Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lock Her Up. Hang Her From A Tree. Shoot Her For Treason.

Those are the sentiments of the crowds at the Republican National Convention ((RNC) (for locking her up), of a Republican Commissioner Duane Flowers in Licking County, Ohio (for hanging her) and of a Republican New Hampshire state Representative Al Baldasaro (for putting her against a wall and shooting her dead for treason).  The Secret Service is investigating Mr. Baldasaro, who has appeared with Donald Trump and advised him on veterans' issues.

I watched Chris Christie's mock trial of Hillary Clinton at the Republican National Convention, where he laid out a list of accusations (j'accuse!) against Clinton.  After each of them the crowd chanted "Guilty!"  And the refrain of  "Lock Her Up"  kept interrupting Christie's performance.  That almost all the accusations were about politics and policies and not about something for which a prison sentence can be imposed on someone* didn't matter to the crowd.  What mattered was the visceral hatred of Hillary Clinton.

Christie's list was interesting, because it implied that one Hillary Clinton had been responsible for everything bad that has happened in the last decade or so, including the kidnapping of schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria, an event which took place over a year after Clinton resigned from the position of a Secretary of State.

She has been incredibly powerful, Christie preached**.  She is the person responsible for creating ISIS.***  She has been more powerful than Barack Obama, who presumably is just a figure-head who left all practical politicking to Clinton.

Now what to make of that?  Christie ended his speech arguing that Trump, a man with no experience in the actual governing of a country, with very little knowledge about any other country, that this is the man the United States needs to lead it, with a careless (and small) hand on the nuclear button.

How much of this incoherent rage has to do with Hillary Clinton's own past history, her husband past presidency or her personality, and how much of it is thrown against her because she stands as a symbol of uppity womanhood?  As I've mentioned before a sample size of one when it comes to very powerful female politicians in this country makes any generalizations about that almost impossible.

Still, note the buttons which are being sold at the RNC.


*  The exception to that rule is Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server for State Department documents.  Some of the accusations made against her could have carried criminal penalties.  But the Justice Department won't prosecute her.  Still:

Comey said the Justice Department shouldn’t prosecute Clinton because there isn’t enough evidence that she intentionally mishandled classified information. FBI investigators didn’t find vast quantities of exposed classified material, and they also did not turn up evidence that Clinton intended to be disloyal to the United States or that she intended to obstruct justice.
However, he called Clinton’s email setup "extremely careless."

But then there's this.  And this.  And this.  That "others do it, too" is no excuse, but it sets what Hillary Clinton did into a wider framework.

**  Contrast that view to the one expressed in the Wiki evaluation of Clinton's performance as Secretary of State:

While Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State was popular at the time among the public and praised by President Obama, observers have noted that there was no signature diplomatic breakthrough during it nor any transformative domination of major issues in the nature of Dean Acheson, George Marshall, or Henry Kissinger.[305][306] The intractable issues when she entered office, such as Iran, Pakistan, Arab-Israeli relations, and North Korea, were still that way when she left.[305] Many of Clinton's initiatives in the "smart power" realm will take much more time to evaluate as to their effect.[305] Aaron David Miller, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said that "She's coming away with a stellar reputation that seems to have put her almost above criticism. But you can't say that she's really led on any of the big issues for this administration or made a major mark on high strategy."[305] Michael E. O'Hanlon, a Brookings Institution analyst, said that, "Even an admirer, such as myself, must acknowledge that few big problems were solved on her watch, few victories achieved. [She has been] more solid than spectacular."

It's worth pointing out that the issues mentioned in that quote are pretty intractable, in my view.  Many of them (including terrorism) seem to be of this Zeitgeist and amenable to change only funeral by funeral.

***   ISIS was created partly by George Walker Bush and his invasion of Iraq for the massacre of 911 (which had nothing to do with Iraq), partly by the Saudi exports of extremist Wahhabism all over the world,  partly by global climate change (the farmers' protests in Syria which began the Syrian unrest and civil war were clearly related to weather changes caused by climate change), and partly by age-old schisms between the Shias and the Sunnis in Iraq and elsewhere.  Even the availability of the Internet probably contributed to ISIS's ability to organize its troops.