PowerLine – Will Hillary be indicted?
- Does The Donald Drive You to Drink?
- Will Hillary be indicted?
- Is It 1912—or 1824? [with comment by Paul]
- The Matthews miasma
- The Week in Pictures: Snowzilla Edition
Posted: 23 Jan 2016 01:59 PM PST
Well no he doesn’t, but I don’t need an excuse for a drink. But the folks at The Nation magazine do. I’m on The Nation‘s email distribution list (so that you don’t have to), and the latest subscription bleg for their wine club opens as follows:
Are you looking for that perfect Merlot to pair with Donald Trump’s immigration policy proposals? A Sauvignon Blanc to help obscure Mike Huckabee’s tweets about Black Lives Matter? Perhaps a complex Cabernet over which to discuss Bernie’s case for democratic socialism?
Let the Nation Wine Club help you find that glass (or three) of Chardonnay to pair with the next GOP debate.
Sorry Nation readers. A “complex Cabernet” won’t help with Bernie’s simplistic proposals though I suppose they’ll be even more believable to liberals if they are intoxicated—that is, even more, intoxicated than usual. I recommend sticking to simple wines, like Boone’s Collective Farm strawberry ripple.
Now I know what you’re thinking, and don’t worry. The Nation has got the important things covered. Because Grape Skins Matter.
The Nation Wine Club includes selections of wine handpicked for Nation readers—they may be organic or sustainable, from a winery that employs unionized or cooperative workers, produced in an environmentally friendly fashion, or originate in a developing nation.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Posted: 23 Jan 2016 12:16 PM PST
Jim [Comey, the director of the FBI] is tough, he is smart, and if there is a case to be made here, he will make it. And if he makes it, it will be bulletproof.
Of course, making the case would not mean the FBI could force attorney general Loretta Lynch — and the president to whom she answers — to pursue the case. The FBI cannot convene a grand jury and present an indictment.
But you’d best believe the FBI can make the Obama administration look very bad if it shrinks from doing so. Then it will be a matter of how far Barack Obama is willing to stick his neck out for Hillary Clinton.
I’m betting: not that far.
McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor. Moreover, he worked with James Comey. His opinion should be taken seriously.
My friend Bill Otis is also a former federal prosecutor. He too worked with Comey. His experience encompasses years at Main Justice, years as an assistant U.S. Attorney, and a stint in the White House Counsel’s office.
Bill tells me:
Having worked for a few years with Jim Comey, and admiring his independence (and stubbornness); and having heard one thing and another about Loretta Lynch, although I don’t know her and haven’t met her; and having a sense for the way DOJ operates, I think the chances are better than 50% that Hillary gets indicted.
First, the case on the merits seems strong from what I can gather, and, if standard practice holds true, is stronger than public sources have yet disclosed.
Second, while Lynch is capable of bending to pressure — I know of one case in which she caved to a district judge she knew was up to some very questionable behavior — she likes to think of herself as rule-bound, virtuous and “speaking truth to power,” as the Left never tires of lecturing. She is in some ways an old-fashioned person.
I thus think she will go along with a recommendation to indict. I doubt this will get overruled at the White House, since (1) Obama seemingly doesn’t care for Hillary, although I don’t know that from any first-hand sources; and (2) Obama, being no dummy as a Democratic politician, probably thinks that Hillary will lose the general election, and would prefer a different candidate.
I don’t think that even in a culture as degraded as this one has become, a major party can nominate a Presidential candidate under credible indictment.
My view is that the actions of Lynch and Obama will probably depend on the timing of any recommendation to indict in relation to the election cycle. But Mukasey, McCarthy, and Otis (a good name for a law firm) know more about these things than I do.
Posted: 23 Jan 2016 09:23 AM PST
Political pundits and historians always like to analogize the current election cycle to a past election cycle, though I think a case can be made that each cycle is unique and non-repeatable. On the surface, it might look like we might be heading for a repeat of 1912 when a Republican split led to the independent candidacy of Teddy Roosevelt and handed the White House to Woodrow Wilson. That, I am sure most sensible people will agree, was a blunder.
But at least, the main party candidates in 1912 were from within the mainstream of their parties. The prospect that a Trump-Sanders matchup is reviving talk that Michael Bloomberg might run as an independent, and on paper one could easily imagine him winning a popular vote plurality and an electoral college majority. According to the New York Times this morning, he might still do it even if Hillary wins the nomination:
Michael R. Bloomberg has instructed advisers to draw up plans for a potential independent campaign in this year’s presidential race. His advisers and associates said he was galled by Donald J. Trump’s dominance of the Republican field, and troubled by Hillary Clinton’s stumbles and the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont on the Democratic side.
