Kicking The Tires
It has been quite some time since a President of The United States was embroiled in a battle to preserve the prestige and dignity of the office which he holds. In recent history, those with a pure political view will cite George W. Bush as the villain, while others will charge the current resident, Barack H. Obama, and the remainder will affix guilt to all politicians simply because they are politicians, regardless of party affiliation.
It would be fair to say that no matter the alliance or level of service of the office holder, there will be scrutiny of that individual and attempts by his or her political enemies to exploit any misstep along the way. This is not new or unique to twentieth century American politics and most likely will continue well into the future.
The avid watcher of political events will invoke the actions of President Nixon as the absolute wrong way to maintain a leg up on the competition as the result of his deeds was terminal to his administration. The phrase, “it’s not the lie but the cover-up” was on full display during the Watergate affair and those who followed seemed to learn that message and “vowed” not to repeat that blunder. We as the voting public understand the pressures which are attached to public service at the highest levels and allow some leeway to those in the positions of power. But in allowing that room for error, we sometimes tend to project any gaffe or lapse in judgment onto their critics as a hateful attack, no matter the degree of the indiscretion, while wearing dark blinders of partisanship.
Now as the 2016 presidential election season begins, each candidate seeking office tells us that they are best suited to lead the nation in the coming years and insure liberty and justice for all. In particular, Hillary Clinton has announced her candidacy and promised to put America back on track to prosperity and preside over an administration which will be nothing less than the epitome of fairness and equality. And in order to elevate her to the office she seeks we must trust what she says during her campaign. But the early days of her campaign have been considerably more than bumpy as also was her tenure as Secretary of State. Many unanswered questions about the Benghazi incident, the Russian reset and the overall effectiveness of her foreign policy followed her into her announcement to run for president.
Since her campaign began, the road has not yet smoothed out. Questions as to the wisdom and legality of her methods to communicate official information via e-mail and the disposition of same after leaving office plague her, and her programmed responses to the allegations have done little to answer the suspicions her actions raised. She, like most politicians outline an agenda focused at gaining support and votes from supporters, and with the hope of attracting new support from those who are undecided. Will the power of her argument be enough to persuade, and carry her to victory? What then is in store for the country should she win?
Of course no one has a crystal ball view of the future, but hindsight and present day events are usually an accurate predictor of coming events. In the case of Mrs. Clinton during the term of her husband’s presidency, some concerns about her financial activities; cattle-gate and Whitewater, personnel matters; travel-gate, and her blind-eye approach to President Clinton’s infidelity were front page news and begged her to put the rumors to rest with open and honest answers. All those matters were heavily scrutinized, debated and adjudicated. To this day however, some 20 years later, many of the same questions still linger because we the public were never afforded the luxury of direct answers by Hillary. We only had the words of attorneys, ardent supporters, media friends and spin doctors.
With the past as prologue should we expect any different from Hillary this time? Her judgment, competence and integrity are once again the main topics of discussion. After more than a month into her campaign, policy positions have been overshadowed by character issues. Thus far her campaign has been more of the same. The same faces with the same message of “her political enemies as the root of the controversy”, or in her words “the vast right wing conspiracy”. We’ve not heard that phrase yet but 2016 is eight months away. So with each speech, pronouncement and promise by candidate Clinton I’ll ask myself, “would I buy a used car from this woman”?