Hillary Clinton Writes History’s Most Self-Serving Op-Ed

Having lost to him, she's an ineffective voice on the matter of Donald Trump.

“Hillary Clinton” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

When I saw the headline “Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond,” I was intrigued. When I saw the byline Hillary Clinton, I groaned. As the opposition party candidate who lost to Donald Trump, she’s the last person who should weigh in on this.

The opening paragraph reinforced my fears:

Our election was corrupted, our democracy assaulted, our sovereignty and security violated. This is the definitive conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report. It documents a serious crime against the American people.

Starting off by declaring that the election she lost was “corrupted” and therefore “democracy assaulted” is at best self-serving and quite possibly dangerous. They may be perfectly defensible statements. But the losing candidate simply can not be the messenger. At best, it makes them look like petulant sore losers. At worse, it furthers the sense that our elections aren’t legitimate.

She started to win me back over with this:

Obviously, this is personal for me, and some may say I’m not the right messenger. But my perspective is not just that of a former candidate and target of the Russian plot. I am also a former senator and secretary of state who served during much of Vladi­mir Putin’s ascent, sat across the table from him and knows firsthand that he seeks to weaken our country.

I am also someone who, by a strange twist of fate, was a young staff attorney on the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate impeachment inquiry in 1974, as well as first lady during the impeachment process that began in 1998. And I was a senator for New York after 9/11, when Congress had to respond to an attack on our country. Each of these experiences offers important lessons for how we should proceed today.

That’s fair enough. She does indeed have some unique insights.

The Putin comments are a bit exaggerated, in that she had next to nothing to do with him whilst a Senator during his first presidential stint and mostly dealt with Dmitry Medvedev during her time as Secretary. But we can let that slide as puffery.

And her initial prescription is certainly clear-eyed:

First, like in any time our nation is threatened, we have to remember that this is bigger than politics. What our country needs now is clear-eyed patriotism, not reflexive partisanship. Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress share the constitutional responsibility to protect the country. Mueller’s report leaves many unanswered questions — in part because of Attorney General William P. Barr’s redactions and obfuscations. But it is a road map. It’s up to members of both parties to see where that road map leads — to the eventual filing of articles of impeachment, or not. Either way, the nation’s interests will be best served by putting party and political considerations aside and being deliberate, fair and fearless.

The swipe at Barr damages her position as an above-it-all stateswoman but it’s otherwise unassailable.

Second, Congress should hold substantive hearings that build on the Mueller report and fill in its gaps, not jump straight to an up-or-down vote on impeachment. In 1998, the Republican-led House rushed to judgment. That was a mistake then and would be a mistake now.

This is again incredibly self-serving given that her husband was the subject of the impeachment. It’s debatable that there was a “rush to judgment” but undeniable that there was a rush to impeach. There was no separate investigation by the House and the debate and vote all took place during the lame-duck session. Still, it followed a months-long special prosecutor investigation and Bill Clinton’s perjury was transparent. Indeed, he was disbarred for it after leaving office.

Watergate offers a better precedent. Then, as now, there was an investigation that found evidence of corruption and a coverup. It was complemented by public hearings conducted by a Senate select committee, which insisted that executive privilege could not be used to shield criminal conduct and compelled White House aides to testify. The televised hearings added to the factual record and, crucially, helped the public understand the facts in a way that no dense legal report could. Similar hearings with Mueller, former White House counsel Donald McGahn and other key witnesses could do the same today.

During Watergate, the House Judiciary Committee also began a formal impeachment inquiry that was led by John Doar, a widely respected former Justice Department official and hero of the civil rights struggle. He was determined to run a process that the public and history would judge as fair and thorough, no matter the outcome. If today’s House proceeds to an impeachment inquiry, I hope it will find someone as distinguished and principled as Doar to lead it.

Here, where she’s not a central character in the story, she’s a much more objective analyst. And I agree that were there to be impeachment hearings, the slow, public method of Watergate is preferable to the obviously partisan method Gingrich and company employed.

Third, Congress can’t forget that the issue today is not just the president’s possible obstruction of justice — it’s also our national security. After 9/11, Congress established an independent, bipartisan commission to recommend steps that would help guard against future attacks. We need a similar commission today to help protect our elections. This is necessary because the president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. It was just reported that Trump’s recently departed secretary of homeland security tried to prioritize election security because of concerns about continued interference in 2020 and was told by the acting White House chief of staff not to bring it up in front of the president. This is the latest example of an administration that refuses to take even the most minimal, common-sense steps to prevent future attacks and counter ongoing threats to our nation.

