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July 12, 2016

What A Choice (!) ?

Patricia A. Kelly

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton shared an Air Force One flight to North Carolina last Tuesday to attend their first joint campaign rally. There was hugging and laughter, as well as a little dance from the shirt-sleeved president, who shared his famous campaign slogan “Fired up and ready to go!”


Secretary Clinton spoke of their relationship, and of the respect that has grown into friendship over their years of working together. They joked about the formidable campaign skills of President Obama, and how he defeated her during their last go around together.


Funny, as friends, how she has been virtually absent from the White House for the past eight years, unless on business as Secretary of State.


Just a few hours before the trip, James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, issued a scathing report citing Clinton’s “extreme carelessness” with classified documents while using her private electronic server for government business, but suggested there is inadequate evidence for indictment.


About a week before the report was issued, former President Bill Clinton stepped across the tarmac to visit his former appointee, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, indictment decision maker, having learned that she and he were in Phoenix at the same time in separate planes. According to Mrs. Lynch, they talked about their private lives and their grandchildren, but not the ongoing FBI investigation into President Clinton’s wife.


They both say they wouldn’t do it again, if they had a chance at a do over. They both regret any appearance of impropriety. Attorney General Lynch also said she would follow the recommendation of professional FBI investigators in the Hillary Clinton case.


I guess President Clinton must have been looking out the window and seen her plane taxi up.


I’m sure Air Force One is always “fired up and ready to go,” but the Obama/Clinton campaign trip was planned ahead of the FBI announcement, and the plane left the ground only three hours afterwards.


What was the president thinking? Did he know in advance that there would be no recommendation for indictment? Is he so eager for a win against Donald Trump that he’s willing to back Mrs. Clinton, no matter what? Was he sure she would get out of it, as the Clintons always have? Does he just want his party to win, and thus enhance his legacy?


As usual, we’ll probably never know.


Among the Republicans, two responses stand out, the first being Donald Trump’s tweet suggesting the decision was the result of bribery. A far more reasonable response came from House Speaker Paul Ryan who said Mrs. Clinton should be kept from receiving classified information until and if she becomes president, when she will no longer need a security clearance.


There may be further investigations and inquiries, along with partisan ranting, but, in my view, most of it will be a waste of time, and an excessive expenditure of Republican political capitol.


Right now, when Mrs. Clinton should be losing ground, her opponent is putting people off, and polling indicates little trust for either candidate, or for the government itself, among the people of the United States.


An informal poll conducted among my friends and relatives, both liberal and conservative, after the FBI announcement, indicated a view that all politicians lie, especially when they might get caught doing something naughty.


Most said “that’s life,” and nothing can change it. Some say that makes it irrelevant when choosing a candidate to vote for.


Most telling was the comment of a very dear relative: “They’re all bad people, politicians. I would never be friends with one, or have one over for dinner!”


“Really,” I said. “But you would vote for one?”

How sad than anyone feels that way. It’s certainly not true at all of all politicians, but trust is in sadly short supply in the political realm right now.


Editor’s Note: This column by Ms. Kelly was originally offered to The Frederick News-Post for publication, but it was rejected.


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