In 1778 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Laws will be wisely formed and honestly administered in proportion as those who form and administer them are wise and honest.” Does anyone believe that the Sage of Monticello, had he been unfortunate enough to know her, would have included Hillary Clinton among the ranks of such people? The voters certainly don’t. According to a McClatchy-Marist poll released Friday, a majority of the electorate believes Clinton has done “something illegal.” That should be reassuring as it relates to the wisdom of the voters. Sadly, it isn’t. The survey also shows Clinton leading Donald Trump 46-44.
And it gets worse. When asked if the various legal controversies that swirl around Clinton with ever-increasing velocity would make a difference in the way they vote tomorrow, fully 65 percent of Democrats answered “no difference at all.” Is this an artifact of the “Gruber Principle”? For those who may have forgotten, this is a reference to the incredibly disingenuous Democrat strategy that was used to pass Obamacare. It will forever be associated with MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, who injudiciously described it on video as follows: “[T]he stupidity of the American voter… was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”
This is precisely what Hillary Clinton is hoping to get away with tomorrow. She and her courtiers would claim, of course, that voter indifference to her well-documented penchant for corruption is actually a sign of perspicacity. In other words, they are smart to elect a candidate under investigation by the FBI — on Election Day — rather than put a man as “dangerous” as Donald Trump in the White House. Now, as readers of The American Spectator know, I am no great fan of “the Donald.” But it is absurd to suggest that he somehow presents a greater danger to the Republic than does a woman widely regarded as a career criminal.
And this is where voter ignorance really comes into play. Much of the electorate seems to be under the impression that, once installed in the presidency, corrupt politicians are somehow rendered virtuous by the office. Presumably, the voters who don’t worry about Hillary’s illegal behavior while Secretary of State believe that she will undergo a personality change once sworn in as President. And this incredibly naïve view is not restricted to the hoi polloi. On a talking-head show hosted by Lawrence O’Donnell, former GOP speechwriter and Senior Editor for the Atlantic David Frum delivered himself of the following thigh-slapper:
I’ve got a lot of critiques of the Clinton foundation. I do think they bend the law. But Hillary Clinton accepts the concept of legality, she accepts that courts are supreme, laws must be complied with and the power of the state is not to be used for personal revenge or personal enrichment. And that’s something — not something I trust Donald Trump to do.
The problem with this preposterous assertion is that Clinton’s actual behavior has belied every syllable of it. Frum’s own publication recently ran a piece titled, “From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer.” The catalogue of crooked deals and political skulduggery begins before many of the people who will vote tomorrow were born. If you are young enough to be in college, here are just a few of the major scandals of which you have probably never heard: Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate, and Filegate. As to her latest dustup with the FBI, as R. Emmett Tyrrell recently explained in this space, this is by no means Hillary’s first dance:
Back in the 1980s it began in Arkansas, with FBI Special Agent I.C. Smith questioning her role in fundraising for her husband Governor Bill Clinton. It continued into the 1990s, coming to a boil in 1997 when then-FBI Director Louis Freeh responded to a Congressional query, asking him if he had ever experienced anything like the FBI’s trials with the Clintons. Freeh responded, “Actually, I have,” and he likened his experiences with the Clintons to his “16 years doing organized crime cases in New York City.”
But perhaps the scariest thing about Clinton’s long legacy of scandals is how she responds to them. David Frum’s fantasies notwithstanding, Hillary is something of a paranoiac. She seems to truly believe that her political opponents are involved in various dark plots to bring her down. The classic example was her claim during the Lewinsky scandal that she and her husband were the targets of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” which she revealed to the world during an interview with Matt Lauer in 1998. The same pattern emerged recently when her minions suggested that she was being conspired against by the FBI, Donald Trump, and the Russians.
This is the kind of crazy stuff that progressives once ridiculed as right-wing paranoia. Now, despite being debunked by that notorious hive of John Birchers at the New York Times, Clinton, her campaign staff, and such paragons of journalistic ethics as Mother Jones are still peddling the story. The least unsettling explanation for these tales is that she just needed a red herring to divert attention from her use of unsecured email servers while Attorney General Loretta Lynch had time to herd FBI Director James Comey back onto the reservation. If elected, she’ll probably have to “drone” Julian Assange to get the WikiLeaks pebble out of her shoe.
All of which brings us back to Clinton’s honesty and the stupidity of the voters. In the same document referenced in the first sentence above, “A Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge,” Jefferson wrote that the public should be educated in history so that “they may be enabled to know ambition under all its shapes, and prompt to exert their natural powers to defeat its purposes.” Our public education system has, for all intents and purposes, stopped teaching history. This is how a paranoiac, power-hungry creature like Hillary Clinton has managed to get so close to the presidency. Tomorrow we will learn if the “Gruber Principle” still holds.