Again, I agree with her—and think it would be better advice coming from almost anyone else. There’s no way to read it from the loser as anything but sour grapes.

Fourth, while House Democrats pursue these efforts, they also should stay focused on the sensible agenda that voters demanded in the midterms, from protecting health care to investing in infrastructure. During Watergate, Congress passed major legislation such as the War Powers Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973. For today’s Democrats, it’s not only possible to move forward on multiple fronts at the same time, it’s essential. The House has already passed sweeping reforms that would strengthen voting rights and crack down on corruption, and now is the time for Democrats to keep their foot on the gas and put pressure on the do-nothing Senate. It’s critical to remind the American people that Democrats are in the solutions business and can walk and chew gum at the same time.

This lesson is in stark contrast to the first. It’s a call for partisan action.

And it’s also a strange reading of history. The War Powers Act, passed by a Democratic Congress over the veto of the Republican President,
has largely been a nullity. Nixon himself “declared current species conservation efforts to be inadequate and called on the 93rd United States Congress to pass comprehensive endangered species legislation,” so it was a bipartisan, not a Democratic, initiative. The Highway Act was more contentious but, again, Nixon was a key player in getting it passed.

Clinton’s closing again doubles down on the self-pity:

Of all the lessons from our history, the one that’s most important may be that each of us has a vital role to play as citizens. A crime was committed against all Americans, and all Americans should demand action and accountability. Our founders envisioned the danger we face today and designed a system to meet it. Now it’s up to us to prove the wisdom of our Constitution, the resilience of our democracy and the strength of our nation.

Again, this would be better coming from literally anyone but her.

I voted for her, albeit reluctantly, in 2016. I firmly believed she was better suited by both experience and temperament to be President than Donald Trump. And pretty much everything that has happened since vindicates that assessment.

She’s a citizen and has every right to speak her mind on the issues. Given her intellect and experience, I’d very much welcome her picking some causes and championing them. But she’s too close to the issue to be an effective voice on the matter of Donald Trump.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, Congress, Hillary Clinton, Russia Investigation, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Clinton’s closing again doubles down on the self-pity:

    I am not a huge Clinton fan…but dude…there is not an ounce of self-pity in the graph that follows your comment. Your Clinton Derangement Syndrome is glaringly obvious.
    I would offer that you are “…the last person who should weigh in on this.”
    I would also say that given how she was robbed by Comey and Putin, she has been, and continues to be, incredibly stateswoman-like. I know that, in the same circumstance, I would be far less so. I read this op-ed as an important message of caution to the Democratic base that is screaming for blood. I’m betting Pelosi is grateful for the help.

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  2. William Rabkin says:

    With all due respect, this seems to have nothing at all to do with her and everything to do with you. You agree with almost everything she says, but ultimately think she should shut up because she has cooties. This is just another example of the toxicity of the decades-long hate campaign against Hillary Clinton, and the fact that it has even affected a Republican as intelligent and self-aware as you helps to demonstrate why Trump won.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    Let’s see. There was an attack on the American Presidential Election by the Russians? Check. The results were decided in favor of the Russian’s preferred candidate by razor thin margins? Check. Hillary Clinton was the loser in that election? Check. She has direct perspective on the only two historical incidents involving impeachment in the last century and a half? Check.

    But she should shut her screechy mouth and keep quiet. Got it.

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  4. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    George Conway on the same topic:

    “Obviously, this is personal for me, and some may say that I’m not the right messenger.” Perhaps so. Probably so. But if she’s with the Constitution, I’m with her.

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  5. Teve says:

    Bad take.

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  6. Kathy says:

    The most important part is the idea of having televised hearings. That’s the way the House, and the Democrats, ought to proceed: laying out all the evidence to 1) let the public see and make up their minds and 2) fully back up any impeachment proceedings with all of that evidence in tow.

    Of course, no such hearings will be held in the Senate. That’s far from good, but you can’t really expect the spineless mass of Trump enablers and supporters to risk a mean Tweet from the Twit in Chief. Joint House and Senate hearings would be good, but see the preceding sentence.

    What’s not important is who said this.

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  7. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Kathy:
    Whatever they decide to do…they have to do it NOW.
    Dennison is winning the message campaign.
    The longer they drag this out the more they risk it just looking like sour grapes.
    Nadler is getting his ass kicked.

