According to some Democrats, Hillary Clinton’s scandalous refusal to abide by federal law by refusing to use a secure email system while she served as secretary of state is no big deal.
“Voters do not give a sh-t about what email Hillary used,” CNN contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala told his network’s reporters when he was asked to weigh in on the scandal. “They don’t even give a fart.”
Maybe. There are certainly more than a handful of conservatives who would agree that the public has grown so inured to politicians behaving unscrupulously that they would hardly bat an eye over the allegations that dog Clinton. It remains to be seen, though, if the American voting public is as unperturbed by Clinton’s careless disregard for American national security and government oversight.
Not all Democrats are, however, as forgiving of Clinton’s display of contempt for the law in pursuit of the preservation of her own privilege. On Thursday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell revealed his frustrations with Clinton’s actions in strikingly stark terms. He asserted that, not only is this a real scandal and a deliberate attempt to circumvent the law, but it is a violation of the principles that serve as the foundations of liberalism itself.
In a segment with fellow MSNBC host Alex Wagner, O’Donnell castigated his fellow liberals who are attempting to defend Clinton by insisting that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s selective disclosure of the emails that he sent via unsecured private accounts absolve the former secretary of state. Beyond the fact that this is an untoward example of liberal hypocrisy, O’Donnell said, there is simply no comparison between these two episodes.
“Bush’s e-mails were legally available to everyone,” O’Donnell said. “Hillary Clinton’s system was designed to defy Freedom of Information Act requests, which is designed to defy the law.”
That’s a rather blunt condemnation of Clinton’s actions.
Why such a strong censure? Because Clinton’s misdeeds undermine what he said was a “decade’s long liberal crusade” to pass transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act. “The regulation that Hillary Clinton was defying is a liberal regulation,” O’Donnell averred. “It is of a liberal spirit.”
Speaking directly to the Paul Begalas of the left, though, O’Donnell went on to note that the tribal impulses that govern modern political dialogue will prompt Democrats to rally to Clinton’s side even despite the fact that here actions erode the intellectual foundations of liberalism.
When put in terms as severe as those, it becomes clear why this latest Clinton scandal has the potential to be catastrophically damaging to her political future. Her behavior has jeopardized the liberal project itself. Can Hillary Clinton continue to serve as the embodiment of the Democratic Party’s future if she is taking a sledgehammer to the achievements of its past?