lot of people dislike her voice; she hitched her wagon to a star and would never have gotten near any elected office without him, yet in the end he was a liability.  All her strengths have an asterisk.

I suppose her weaknesses all have asterisks as well.  She is ambitious, determined, to a degree unusual even among politicians; she may appeal only to a minority, but she inspires an amazing loyalty in those.

It occurred to me on my walk today that if the heat gets turned up too high on her now that she cannot wield a scorpion sting, Trump may consider pardoning her in the interest of national unity.  It would be something one of the Bushes might do, for example.  One could see the point of that, if there were a realistic hope that such a generous gesture were perceived that way. I am cynical enough to think that it would be seen by her supporters as an admission that there isn't any real evidence against her, seen as a betrayal by Trump's supporters, and taken as evidence that it's all rigged and they're all corrupt by a good percentage of whoever's left.


Murph said...

Warren Meyer at CoyoteBlog had a post on pardoning Hillary. The comments go back and forth, with good arguments for each side.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thanks Murph - That is a good discussion.

I'm hoping it comes up as a topic over at Volokh sometime. But I'll have to have one of you guys point that out to me, because I'm only checking a limited amount of stuff at present.

Texan99 said...

When I was about 16 it struck me like a thunderclap that Ford pardoned Nixon. I had been amazed that the President could be involved in anything as grimy as Watergate, but somewhat heartened that he had been found out and that the system had corrected him. When Ford pardoned him, all I could see was that the system didn't even care if it looked corrupt. All these years later, I can see other motives, but it lost me to any notion of supporting the Republican Party for many, many years and left me with a lasting distrust of my government and dominant culture.

These days it strikes me as rather quaint and sweet that Nixon resigned in disgrace, implicitly acknowledging that he'd done something wrong and should not wait to be hounded out of office--as if his own party would enforce that discipline on him instead of rallying behind him, rioting to prevent prosecution, etc.