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  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The longer they drag this out the more they risk it just looking like sour grapes

    Why do you say that? Didn’t dragging out Benghazi and the email farce work great for the Republicans? Why is dragging out Trump’s actual misdeeds a bad idea?

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  9. Blue Galangal says:

    She – and the American people, by extension – were literally robbed of a presidency, not to mention 2+ Supreme Court nominations, by a kleptocratic kakistocracy and the former head of the KGB.

    I hope she never shuts up.

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  10. dmichael says:

    James: I give you credit for being predictable. When I opened this page I guessed from the headline and sub-head that you were the one who wrote it. I go further than the comments posted here and ask again: What is it with you and female public figures? You admit agreeing to almost all of what she wrote but “groan” about her saying it. Past time for some self-reflection.

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  11. Matt says:

    @dmichael: I had the exact same reaction. I even predicted some of Jame’s responses…..

    Now all we need is the other one to pop in…

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  12. Kathy says:

    Speaking of Watergate, it feels quaint by now to read about it in near-primary sources. People simply didn’t assume that high officials in the White House could be involved in serious crimes.

    When Haldeman’s part was revealed, it was a bombshell. Not so much as we’d see it today that now there is evidence to nail the SOB, but that the SOB was involved in chicanery at all. That’s what was shocking.

    Looking back, one is incredulous that no one assumed Nixon was involved, or that finding that out seemed shocking. We assume chicanery and wrongdoing by high officials today, even when, surprisingly, this is not really the norm.

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    James:

    You stepped in it, dude. Like ankle deep. Your ‘analysis’ is nothing but the product of your personal dislike for Hillary Clinton.

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  14. Eric Florack says:

    Now you’re beginning to understand, James. In here it’s lockstep or else.

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  15. Jen says:

    The fact that you “groaned” when you read the byline should have been an indicator that you were going to read this op-ed through a very specific lens.

    As far as I’m concerned she could have started and stopped with “I told you so” and I would have agreed with it.

    Her perspective is unique and valid. I too hope she never shuts up.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @William Rabkin: @Blue Galangal: @Kathy: @dmichael: @Michael Reynolds:

    None of this is about my dislike for Clinton, her being a woman, or anything else. It’s about the unique role of the loser in US Presidential elections.

    Al Gore, like Clinton, won the popular vote but lost the Electoral vote. Her margin in the former was larger but much smaller in the latter. And he had every much as reason to be bitter about a “stolen” election. While I occasionally made fun of Gore for his post-defeat transformation, I gave him credit for largely shutting the eff up about the outcome.

    By contrast, I supported John McCain throughout the 2008 cycle, including during the early part of the primaries when he seemed to be toast. Unlike Gore, he frequently made vicious attacks on the guy who beat him. Even though he remained a powerful Senator and committee chairman, it was a really bad look and I called him out for it more than once.

    I largely think Clinton is right in her recommendations and I especially agree that we need to step up our efforts to prevent foreign interference in our elections. But she’s in a uniquely bad position to be the standard-bearer for that message. If a Democrat wins in 2020—and I hope one does—then she’s back to being able to speak no-holds-barred. But criticisms of the candidate who won by the one who lost are always going to come off as self-aggrandizing and petty.

    It turns out I wrote about this pretty extensively a little over a year ago: Hillary Clinton ‘They Never Told Men Who Lost to Go Away’

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  17. An Interested Party says:

    Of all the lessons from our history, the one that’s most important may be that each of us has a vital role to play as citizens. A crime was committed against all Americans, and all Americans should demand action and accountability. Our founders envisioned the danger we face today and designed a system to meet it. Now it’s up to us to prove the wisdom of our Constitution, the resilience of our democracy and the strength of our nation.

    I need someone to explain to me how this is self-pity? It is all absolutely true, whether she or anyone else wrote it…

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  18. Franklin says:

    Having lost to him, she’s an ineffective voice on the matter of Donald Trump.

    Three things:

    1) It’s not all about Donald Trump. I would, however, grant that the parts that are about Donald Trump could be colored by a reader’s perspective.

    2) In any case, I think this op-ed may very well be effective in shaping the future Democratic response. If you’re thinking that it’s meant to sway moderates or Trump voters, I would disagree that that was the intended audience. I mean, *of course* it’s ineffective to Trump supporters.

    3) Yet I’d still prefer younger leadership to start taking center stage. This puts her in the news cycle along with Biden and of course Sanders … yawn, I need my tea.