Voila! 1912 all over again. But I wonder whether we might have four major candidates in the event of a Trump-Sanders or Trump-Clinton matchup—Bloomberg plus an “independent” Republican candidate (I’d guess it might be Romney)? Then the election we’d most resemble was 1824, when there were four major candidates running. That election was settled in the House of Representatives in favor of John Quincy Adams, even though Andrew Jackson won the most popular votes. One could imagine this happening again, with Trump, Clinton, or Bloomberg getting the most votes, but a Republican-dominated House picking the “independent” Republican candidate. (Let’s hope to God it isn’t Jeb Bush.) One can imagine today’s Jacksonian candidate (Mr. T) being just as outraged as Jackson was at such an outcome. If you think things were bitter after the messy outcome of the 2000 election between Bush and Gore, just wait.
Cast your mind back to Bloomberg for a moment. Why did he run for mayor of New York as a Republican, even though he’s a much better fit in the Democratic Party? Or for that matter, if he wants to be president, why didn’t he run as a Democrat this year? (He dumped his Republican affiliation in New York as fast as he could, remember.) The obvious answer is that he had no opening in the Democratic Party in New York, where the party hierarchy operates much like a closed-shop union. And New York City Republicans have a bare cupboard.
Likewise, why is Donald Trump running as a Republican, after a lifetime of mostly liberal positions, and his occasional declarations that he leans toward Democrats? I still haven’t heard Trump give an account of why, suddenly, he’s changed his mind on so many positions. Like Bloomberg, it seems to be opportunism rather than conviction; he couldn’t win the Democratic nomination these days, but the open and scattered Republican field gives him an opening to win with a mere plurality of primary votes.
Opportunism isn’t always a bad thing; I like to suggest from time to time that opportunists might well sell out to us instead of liberals. But can we trust Trump to sell out to us? One of his big selling points is that he’s so rich (ditto Bloomberg) that he wouldn’t be in thrall to special interests. Maybe, but it might also mean he’d feel no allegiance at all to conservatives or conservative causes. He wants very very badly to be president, and his campaign-as-performance-art is sheer genius. But as this video notes, do we really know what he thinks?
PAUL adds: I have reason to believe we should take seriously the possibility of a Bloomberg entry.
As for analogous elections, we shouldn’t discount 1968. That year, in which there was a third party candidate (George Wallace) albeit of a very different sort than Bloomberg, the Republican (Richard Nixon) prevailed thanks to turmoil among the Democrats. The turmoil resulted from a bitter race between a leftist insurgent (Gene McCarthy) and the establishment favorite (Hubert Humphrey), following the unexpected exit of the original favorite for the nomination (President Lyndon Johnson) and the assassination of a candidate (Robert Kennedy) who might have bridged the left and the establishment.
Nixon was a hard sell to the electorate, just as I believe Donald Trump or Ted Cruz would be. But the Democrats couldn’t get their act together.
I suspect that one way or another, they will get it together this time. However, this remains to be seen.
Posted: 23 Jan 2016 04:40 AM PST
Chris Matthews opened Hardball last night with an extended discussion of National Review’s editorial and symposium Against Trump. The NR cover flags the editorial by “The Editors” followed by the names of 22 conservative contributors. As the screen flashed a graphic of the cover, Matthews described the contributors as “22 hastily deputized editors.” Matthews seemed not to understand that the cover advertised the editors’ unsigned editorial opposition to Trump along with that of the named contributors, most of whom had no relationship with the magazine, whether through the process of deputization or otherwise. (The editorial is posted here; the symposium including the comments of 22 conservative contributors is posted here.)
The contributors range from Glenn Beck to Ed Meese to Michael Mukasey and Thomas Sowell. To say the least, it’s a diverse group.
Matthews is not in favor of Trump, but he is against Against Trump. He postulated a theory of the case. The NR editors and conservative contributors have united against Trump because of their support of the Iraq war. They oppose Trump because of Trump’s opposition to the Iraq war (after the fact, of course, although this went unmentioned by Matthews).
Matthews declined to explicate the text of the editorial or any of the 22 individual contributions. Rather, he purported to read the minds of the editors and contributors. He offered a vision, or a mania: “All the neocons are out there.”
“The neocons” represent his theory of the case. Matthews repeatedly mentioned Bill Kristol and John Podhoretz: Kristol…Podhoretz…neocons. Kristol…Podhoretz…neocons. Kristol…Podhoretz…neocons.
It was a mantra in reverse. It didn’t calm him down. It set him off.
The full Hardball episode is posted here. Viewers can access it by signing in via their cable provider. Mediate has posted a three-minute excerpt (video below). The excerpt gives a taste, but I recommend the entire opening segment.
A theory of the case of Chris Matthews? Hint: Kristol…Podhoretz…neocons.