Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A stargazer's guide to Clinton scandals

It happens all the time: some enterprising (or bored) reporter discovers something that looks like a “scandal” involving the Clintons.  It shines brightly for several news cycles, then burns out and fades to black.

Remember Travelgate?  Whitewater?  File-gate?  Drapes-gate?  Benghazi?  They all had their scintillating moments before dwindling into black holes, devouring memory and judgment.

The latest supernova is the revelation that as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with a number of people who also donated to the Clinton Foundation, like notorious influence-peddler and grifter Elie Weisel.

There's nothing illegal about this.  And an extensive AP investigation found no credible instance in which contributors to the Clinton Foundation got something from the State Department they shouldn't have. 

For example the United States Secretary of State had a meeting with the heir apparent to the throne of a tidy little despotism that nonetheless remains a vital Persian Gulf ally.  So what's the problem?  Even The Washington Post couldn't decide why this was a bad thing, although it was quite sure it was.

Former Eliot Spitzer co-host Kathleen Parker said to-may-to:
A batch of emails released Monday makes clear that Clinton Foundation donors got access to the State Department.
Some of the email was between Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department, and an official at the charity. Not all requests appear to have been granted, but the coziness between State and the Clinton family charity exposes a troubling hubris and highlights the emptiness of her personal promise to President Obama to build a firewall between the two institutions when she became his secretary of state. . . .
The crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, whose government had given more than $50,000 to the foundation, requested a last-minute meeting with the secretary of state. Granted. 
But Josh Rogin, another Post columnist (and not to be confused with Rogan Josh, an aromatic lamb dish of Persian origin) writing the same day in the same newspaper, said to-mah-to:

If it's spicy and appealing, it's not a Washington Post
Don't sweat it, though, Josh slammed Hillary for the meeting on the grounds that the nation's top diplomat shouldn't meet with anyone we don't approve of.

So the Clinton Foundation “scandal” continues to burn brightly, at least for a few more news cycles.  But like all of its predecessors it will fade away to nothing.  When you think about it, it's not surprising that these “scandals” are subject to the same cosmological cycle as stars: they're both nothing more than giant flaming balls of gas.

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