One of the benefits of writing about the world, versus being a pen for hire, is you get to speculate about things in public. The check writers in the publishing world are deathly afraid of their benefactors so they turtle up at the first site of trouble. Even lefty rags tip-toe around in fear of pissing off the wrong rich guy. If you want to make a living as a writer, you better keep your head down and show proper deference.
Hobbyists like me have no such restrictions. What bloggers lack in audience share, we make up for in wild-ass speculation, some of which turns out to be right. I was reminded of that by this I saw come over the twitter machine last night. The latest batch of Hillary Clinton e-mails suggest she was up to something other than hiding from Congressional subpoenas.
Back in the summer I wrote this about the scandal and it was picked up by a bunch of sites, including Red State. If you think through the mechanics of building a private e-mail server and then working to keep it private, the set of motivations behind such an effort are small and they range from the mildly devious to the flamboyantly criminal. There’s simply no good reason to have gone off the books in this fashion.
What has made the Clintons so successful at the grift is they never let anyone see inside the box. If three people are in on their caper, those three people have four versions of the “truth” and none of them quite fit with the facts. The reason for that is the Clintons use selective honesty to blind their subordinates to the contradictions. Each member of the caper is sure he is the only one trusted enough to know the whole story.
That’s most likely what’s happening with this scandal. The FBI interviewed the technical people who handled the servers. They have interviewed Clinton staff and have, reportedly, been talking to Hillary through her attorneys. By now the FBI has 85 versions of the truth, all of which sort of fit the facts. Of course, many of these people, believing they are the most trusted aide to the Clintons, are stonewalling out of loyalty.
The other thing the Clintons are good at doing is offering up multiple motivations for their capers. In this case, Hillary has said she wanted to guard her private correspondence. She’s also hinted that she was trying to keep the vast right-wing conspiracy from prying into her affairs via Congressional oversight. These are all relatively innocent explanations. She was justified in breaking the law because her tormentors are big meanies!
It’s this artful use of distraction that causes me to wonder if her campaign is not just another smokescreen. The FBI would be hard pressed to get the green light to indict her even if she was not running for president. Getting the political class to OK it when she is the front runner for the nomination is highly unlikely. That makes her campaign a force-field to repel a full blown investigation. At least that’s what they are thinking.
Put another way, Hillary’s campaign is like a staged terror attack to distract from the bank heist going on across town. As long as she is running for office, the Feds are limited in what they can do to her. The bet is the clock runs out on this by the summer as it will be viewed as too politically dangerous. Win or lose, Team Clinton gets away with what amounts to a bank heist.
Ultimately, that’s what has always worked for the Clintons. The assumption by friends and foes is that they are motivated by power, ideology and politics. Their actions are all in pursuit of office or scoring points against political enemies. Working from that assumption, their enemies always swing and miss because they are aiming at something that is not there.
The real soul of the Clintons, if you will, is good old fashioned greed. It is a love of money and what money brings that drives them. Politics has always been a means, not an end. In this regard they are not much different from most gangsters. Al Capone enjoyed crime, but crime was not his motivation. He liked living large and crime was the means to that end. if Capone happened to be good at making widgets, he would have done that.
If the news reports are accurate, it appears the FBI is figuring out that they have an old fashioned heist on their hands. The smart money says they run into a stone wall, but even Al Capone was eventually brought low on the sort of technical violations of the law we are seeing here. This is not the 1920’s where you can hide the books from the Feds. Every cent that flows in and out of that operation can be traced now.
Still, the Clinton gang is not without its resources. The longer this takes, the less likely it is for the political class to permit a criminal case being brought against her. Imagine Clinton being indicted in June after clinching the nomination. But events have a way of getting away from even the craftiest people so there’s always hope. The image that brings me joy when thinking of the Clintons is of Bill standing on the porch, a bimbo on his arm, waving to Hillary as she is carted away to the penitentiary.