Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton Campaign Stays Steady In The Comey-Induced Firestorm

When I saw the news about Comey's letter the other night and the glee with which anchors descended on it like starving vultures, I switched off the TV and turned to Twitter where I found expression of outrage that Comey would say so much and yet so little so soon before a presidential election in a climate where millions have been whipped up into a frenzy of paranoia by innuendo and misinformation.

It's where I learned from the New Yorker that Comey was advised doing anything that could influence the election.
'Traditionally, the Justice Department has advised prosecutors and law enforcement to avoid any appearance of meddling in the outcome of elections, even if it means holding off on pressing cases. One former senior official recalled that Janet Reno, the Attorney General under Bill Clinton, “completely shut down” the prosecution of a politically sensitive criminal target prior to an election. “She was adamant—anything that could influence the election had to go dark,” the former official said. 
Four years ago, then Attorney General Eric Holder formalized this practice in a memo to all Justice Department employees. The memo warned that, when handling political cases, officials “must be particularly sensitive to safeguarding the Department’s reputation for fairness, neutrality, and nonpartisanship.” To guard against unfair conduct, Holder wrote, employees facing questions about “the timing of charges or overt investigative steps near the time of a primary or general election” should consult with the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division.'
A tweet from Paul Krugman (always an excellent source of sanity) said it all:

The Washington Post printed "Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent withdepartment policy":
'Justice officials reminded the FBI of the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations. “Director Comey understood our position. He heard it from Justice leadership,” the official said. “It was conveyed to the FBI, and Comey made an independent decision to alert the Hill. He is operating independently of the Justice Department. And he knows it.”' 
A lot has been said about Comey trying to get ahead of a potential disaster. None of it amounts to a hill of beans. Whatever his motives were, he's not a stupid man and he knew what impact his actions would have. If, by some miracle, he'd somehow been oblivious, he was warned and advised not to act. He should be formally charged with interfering with a presidential election. And he should resign.

The hosts and anchors will hold onto this for as long as they can, twisting it all into another giant condemnation of Hillary Clinton, under the guise of "informing". Influencing the weak-minded, pandering to their lust for drama, assaulting the strong-minded.

But as she always has, Hillary Clinton will remain an example to us all; steady and strong, undeterred, a brilliant role model—as Barack and Michelle Obama have been for the past eight years—for anybody who struggles under the weight of persecution and the kind of double standards she's dealt with. The more this kind of hysteria happens the more I admire her, what she stands for, the way she's conducted this campaign, the people of towering integrity she's drawn towards her from all walks of life.

She brings people together, she stands up to bullies, she has never become bitter. She can still light up a room with her smile and her campaign is still about love.

It's been getting clearer and clearer since Barack Obama was elected, that there is a monumental fight in America between the sane and the sociopathic, between intelligence and tabloid mentality, between wisdom and recklessness, between everything that's decent, good, inclusive and generous and everything that's mean-spirited and bigoted. That fight has come to a head.

The noise made by the tabloid-mentality press and anchors' and hosts' frenzied attempts to whip up hysteria, and create dark drama and catastrophe where there is none is alarming. It's an assault on the senses and on the mind and spirit. But the challenge is to remember that although it casts a dark shadow over reality, it doesn't change it and the reality is that Hillary Clinton is a tremendous woman, she isn't and has never been a criminal or anything closely resembling one, she's never been reckless in public office, millions and millions like, love and admire her.

She's winning, because of who she is and what she represents, not because she's bent people's minds into paranoia. And the more she's needlessly and senselessly targeted, the more impassioned, committed and determined Democrats become.