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  19. Mikey says:

    @James Joyner:

    But criticisms of the candidate who won by the one who lost are always going to come off as self-aggrandizing and petty.

    At any other point in American history, with any other winner, with nearly any other set of circumstances, you’d be absolutely right and I would agree with you fully.

    But.

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  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    Starting off by declaring that the election she lost was “corrupted” and therefore “democracy assaulted” is at best self-serving and quite possibly dangerous. They may be perfectly defensible statements. But the losing candidate simply can not be the messenger. At best, it makes them look like petulant sore losers. At worse, it furthers the sense that our elections aren’t legitimate.

    The 2016 election wasn’t legitimate. Absent a Russian intelligence attack on the American election, Trump would not be in the White House. Period. Full stop. Trump is not and has never been the legitimate president. Legally, OK. But legitimately? No.

    And since Trump is leaving us open and defenseless against another Russian attack the next election may also not be legitimate. That is what’s ‘dangerous,’ that and the flaccid response of people who should be outraged but instead shrug and issue warnings about how we shouldn’t say out loud what we all know is true.

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  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    The only person who doesn’t see your post as highly reflexive and a product of your own biases is Erik Florak. Do the math. Now for you of course, the math will show that Florak is the only honest messenger, but in the dark night of your own soul, look into the abyss…

    You’ll see it winking at you.

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  22. James Pearce says:

    Again, this would be better coming from literally anyone but her.

    I think most of America is in “literally anyone but her” territory when it comes to Hillary Clinton…

    It’s critical to remind the American people that Democrats are in the solutions business and can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    Dems are not in the “solutions business” and they need to quit telling themselves that they are. Flint still doesn’t have clean water –a solvable issue– and the Green New Deal, whatever its merits, doesn’t have a prayer of “solving” climate change. Set better expectations.

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  23. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: All due respect, but “the unique role of the loser in US Presidential elections” is something you have in your own head. Only the winner is allowed to speak? This is confusing politics with sports, and viewing winning solely in terms of taking the title. But in the real world politics is the only tool we have to make a just society and keep it that way, because it cannot be done by war. I know you despise Clinton, so it cannot even enter your head that she might have higher motivations than winning the “championship”. But as an upper middle class white teenager from a privileged and segregated family she canvased black neighborhoods in the fifties. In college in the sixties she traveled into the Deep South to organize civil rights campaigns. And, for her husband, ran progressive pro-civil rights campaigns in frickin’ Arkansas.

    I am glad McCain spoke up and only wished he did it more often. He knew what the fight was about.

    You know James, I concede that there may be as many Republican office holders as Democrats that served in the military. But can you name one single prominent Republican who ever did a damn thing for civil rights? For helping the poor?

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  24. James Joyner says:

    @An Interested Party: I don’t see how a losing candidate claiming that “A crime was committed against all Americans” in her losing as anything but self-pity.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The 2016 election wasn’t legitimate. Absent a Russian intelligence attack on the American election, Trump would not be in the White House. Period. Full stop.

    Given the narrowness of his win in some improbable states, that’s likely true. But it’s equally true of a number of other factors, including her own mistakes, the arrogance of the DNC, and Jim Comey’s actions.

    This isn’t a case of the Russians rigging the voting machines. Rather, they manipulated Facebook feeds and otherwise contributed to the propaganda wars. They also illegally obtained and released some embarrassing emails. We’ll never know to what extent any of that made the difference but, again, given the narrowness of Trump’s win it’s probable that any of them could have turned the tide.

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  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    There is no equivalency between ‘bad candidate’ and ‘interference by a hostile foreign intelligence service.’ I mean, the USS Arizona was obsolete and who knows, might have sunk all by itself. We still got upset when the Japanese blew it up. We don’t excuse it with, ‘well, it was an old tub, no one really had any need for battleships.’

    We were attacked.

    It was deliberate, planned attack by a hostile power that did not want Hillary elected because they didn’t own her and they did own Trump. That cannot be shrugged off as just one among many factors. We were attacked. And the beneficiary of that attack is still aiding and abetting the attackers with an eye to allowing them to attack again.

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  26. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The 2016 election wasn’t legitimate.

    I agree, but I want to expound as to the why:

    To begin with, Trump and his campaign were aware of the interference and did nothing to stop it, nor did they report it to the FBI or other authorities. Maybe they did not conspire to help the Russians, but they condoned their actions.

