Would you trust Hillary Clinton to be president if she could get away with anything?
In two editorials last week, The Washington Post inadvertently made the case for Donald Trump to be president. To be sure the Post still believes that Trump is a “unique” threat to our republic, but the two editorials highlighted the dangers of President Hillary Clinton.
On Tuesday, an editorial opposing the impeachment of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen asserted that the behavior at the center of the controversy, “was more about bureaucratic obliviousness than purposeful anti-conservative activity.” Later the editorial asserted that the whole incident was a “non-scandal,” which mostly took place under Koskinen’s predecessor Lois Lerner.
Absent from the editorial was any acknowledgement that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled last month that the targeting of conservative group is ongoing and that the IRS could not be trusted to stop the practice on its own.
Charting Their Missteps
The Post appears to have taken the word of the Department of Justice’s review of the scandal that “substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime.” But Mary Chastain blogged in July that Judicial Watch found that Lerner knew about the targeting, according to FBI documents, which undermines the DOJ’s conclusion.
As Aleister observed in July, what the IRS did under Obama could very well be repeated under a President Clinton.
Then on Friday, a Post (after just one week of silence since the release of the damning FBI notes from its investigation of Clinton) editorial asserted that the whole thing was “a minor email scandal.”
Mary Chastain highlighted various details of the FBI notes including that Clinton claimed that she received no instructions from the State Department on e-mail guidelines, permission to set up a private server, or procedures to classify anything. Taken together they confirm that Clinton was “disturbingly unmindful of the rules,” according to a May 2016, Washington Post editorial.
So how is the Post now calling this scandal “minor?”
WaPo Defends Hillary
The Post asserted that the criminal case against Clinton, “was so thin that charging her would have been to treat her very differently.” This is a dubious assertion.
And perhaps the Post gave its game away in the final sentence of Friday’s editorial, asserting that “there is no equivalence between Ms. Clinton’s wrongs and Mr. Trump’s manifest unfitness for office.”
This is a false choice. Someone who, in the Post‘s own words, showed a pattern of being “unmindful of the rules” is someone who views herself as above the law. To put Hillary Clinton, whether or not she committed prosecutable offenses, in control of an already (and still) compromised IRS is asking for even more abuses of power. This combination alone should disqualify her from holding higher office regardless of how fit or unfit Donald Trump is.
In both cases the Post has chosen to minimize two Democratic scandals against evidence that these are significant instances of misbehavior.
The Washington Post had a reputation, due to Watergate, of adhering to a principle that there is no one who is above the law. Last week’s two editorials add an important qualification to this principle, “no one is above the law unless he or she is a Democrat.”
How outrageous is the Post’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton? Let’s use the Post‘s standard in a different case.
It’s worth noting that the Post’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the conviction of former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia. The Post campaigned for his conviction. Now that it’s been overturned, the Post opined that McDonnell may have been spared prison but will still be subject to “abject disgrace.”
McDonnell, according to the Post, engaged in “what any layman would recognize as bribery.” Hillary Clinton engaged in what any layman would recognize as ignoring the rules governing her position of power and responsibility.
But the judgment laid in the final two sentences of the editorial could apply to Hillary Clinton and her e-mail scandal too:
Apologists for the former governor are already blaming prosecutors for ruining his life and are declaring him blameless. In fact, he brought his travails on himself, and, whether or not his conduct met the narrow legal definition of illegality, his atrocious judgment was inexcusable.
Apologists for Hillary Clinton are minimizing her culpability or dismissing it outright. Clinton too should be judged not by whether her actions “met the narrow legal definition of illegality,” but whether her judgment was sound. “Unmindful of the rules,” the Post’s own description, shows that it was not.
If the Post will not apply the same standards for Democrats and Republicans, it cannot be trusted to keep Democrats honest and expose their abuses of power. The thought of Hillary Clinton, who has a record of dishonesty and not playing by the rules others must play by, having executive power with no threat of exposure by the media or fear of consequences is enough to make voting for Donald Trump seem like a rational choice even to his biggest doubters.
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