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Hillary’s ‘Damned Emails’ Damned Her in 2016

If you look back at my posts over the past year, you should know that I’m not a fan of Hillary Clinton. My first and foremost complaint was that the United States should not have to fall back on electing a past president. True, it was Bill last time, but as Hamlet said, husband and wife are one flesh. It would have been a very bad precedent, made worse by the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton embarrassment. In addition, Hillary has a personality that just doesn’t work for most people—like fingernails on the chalkboard.

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She’s also as paranoid as Richard Nixon about the media and her image. That’s where “enemies lists” come from–and “plumbers” (Nixon’s name for operatives who were charged with stopping the “leaks” to the press). That’s one of two reasons Hillary had a private server. The other is cyber incompetence. The clocks in her house, no doubt, forever blink “12:00.” With all the months of investigation, no one ever came up with any nefarious motive for her server. Without a motive, do you really have a “crime?”

Basically, what Bernie Sanders, early on, was true: “the public is sick and tired of her damned emails.” OK, so if that’s true, why did she lose?

Look at the polls. Hillary was ahead every day from the conventions on, sometimes overwhelmingly. And I don’t buy that the polls were wrong. At the end, the polls tightened up to within the margin of error, and the Comey announcement came too late to measure. Also, don’t forget that Hillary did win the popular vote by three million votes.

The way I see it, two things caused Hillary to lose (perhaps we’ll do a separate story discussing why Donald Trump won). Both were related to the email kerfuffle. Yes, the public was sick to death of hearing about Hillary’s emails, but every time they turned on the TV, there it was again. Or so it seemed.

I’m a firm believer that a similar perception is what did in Richard Nixon, as well. As high-minded as we pretend to be, we really just don’t want to be bothered. For months, back in the 1970s, there were more news stories, day after day, about Watergate. Like a Chinese water torture, that’s what turned the public against Nixon, not the facts of the case (which most people didn’t understand). And it’s the same here. Does anybody really understand why there’s a big deal about the email server? Does anybody care? No, we just are sick of hearing about it. The easiest way to stop hearing about it is to bury her, figuratively speaking.

But here’s the odd thing: the email stories we were so sick of were not even from Hillary’s server. And the only thing close to a scandal in them was that the Democratic Party establishment wanted to help Hillary and stop Bernie Sanders (well, Duh). Yet, even that one embarrassing point didn’t stop Bernie from campaigning tirelessly for Hillary.

It was the endless drone of mostly innocuous emails from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta—all courtesy of Russia, which wanted two things: (1) to defeat Hillary Clinton, and (2) to make the American election look “rigged,” (sound familiar?) to tarnish the image of the world’s oldest democracy.

Day after day, we heard about emails from Wikileaks. They were not Hillary’s, but the public is not so focused on particulars. It was just more “damned” emails, and so, it must have something to do with the Hillary scandal, right? Isn’t that what most people thought? They were wrong. The emails on every nightly news had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s server.

The second, and deciding nail in Hillary’s coffin was the FBI’s James Comey’s partisan interference. And Comey is under investigation, now, about that.

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog is launching a broad review of how the FBI handled its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The review’s scope includes allegations that FBI Director James Comey violated established procedures when he publicly discussed the bureau’s findings and when he sent Congress updates shortly before the election about new evidence agents had discovered.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced in a statement Thursday that his investigation will also explore whether FBI and Justice Department employees improperly leaked information prior to the election.

Clinton and aides on her Democratic presidential campaign have blamed Comey’s pre-election revelation that he was reviving the email investigation as a key factor in her narrow loss to Republican nominee Donald Trump.

A statement from Horowitz’s office said he was initiating the inquiry “in response to requests from numerous Chairmen and Ranking Members of Congressional oversight committees, various organizations, and members of the public.”

. . . Justice Department officials complained that his actions violated the usual practice of saying little about an investigation being closed without charges. Clinton allies also faulted Comey for publicly lambasting Clinton for being “extremely careless” with classified information, even as he said criminal charges were unwarranted.

First, Comey “exonerated” Hillary, but in the most harmful way possible. That tarnished her image almost as much as if she had been indicted. There’s an expression, “damning with faint praise.” In this case, it was “dismissing with damnation.”

But look at the polls, and despite it all, Hillary was still well ahead, just a few weeks before the election. There was talk of a landslide, and the fact that at one point, Trump was only six points up in Texas, for crying out loud. So, stupidly, in search of a landslide mandate, Hillary spent time in places like Texas, Georgia, even Utah—while ignoring Pennsylvania and she didn’t spend a day in Wisconsin. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Even at that, Hillary still had a comfortable lead in the polls. Until 11 days before the election. That’s when James Comey swooped in again, with a one-two punch. In the investigation of Anthony Weiner, they found emails that were neither from, nor to Hillary. But since Weiner’s wife was a Hillary confidante, Comey announced that all of Weiner’s emails would be studied—“reopening” the Hillary email server case.

That was one shoe, the other shoe was that it tied Hillary to the image of Weiner, which brought back the memory of Bill’s infidelity—more that the public did not want to hear about. Coming less than two weeks before the election, the investigation announcement by Comey did her in. One might note that Comey is a Republican. Yes, he has had a fine reputation, but the thing about self-interest is that you can never really be sure if it’s the true “motive” for what you do.

So, the “old-news” email server, from more than four years earlier, was the deciding factor in the 2016 election. Yes, other Secretaries of State did exactly the same thing. Yes, there was no evidence of damage from the server issue, much less a motive for the “wrongdoing.” And, yes, every single email she sent had the email server in the “from” field. If it was thought to be a big deal, wouldn’t someone have come forward to put a stop to it? Wouldn’t anything have been done in the intervening four full years?

Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College vote for just two reasons: (1) The public was sick of the Russian/Wikileak emails that had nothing to do with her server, and (2) James Comey’s intervention. Obviously, those were not the only reasons why a horrible campaigner (whom nobody really liked) lost, but they were the deciding factors.

Before you begin your rant in favor of Trump, remember that this issue is not at ALL about Trump’s win. It’s about how Hillary lost, even with almost every “establishment” figure (including almost all Republican newspaper editorial pages) on her side. We had many articles in these pages of why Trump was likely to win, very seldom suggesting Hillary might.

And, finally, this may not be the end of the story. Fox Business is reporting that the investigation into the Hillary server will begin again.

In an interview on FOX Business Network’s Varney & Co., Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said the investigation of Clinton’s email is about to be reopened. . .

According to Judge Napolitano, one of the metrics used by the Justice Department to decide on whether or not to indict someone is to ask if any harm has been done as a result of the actions by the accused.

This would be a nightmare for Trump for two reasons. First, it would put “her damned emails” back in the news, annoying people, when Trump would like to be the star of every evening news, all the time. But more importantly, of all the myriad and sundry investigations that have been opened about Hillary Clinton over the past 30 or 40 years, not a single one has come up with anything–ever. Trump would much rather have the muddy mentality and current cloud of confusion and consternation hang over her head—than have Hillary exonerated yet once again.

Goethe Behr: Goethe Behr is a Contributing Editor and Moderator at Election Central. He started out posting during the 2008 election, became more active during 2012, and very active in 2016. He has been a political junkie since the 1950s and enjoys adding a historical perspective.