    After this happened, Trump could plausibly have claimed ignorance of any interference (with much difficulty), and launched an intensive effort to investigate what went on, and set up measures to stop it and/or prevent it in the future. This is the kind of thing which rates a commission of prominent citizens. Instead he chose to deny there was any interference, he obstructed the FBI’s investigation, kept obstructing Mueller’s investigation, and has taken not a single measure against Russia at all.

    So in his fear of being branded as illegitimate, he lost any shreds of legitimacy he might have had, or any benefit of the doubt that may have remained in the minds of reasonable people.

    If this doesn’t qualify as an impeachable offense, then nothing does, regardless of the feasibility or likelihood of removal.

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  27. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    Flint still doesn’t have clean water –a solvable issue–

    This isn’t accurate.

    Now, many people still say that Flint, Michigan doesn’t have clean water.
    It’s common for politicians and celebrities to claim that Flint still doesn’t have clean water.

    The problem is, those claims are misleading.

    As a city, Flint’s lead levels have tested well below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion since 2017. The latest test results from January 2018 found four parts per billion in the 90th percentile of the highest risk homes. For comparison, at the height of the crisis, those homes were testing at 20 parts per billion on average.

    […]

    At this point, Flint’s lead levels are better than some other Michigan cities.

    […]

    Since 2016, crews have inspected more than 20,000 service lines, replacing roughly 8,000 lead and galvanized pipes. By the time the work is done, nearly every line in the city will have been inspected or replaced.

    Until the replacement work is finished, people have been advised to continue using water filters provided by the government. However, that recommendation is not unique to Flint. The EPA recommends that water filters be used in homes that could have lead lines, which applies to many U.S. cities. Learn how to find out if your home has lead lines here.

    source: https://www.michiganradio.org/post/does-flint-have-clean-water-yes-it-s-complicated

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  28. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: yeah, the current situation is an understandable crisis of trust, not a crisis of lead.

  29. James Pearce says:

    @James Joyner:

    anything but self-pity

    Fan service?

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  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    So in his fear of being branded as illegitimatecaught and convicted as a traitor, he lost any shreds of legitimacy he might have had,

    Fixed that for you.

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  31. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner:

    This isn’t a case of the Russians rigging the voting machines.

    Yes. This is where the Republicans have been moving the goal posts for two years. And I’m sure they appreciate the help. That, and no recorded agreement between Trump and Putin.

    Republicans still benefit from two contradictory assumptions. First a presumption of seriousness, which is how Reagan and HW got away with something as dumb as Iran-Contra. Second, borrowing a conservative phrase, the soft bigotry of low expectations. Well, yeah, Republicans lie all the time, and break all the rules, and not a few of the laws, but boys will be boys, the little dears.

    Meanwhile, in some precincts, Democrats are still expected to obey every rule of decorum, real or made up.

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  32. charon says:

    @MarkedMan:

    But as an upper middle class white teenager from a privileged and segregated family she canvased black neighborhoods in the fifties. In college in the sixties she traveled into the Deep South to organize civil rights campaigns. And, for her husband, ran progressive pro-civil rights campaigns in frickin’ Arkansas.

    1000 times this. The GOP slime machine is very effective at gaslighting and manipulating people and James Joyner is plainly one of its success stories.

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  33. James Joyner says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t disagree with any of that, other than that I still think the Russian goal was to damage President Hillary Clinton, not elect President Donald Trump. I don’t think they thought the latter was any more realistic than I did.

    @gVOR08: Again, my concern isn’t about Democrats raising these issues. Indeed, I think they should. I just think the losing candidate from the last election is in a bad position to make the point.

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  34. charon says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I read this op-ed as an important message of caution to the Democratic base that is screaming for blood. I’m betting Pelosi is grateful for the help.

    Exactly. Her target audience is Democrats – voters, activists, politicians. What Republicans or James Joyner thinks is not really her focus.

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  35. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    This isn’t accurate.

    From your link: “By the time the work is done, nearly every line in the city will have been inspected or replaced.” Yes, it’s true: we’re at the tail end of this ongoing crisis.

    But taking five years to supply clean drinking water to an American city does dispute the notion that Dems are in the “solutions business.” Peace corps kids could have done it in months.

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  36. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:
    You are simply incapable of saying “I was wrong” aren’t you.

    “By the time the work is done, nearly every line in the city will have been inspected or replaced.” Yes, it’s true: we’re at the tail end of this ongoing crisis.

    YES and the facts are this:

    As a city, Flint’s lead levels have tested well below the federal action level of 15 parts per billion since 2017. The latest test results from January 2018 found four parts per billion in the 90th percentile of the highest risk homes. For comparison, at the height of the crisis, those homes were testing at 20 parts per billion on average.

