My guess is more than a few readers have nursed some rather detailed revenge fantasies about what they would like to see after the revolution. Given the current crisis, it is understandable. Revenge is a big part of every revolution. While bringing back the hangman has its attractions, that’s not the sort of revolution we are likely to see. Instead, ours will be a political revolution. If the forces of darkness prevail in November, we head into the post-national, post-democratic future our rulers promise. If the forces of light prevail, then we may head into a period of raucous reform.
Let’s assume the good guys win for a change and Trump wins the November election. One thing that will happen quickly is there will be calls for him to pardon Hillary Clinton. It is well known that there is an open investigation into the Clinton foundation. It is on the slow track due to the election. If it goes active after the election, it will mean the e-mail crimes will be reopened. Official Washington will want Trump to pardon her and/or quash the FBI investigation into Clinton. We’ll hear a lot of stuff about closing the books for the good of the country.
That was the argument behind pardoning Nixon. Gerald Ford was pressured into taking one for the team in order to preserve “the tranquility to which this nation has been restored by the events of recent weeks could be irreparably lost by the prospects of bringing to trial a former President of the United States.” Whether or not Ford truly believed this is hard to know, because there was never a full airing of what happened to bring down Nixon. It was a Silent Coup that has cast a shadow over our politics for forty years.
Trump should not pardon Clinton. Instead he should appoint a special prosecutor with the authority to go where the evidence takes him. The Clinton crime family did not operate in a vacuum. Lots of people have greased the wheels so that these two grifters from the Ozarks could hold official Washington captive for close to a quarter century. Getting all of it out into the open would do a lot of damage to the political class, but it would do a world of good for the nation’s politics. The corrupt bargain that has prevailed in DC needs to come to an end.
The point is not to put Hillary Clinton in prison, even though that would be a happy outcome. The Clintons have come to symbolize everything that has gone wrong in Washington over the last several decades. They are an extreme example of the ethos that has come to dominate American politics. It is a culture where everything is for sale, nothing is ever on the level and no scam is too small. Washington has become something like a rotten police precinct, where morality is inverted. Instead of the criminals fearing detection by the honest, it is the honest who fear the criminals.
Along the same lines, the IRS investigation has to be reopened so that the truth of that fiasco is laid bare. Nixon was run out of town, in part, because his people talked about using the IRS as a weapon. Whether or not the Obama people were involved in the IRS targeting scandal is unknown, but it needs to be known. There are certain things that must remain beyond the pale in order to maintain civilized government. It is why the West eventually got rid of blood feuds. Politicizing the IRS is one of those things that can never be permitted.
In all probability, the people in the IRS acted on their own initiative. Lois Lerner is a fanatic. That much is obvious. Putting her in a cage for a very long time sends the message to other fanatics that the IRS is no place for their kind. It also sends the message to the politicians who appoint these people. That was supposed to be the lesson of Watergate. It was not enough to obey the letter of the law. Politicians were supposed to obey the spirit of the law. Prosecuting the people responsible for the IRS scandal reestablishes that principle.
Whether any of this will happen is open to debate. The nation is at a crossroads, similar to where we were when Andrew Jackson came to Washington. There are also similarities between this period and the end of the Industrial Revolution a century ago. Then as now, new fortunes accelerated the corruption of the political class to the point where the public had lost confidence in their rulers. In order to avoid something much worse than a period of raucous reform, we need a period of raucous reform. If a Trump presidency merely clears the field for a new generation of reformers, that would be a pleasant result.
Cause otherwise what comes net will be much worse.