Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

13 November 2016

Hillary, Please Shut Up!

Today a front-page New York Times article features Hillary complaining that FBI Director Comey’s October Surprise cost her the election. It probably did.

But whose fault is that? Everyone who has e-mail and a job has two accounts: one for work and one for home. Both exist for many reasons. The employer owns the work account, and the worker won’t and can’t control it. After the job ends, she won’t even be able to sign on.

Some colleges offer alumni “lifetime” accounts, so they don’t have to change personal systems multiple times after retirement, as technology develops and start-up companies are born and die. Some of us, like me, just trust Google to keep up.

So Hillary’s combining her work and personal e-mails was a catastrophically stupid move. The reason why has nothing to do with the nuances of hacking, security or cyberwarfare, or with the law of classified material. Hillary wanted to bend the rules that everyone who has ever used e-mail obeys, and all for her personal convenience. And she wanted to do that on a “job” as Secretary of State that, as fourth in line for the presidency, is about as public and important a job as anyone ever holds.

She might have recovered if she had made a sincere and complete apology and fired the people responsible for giving her self-evidently stupid advice. But she didn’t. She made an insincere apology, made no changes in her staff, and treated the whole thing as a minor inconvenience on the way to her coronation. And then she began a minor career of litigating the consequences.

There was and is nothing minor about it, Hillary. This is what people hate about you. This is what even lifetime progressives like me can’t stand about you.

You think that because you are smart and have good intentions you can get away with doing stupid, careless and even self-centered things. You don’t take responsibility for your flaws or your failures. You think you can rely on and coddle utter mediocrities like Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Huma Abedin because they are ladies and your friends. And now you’re blaming your defeat on James Comey.

No, Hillary. If you want to know why you lost, look in the mirror. Think about supporting—for years—Dubya’s disastrous misadventure in Iraq, which is now going on for thirteen years and counting, and which has spread to and destroyed Syria and given rise to IS. Think about jumping on the bandwagon for war without even reading the National Intelligence Estimate.

Think about, in 2007-2008, bashing Obama’s proposed anti-Musharraf policy, which (had it somehow prevailed) might have saved the life of Benazir Bhutto, a female pol infinitely more clever and courageous than you. Think about how you and Bill, both lifetime fighters against racism, gave up your principles and played the race card, big time, against our President during the dirty 2008 campaign.

You are fine lawyer and excel at debating. I’ll give you that. And I would have preferred you, with all your warts, to the loose cannon and narcissist who now will inhabit the White House. But that’s all. Millions of us, like me, held our tongues and our noses and supported you wholeheartedly, after you beat Bernie, just because you carried our banner and supported our policies.

In a contest of character, you will never win any prizes. If you think that scandal is inevitable for pols who think and dream big, you are wrong.

Look at the President and Michelle. They are members of a twelve percent minority that has suffered prejudice and oppression for four centuries, of a kind and a virulence that no white woman, merely as such, ever sees. Yet despite a “loyal” opposition that turned disloyal and treasonous two microseconds after Barack’s inauguration, their eight years in office have been utterly without scandal or hint of corruption. They are, have been and remain squeaky clean.

Why is that? Because they have character. Because, when others go low, they go high. We see that even now, after your catastrophic loss, as the President tries humbly to befriend and advise a clueless reality star on how to run the world’s greatest nation.

Remember when the jackals tried to tar the Obamas by association with the controversial Reverend Wright? As it turned out, Wright was and is an educated, sensitive, and mostly admirable man. But Obama cast him loose, regretfully, for the greater good of the party and the commonwealth. You kept Debbie and Huma on the job.

No, Hillary. Scandals don’t arise inevitably out of big thoughts, big deeds, or striving for greatness. They arise out of hubris, negligence, self-regard, and inattention to detail.

So please don’t try to relitigate your loss. It hurt us, the people, far more than it hurts you, and our hurt may last for decades. Have the decency and grace to retire in silence, as Al Gore did after the Supreme Court stole his presidency, and as even Dubya did after starting two unnecessary wars and presiding over the worst economic debacle since the Depression.

Go enjoy your estimated $230 million net worth. Go build your Clinton Foundation and, like Bill Gates, put your money and influence into improving our whole species. Go enjoy your fine daughter and grandchildren. Quietly help historians understand how a nation on the verge of a progressive revival could have turned to an impulsive, profane, scatterbrained, right-wing narcissist like Donald Trump.

Once you have done so, you will come back to the only thing about policy and politics that every voter can understand: character. And you will find yours lacking and, in it, one cause of your defeat.

Until that time, please get out of the way, sit down, and shut up. We progressives need new ideas, new blood and new leaders. And no one likes a crybaby.



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