    […]

    At this point, Flint’s lead levels are better than some other Michigan cities.

    But what you wrote was:

    Flint still doesn’t have clean water –a solvable issue–

    THEY EFFING DO! Or if you are right, please link to any credible study that say’s Flints water isn’t safe.

    And further the issues is figgin being solved — to your very note, it’s almost solved. The work completes in 2020.

    Otherwise, this is yet another example of the classic “Pearce Goal Post Move So He Can Never Be Wrong.”

    Do you honestly think this could have been done faster by Republicans? If so, please cite an example.

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  37. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    I still think the Russian goal was to damage President Hillary Clinton, not elect President Donald Trump.

    Mueller:

    Although the investigation established that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome

    I don’t think it reflects badly on Clinton to point that out.

    People deserve to know.

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  38. KM says:

    @James Joyner:

    I just think the losing candidate from the last election is in a bad position to make the point.

    If that standard was universal, I might agree with you. But frankly, that logic is not and has not been applied to losers of any other election of any other kind. We don’t expect losing in an election to be the definitive end to one’s career or suitability to voice concepts in our culture. It’s not all-or-nothing like that. Honestly, can you imagine telling everyone who’s ever lost an election they need to STFU, their time is over? And we’d need to include primary losers in that because they were in the same tournament, just got knock out at a lower seed.

    Why Hillary, someone who has been a major figure for decades, is expected to just…. fade into obscurity and lose all relevance is beyond me. If you agree with the message but bemoan who’s speaking it, you’re problem is with the messenger and necessitates why you think they are ill-suited to speak. Like it or not, she really is the most relevant person to speak on this topic with her experiences.

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  39. Franklin says:

    @James Pearce:

    But taking five years to supply clean drinking water to an American city does dispute the notion that Dems are in the “solutions business.”

    Just FYI, Republicans held every branch of state government until Democrat Gretchen Whitmer took office three months ago. And she was just in Flint the other day, something that coward Snyder wouldn’t do.

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  40. Gustopher says:

    Since Clinton is roughly the only prominent Democrat not running for President, she is uniquely qualified to be speaking about this. She doesn’t stand to gain personally from this.

    I think it’s time for Obama to come out of seclusion and speak to it, and George W. Bush, and Bob Dole, and all living presidential candidates, winning or losing, from either party. (Is Bob Dole still alive?).

    Bill Clinton should probably continue to shut up though.

  41. Pylon says:

    Remember how McCain decided not to weigh in on Obama actions after the election?

    Me neither.

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  42. just nutha says:

    @mattbernius: Why it’s easier and better for one’s sanity to simply not read Pearce’s posts. Still, I thank you for your work in making sure that lurkers to the site do not get taken in by Pearce’s buffoonish flummery.

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  43. Kathy says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t disagree with any of that, other than that I still think the Russian goal was to damage President Hillary Clinton, not elect President Donald Trump.

    Unintended consequences are still the responsibility of the perpetrator. Japan did not intend to have a full-fledged war in the Pacific with the US. Hitler did not intend his armies to be bogged down in the mud and massacred in a siege.

    Bottom line, the intention matters less than the actions taken. Far less.

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  44. mattbernius says:

    @just nutha:
    meh.

    I keep promising myself I won’t engage, it’s just saing Flint’s water isn’t safe is just flat out incorrect.

    I shouldn’t have responded to the goal post moving… It’s telling how many people who engage regret doing it later.

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  45. An Interested Party says:

    I don’t see how a losing candidate claiming that “A crime was committed against all Americans” in her losing as anything but self-pity.

    The crime committed against all Americans was what the Russians did…one of the outcomes of that was her loss, but that doesn’t mean that a crime didn’t happen…

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  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    Dude, if it’s a two person race and you kneecap the one you don’t like, it automatically means you’re choosing the other one. And when the ‘other one’ is a guy who has been desperate to build a Trump Tower Moscow, takes on an openly corrupt Putin tool, Paul Manafort, has his idiot minions open a secret back channel to Putin, refuses to admit that he’s ever even heard of a Russian, and almost certainly launders money for Putin cronies, kinda think it’s a distinction without a difference.

    Just because Mueller can’t prove it as a criminal charge, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Trump colluded in the open with Putin by actively denying a crime was taking place and rejecting all countermeasures. That’s undeniable, on-the-record fact.

