Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Accomplishments? What Accomplishments?

It's one of the charming oddities of our politics that people will vote for a candidate for all sorts of reasons other than the candidate's qualifications for office. The individual may be unqualified, corrupt, dishonest, untruthful, unprincipled, vindictive, and unscrupulous and people will still vote for the person as long as the person is in the right party. Then they'll spend the next four years complaining that politicians are unqualified, corrupt, dishonest, untruthful, unprincipled, vindictive, and unscrupulous.

The focus group in this video consists of a group of Iowa Democrats who are asked to name just one accomplishment Hillary Clinton can claim from her tenure as Secretary of State that qualifies her to be president. The consensus answer is, apparently, that she hasn't accomplished anything, but she's got the right view of gay marriage and abortion and she's better than Scott Walker because he's a Republican.
For those readers with long memories, remember that Richard Allen, Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor, innocently accepted a check from a Japanese magazine for arranging an interview with Nancy Reagan. There was no impropriety, he never cashed the check, and an FBI investigation cleared him of wrongdoing, but nevertheless the Democrats howled about the stench of corruption until Allen ultimately resigned. Hillary Clinton accepted millions of dollars in gifts from foreign countries while she was Secretary of State, a clear conflict of interest that potentially compromised American foreign policy, and her base remains steadfastly supportive. It's no big deal. She's not a Republican, after all.

Older readers might also recall that fourteen members of the Reagan administration were indicted in the Iran-Contra affair for illegally selling weapons to Iran and illegally channeling some of the proceeds to the Contras in El Salvador. The Democrats were livid about this, but Hillary Clinton was evidently involved in illegally sending weapons from Libya to Syrian rebels, an operation that quite possibly precipitated the attack on the Benghazi consulate, and it hardly makes the news. What matters to a lot of people is not the candidate's qualifications or character, but whether there's a D or an R after his or her name. They'd vote for Beelzebub himself if he was a member of the right party.