Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Court of Public Opinion

Just how damaging will be the recent email scandal on Hillary Clinton?

Sadly, not likely to be very damaging.

The degradation of the bedrock principle of the rule of law first caught my ire in this situation, but upon reflection something deeper troubles me more.

What troubles me more than the court of law is the court of public opinion. 

FBI Director Comey was presented with a situation in which he could go forward and recommend prosecution (he had strong evidence) but he did not have a bullet proof case. When dealing with high public officials bringing a charge itself would be fatal. By the time the case would run its course, even if not convicted, the candidate would have been destroyed.

So what to do? 

He could have given the Department of Justice the information and they no doubt would have issued a statement making Clinton look like a falsely accused martyr.

No, instead, he quietly and with no advance notice issued the public statement himself. He listed in damning detail the failures of Clinton while noting he did not have the air tight case needed to recommend prosecution.

When Congress erupted in anger and demanded explanations, he promptly appeared the next day and directly answered pointed questions with pointed answers showing to the entire American public the liar and low character person Hillary Clinton is. The firebrand US Representative from South Carolina, Trey Gowdy, provided the pointed questions:

Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said she never sent or received any classified information over her private e-mail, was that true?
Comey: Our investigation found that there was classified information sent.

Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said there was nothing marked classified on her e-mails sent or received. Was that true?

Comey: That's not true. There were a small number of portion markings on I think three of the documents.

Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said "I did not e-mail any classified information to anyone on my e-mail there was no classified material." That is true?

Comey: There was classified information emailed.

Gowdy: Secretary Clinton used one device, was that true?

Comey: She used multiple devices during the four years of her term as Secretary of State.

Gowdy: Secretary Clinton said all work related emails were returned to the State Department. Was that true?

Comey: No. We found work related email, thousands, that were not returned.

Knowing he could not proceed in a court of law he proceeded to the Court of public opinion.

Better to note publicly the failures of the official (as he did) and the public surely will in turn seek out an official with higher personal character.

The problem is that many Americans simply do not care.

Democrats are so committed to the implementation of their desired policies, so committed to the defeat of Donald Trump that they will elect with open eyes a candidate with low personal character.

But before any Republicans can puff out their moral chests and pound it with pharisee-like arrogance, consider:

Which candidate with low personal character are you so committed to that you likewise simply do not care?

Where stands the soul of America?

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their [government]. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the [government]…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.”

James Garfield