    A president who was elected on the strength of foreign intelligence service actions, who then denies those actions occurred, and then refuses all appropriate counter-measures, and exploits criminal activity, and lies hundreds and hundreds of times about every aspect of the matter while also casting blame on a free press, and rejects all attempts to get to the bottom of the crime, is not the legitimate president of the United States. He never was. He never will be. He will go down in US history as the useful idiot of an enemy power, the moral equivalent of the Duke of Windsor who wanted to hand Britain to Hitler.

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  47. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    But criticisms of the candidate who won by the one who lost are always going to come off as self-aggrandizing and petty.

    If she had lost the election striaght-up, then I would be in agreement with you 100%. But neither Clinton, nor Gore, lost. Comey and Russia stole the election from Clinton. She, and Gore, have every right to scream bloody murder. The idea that she should skulk away is ridiculous. If anything Dennison should be showing some humility given his illegitimacy.
    If you doubt what I”m saying…just consider that Florack is in agreement with you.

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  48. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius: Matt, I’m not going to argue whether Flint’s water is “clean” today on April 25th of 2019. After 5 years and replacing nearly every pipe in that city, it damn well better be. (But it’s probably not.)

    The point is that the Dems are not in the “business of solutions.” They’re just a party, as imperfect and flawed as the human beings in it. It’s important to not believe your own –or Hillary’s– hype.

    (I don’t know if the issue would have been fixed faster by Republicans. But if some Republican wants to boast they’re in the “business of solutions,” I’d happily dispute that too.)

    @just nutha:

    Still, I thank you for your work in making sure that lurkers to the site do not get taken in by Pearce’s buffoonish flummery.

    It’s funny that you think the lurkers to this site read the comments. Maybe they did…once.

    But if they’re lurkers, I’m assuming its because they don’t want to be commenters.

    @mattbernius:

    It’s telling how many people who engage regret doing it later.

    It’s the same people with the same bad faith, Matt, and most of them have responded to a difference of opinion with name calling and other childishness. So yeah, it’s telling.

    But probably not in the way you think it is.

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  49. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius: Oh, that’s why you were posting about Flint’s water. I missed the name you referenced in your reply as I usually skip over anything that includes it. I agreed with your post, by the way. Drum has been publishing the Flint lead trend lines for years, and those numbers back you up completely.

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  50. mattbernius says:

    @James Pearce:

    I’m not going to argue whether Flint’s water is “clean” today

    Huh, only three hours for you to realize your claim was indefensible and almost admit it. That’s an improvement.

    It’s the same people with the same bad faith, Matt

    James, please point out the bad faith in me saying that your claim that “Flint still doesn’t have clean water” was wrong based on the available facts.

    Or, if I’m arguing in bad faith and from bad facts man up and share counter evidence that disputes multiple government findings. BTW, here’s more sources if you’d like to check my work:

    https://www.mlive.com/news/flint/2019/02/independent-tests-in-flint-reveal-water-is-well-below-action-levels-match-city-results.html

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  51. mattbernius says:

    @MarkedMan:
    This is way off topic, and will be my last post, but thanks for pointing me in Drum’s direction on this. I wasn’t aware of the coverage that he’s done on the topic.

    Honestly, this is fresh in my mind largely because of all the reporting that happened on the topic this morning which I happened to catch. My assumption, prior to that, was that Flint was not as far along as it was.

    It’s worth noting that Flint has been within Federal Limits since 2017. Yes, we car argue the degree to which said limits are rigorous enough, but that’s still impressive. In term of large scale public works projects (inspecting ~30,000 pipes and replacing all the lead ones) this has actually been a very fast moving project. Source: https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/01/water-flint-now-officially-safe-drink/, https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/flint-water-crisis/water-lead-level-falls-below-federal-limit-flint-n711716

    (I’m increasingly aware, now that I tangentially work around local governments, about how slow these sorts of projects move).

    Ultimately, @Teve had it right. This is now much more a crisis of trust rather than cleanliness. And there is still the long term damage of lead poisoning within an improverished community. Unfortunately that’s one that if we don’t change the social safety net is most likely going to fall on the police to “triage” in coming decades. 🙁

  52. James Pearce says:

    @mattbernius:

    Huh, only three hours for you to realize your claim was indefensible and almost admit it.

    My “claim?” I made no claim. I made an argument.

    And it wasn’t “Flint has lead in its water.” It was “The party who couldn’t solve this shouldn’t be boasting of being in the ‘solutions business.'”

