Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Views from the Fence

Down side to being on the centrist side in your group of friends:
  • Conservative friends/acquaintances/etc. are screaming bloody murder about Comey's gutlessness
  • The HRC-at-any-cost friends/acquaintances/etc are of the blindered mind-set "see: she didn't do anything wrong!"

As per usual, the truth lay somewhere in the middle ...and you're not going to get it just from reading the headlines.
  • To my more conservative friends/etc: no, Comey isn't rewriting laws and ignoring the seriousness of HRC's actions.
  • To my more HRC-oriented friends/etc: no, Comey didn't say that HRC did nothing sanction-worthy - as much as most of the media outlets might like to make true by allusion.
To both groups, I'd say, "read the full text of Comey's statement". Read the whole thing. Pay attention to the level of detail. Then, if that is not enough, pay attention to the fourth-to-last paragraph:
To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.
That's not Comey saying "there was no crime here". That's not Comey rewriting laws to let HRC off scot-free.That's Comey going to the very edge of what's generally allowed in these types of statements. He's going to that edge to say "if this were a less-privileged offender, there would be real sanctions" and that "there was wrong-doing, but, the expense of prosecuting it versus the likelihood of achieving a meaningful outcome means that I can't recommend undertaking those expenses" (where "expense" is measured both in financial terms and in political-capital).

For me, this goes back to the "trust" issue that even HRC acknowledged (granted, in a way that indicated that she felt it was a problem with voters rather than her own conduct). It goes back to the shadiness - supposedly ghosts of the past - that was evidenced in Bill Clinton's recent decision to pop-in on Lynch's airplane at Sky Harbor. I don't consider myself particularly right- or left- on the political spectrum - I just believe that laws and regulations should apply equally (whether you're a politician, a cop or "little people"). When people act - probably rightly - that rules (in particular the associated consequences) aren't for everyone, it destroys my ability to trust them.