Wednesday 26 October 2016

Guilty as Hill: Clinton skates away from justice again

Published 10/07/2016 | 02:30

Addicted to power: does anybody know what Clinton actually stands for?
Addicted to power: does anybody know what Clinton actually stands for?

Well, I suppose we shouldn't really be surprised. But should people really be so delighted?

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This has been a year of popcorn TV moments and Tuesday was no different. Having spent the last few weeks being blind-sided by events in the UK, anyone who expected normal service to be resumed with the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's sloppy-email scandal was going to disappointed.

There were certain unexpected similarities between the speech given by FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday and the one given by BoJo when he announced he was stepping out of the race to be UK PM.

On both occasions, the men took to the podium with gusto and appeared to be on a mission. Both of them with spoke with strength and vigour for the majority of their time before the cameras - and then both of them promptly went back on everything they had just said, baffling and infuriating everyone.

Anyone who watched Comey's denunciation of Clinton would have assumed he was going to finish his press conference by announcing the date of her indictment.

As we know, however, despite her being proved as a liar and someone you wouldn't trust to tell you the time honestly, she got a slap on the knuckles and a warning not to do it again.

Then, just in case anyone still laboured under the illusion that America was a scrupulously fair country, Comey warned anyone else against doing what the then Secretary of State had done - or face the full penalty of law.

It was an example of blatant moral corruption and hypocrisy so egregious it could have come straight from the Dáil or one of those interminable Irish tribunals where it sometimes appears everyone knows the outcome before it has even begun.

Make no mistake, this week's decision shames the greatest country in the world.

Even the unscheduled and unethical meeting between Bill Clinton and American Attorney General Loretta Lynch came with the stench of weapons-grade cronyism - shortly after the meeting was uncovered, Lynch announced that she would be staying on in the job if Hillary gets the gig.

That meeting was another classic example of the Bonny and Clyde of American politics riding roughshod over their own Constitution and once more reminded us that their wedding vows must have been a promise to love, honour, aid and abet.

Of course, we shouldn't be surprised that she did what she did - the Clintons have always operated on a plane of moral existence denied the rest of us.

Hillary lies. Yet when Hillary gets caught lying, her supporters immediately defend on her on increasingly spurious grounds - my own favourite being the claim that she was too old to understand the complex nature of emails.

Yes, an ould wan who can't be trusted to keep an eye on highly classified material is apparently the perfect choice for US President.

The Clintons have been providing shrinks with material for 40 years. But what does that say about her supporters, particularly in a country like ours, where the media and political establishment think she walks on water?

Quite simply, no politician should have been allowed to get away with what she just got away with.

It really shouldn't matter whether you support Hillary, feel the Bern or are a Trumpster baby.

Wrong is wrong and she was so very, very wrong on this and so many others.

This, after all, is a woman who lied to the face of the families of those killed in Benghazi when she blamed a video, despite knowing at the time that it had nothing to with the attack.

Inevitably, the narrative goes that if you are appalled by Clinton, you must be a Trump supporter - not a bit of it.

It's just that the Clintons have been corrupting politics for so long that people are appalled, on an almost molecular level, at the idea of her being in power when she should be in jail.

Ask a Trump supporter why they like him and you will hear a myriad of reasons. Some you will agree with. Some will horrify you. But you will get reasons.

Why, on the other hand, do people support Clinton?

What does she actually stand for, other than her own demented addiction to power?

I did a straw poll of some Clinton supporters during the week and asked why they would vote for her if they had a chance.

Apart from a few mumbles about wanting to keep Trump out (which is fair enough), or wanting a woman in the White House (which isn't) nobody could come up with an answer.

So, in other words, people are supporting a candidate who doesn't actually stand for anything. Simply saying you want a fairer America and a safer world doesn't cut it - what politician isn't going to say that?

The conspiracy theories have been flying since the FBI's baffling decision, but I've come up with one of my own and it is, of course, better than everyone else's.

Comey is a Republican. If he pressed for indictment, she would have been replaced by the more electable Joe Biden. If that had happened, Trump's chances would have dropped, so they just did him a favour by keeping Hillary around for him to destroy in the debates.

You see, it's not just mad people who come up with their own paranoid nonsense...

Some free votes come at a cost

So, Mick Wallace's proposed Bill on fatal foetal abnormality was defeated in the Dáil the other day. Regardless of whether it ever passed or not was always going to be moot, because it would have been unconstitutional. So politicians went ahead with a charade they knew, regardless of the result, would actually have no impact.

The whole farcical mess did bring up one interesting issue - the party whip and whether it should be applied to votes on matters of conscience.

You can't run a parliament without a whip, otherwise it would be like trying to herd cats - a feeling which Enda Kenny must now be more than familiar with.

No, you need a system of efficient coordination, but when it comes to something like abortion, any Dáil vote should always be free one.

Well, let's put it this way, the electorate should be demanding one.

It doesn't matter where you actually stand on abortion, the crucial thing is that you have a stance and you have a right to know whether the person you voted for shares that stance, be it pro-life or pro-choice.

Politicians will want to hide behind the whip on such issues, so they can argue that they had to toe the party line.

But mutely following orders is not an acceptable response to the most divisive cultural issue in our society.

We have a right to know what our elected representatives believe in. They have an obligation to tell us. As we saw in the UK, some issues are more important than grubby party allegiance and we can't allow TDs to hide behind the shadow of the whip.

What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?

Some things are matters of policy, some are matters of conscience and we have a right to know where they stand on this, the most important of all matters of conscience.

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