    You want your bad faith, there it is.

    This is now much more a crisis of trust rather than cleanliness.

    Which actually bolsters my argument.

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  53. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: You straight up made a series of claims in this post.

    @James Pearce:

    Flint still doesn’t have clean water

    That claim was an outright lie as proven by the other Matt and you can’t even bother to acknowledge that you were wrong. No you double down claiming you were always right….

    Try being humble for a bit and admit being wrong take the pain and move on. That’s what a healthy person should do in this situation. Instead you refuse to admit being wrong AND then move the goal posts….

    That’s your problem right there Pierce. Even when you’re outright wrong in a black and white situation you still refuse to admit it.

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  54. Teve says:

    @mattbernius: I was just seconding what you said. Drum is an excellent resource on all things lead. The lead→crime hypothesis is amazing.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “My “claim?” I made no claim. I made an argument.”

    [sigh] SMH. Not even my least capable English 97 (the lowest level English class we offered) student was ignorant enough to say the above. You’ve plummeted stupid into the Marianas Trench.

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  56. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    That claim was an outright lie as proven by the other Matt and you can’t even bother to acknowledge that you were wrong.

    It’s funny to me that you read “Flint still doesn’t have clean water” and did not recognize it as a reference to the t-shirt or the Michelle Wolff comedy routine or the slogan that had been chanted for the half decade that Flint did not have clean water while the party supposedly in the “solutions business” covered their asses and pointed fingers.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Why is it so hard for you people to just disagree with a dude?

  57. Scott O says:

    @James Pearce: Here’s a t-shirt that looks like something you could use.

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  58. James Pearce says:

    @Scott O: More childishness.

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  59. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    This isn’t a case of the Russians rigging the voting machines. Rather, they manipulated Facebook feeds and otherwise contributed to the propaganda wars.

    There’s also a growing body of evidence that while Russians didn’t rig voting machines, they (or rather hackers) did penetrate election systems, in particular voter registration records.

    To be clear, there is no evidence that the altered any counts. And I don’t expect that any votes were changed (either in machines or the official records).

    The open question is what, if any, changes were made to voter registration records (and where).

  60. al Ameda says:

    I have no problem with HRC’s comments at all.

    What I do have a problem with is the number of rising octogenarians that are front and center in these early stages of this campaign – Sanders, Biden, and Clinton.

    I’d prefer to hear from a younger cohort, and if it has to be a from a non-candidate I hope that Barack Obama is the one we’re hearing from, not Hillary Clinton.

  61. Mikey says:

    @al Ameda: Here’s a timely–and, as a Gen-X-er myself, I believe fully appropriate–piece.

    Time’s up, baby boomers. It’s Gen X’s turn now.

  62. Matt says:

    @James Pearce: I have no idea what you’re talking about. You provided no context about any of that in your original statement.

    Your ignorance of construction relating to infrastructure is astounding. Your statement that

    Peace corps kids could have done it in months.

    is mind mindbogglingly stupid and not based in anything resembling reality. 30,000 pipes that are located under major infrastructure such as roads (mostly roads) don’t just magically come out of the ground without massive disruptions to the structures above. You can’t replace all the lines at once either as that would make it impossible to do anything in the city. You’d have to air drop supplies to the construction crews just to do the work. That is assuming you could even get that much heavy equipment in there at once with the proper crews. The economic disruption would destroy the residents and the city. So reality forces the people working on the project to do it piecemeal which vastly increases the time scales involved. Here in Texas I’ve been waiting for them to finish replacing the water lines under a street near my house. An entire half mile of street was shut down for two years for that project and has recently been opened for traffic. Another roughly half mile of that same road next to the section that was completely shut down was only half shut down and that project is only about half way through the same process. So keeping the road somewhat open for local traffic increased the time of construction by double. That’s in Texas where road building weather exists the entire year. In Michigan you have a small window of opportunity each year to do road construction which further increases overall time required.

    Seriously you’ve ventured far off into a fantasy world with those statements…

    EDIT : IF you seriously do believe the project was mismanaged and could of done better then do the fucking homework and show us. Show us what was done wrong and how you could of done it better. I promise I will read what you post. I also promise that if you do show me that it was mismanaged and that it all could of been done faster that I will apologize to you. I also will be inclined to defend you in the future.

    EDIT 2 : I would like to point out that 30,000 pipes of only a foot long (which is highly unlikely as city water pipes tend to be vastly longer) is still over 5 and a half miles of pipe….