America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
Four Weeks into Hillary’s Presidency
by Ken Levy
21 February 2017
For those of you who just couldn’t take it anymore and shut off the news last spring, let me commend you – and briefly summarize what has happened in the interim. Hillary won (of course), and just four weeks ago, she gave a very gracious, unifying inaugural address after being sworn in by Justice Merrick Garland, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed during the lame-duck session.
Even many Republicans agreed that it is time for the healing to begin – probably because they lost not only the Presidency but also the Senate and almost the House. Their strategy of pure, blind obstructionism against the nation’s first black President just didn’t pay off. Indeed, Republicans are so concerned to shed their racist image that they invited the media to watch them all conference call the increasingly recognized Frederick Douglass. It was very embarrassing, however, when (for some reason) they couldn’t find Mr. Douglass's Skype handle.
As for Donald – boy is he bitter! The guy really can’t stand losing. Still, he must have known that his campaign was doomed once that Billy Bush/p-groping video came out. Looks like the American right has some decency after all; they’re not just in it for power. And good on the evangelicals for prioritizing their faith over their party. I guess they’re not quite the sanctimonious hypocrites that the left has always accused them of being.
I wish I could say the same about House Republicans though. One would think that, after the nearly Democratic sweep, they finally realized that bipartisan cooperation is not only better for the country but also better for their party, at least for its appearance. But this realization has not fully sunk in. They are continuing to waste millions more of taxpayers’ money with the same old fruitless, politically motivated investigations into Benghazi, Hillary’s supposed pay-to-play with the Clinton Foundation, and her emails/private server.
Republicans also agree with Donald that the election was rigged and that Hillary is just as illegitimate a president as her Muslim, Kenyan-born predecessor. Many of them demand that the “Crooked” Clinton administration finally stop denying reality and admit that the only reason she and her Democratic colleagues in the Senate won their elections is because of massive voter fraud. Fortunately, the Justice Department will not waste any time or resources investigating this baseless claim.
During the campaign, Republicans tried to pressure FBI Director James Comey into filing charges against Hillary for something – anything. But Comey is an honorable man at an honorable institution. Even though he is a Republican, he knew better than to play along. Instead, he simply issued a short press release in July indicating that Hillary had not broken any law and therefore that she would not be prosecuted. He then wisely stayed out of the limelight.
Still, Rep. Jason Chaffetz couldn’t help himself. He started yet another investigation, this one into Comey himself. Rep. Chaffetz alleges, without any evidence, that Comey and candidate Hillary made a corrupt deal – much like when Donald paid Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi’s campaign $25,000 in exchange for her dropping a fraud investigation into Trump University. Fortunately, the Justice Department recently announced that they are looking into this whole mess – Donald’s bribe of Bondi, that is. They are also investigating Donald’s self-dealing with the Trump Foundation and the tax crimes evidenced by Donald’s tax returns, which they subpoenaed from the IRS. Some call all of this “Hillary’s Revenge” against Donald. Others call it merely justice delayed.
Otherwise, Pres. Clinton’s first three weeks in office have been relatively unexciting. She’s been quietly working with both sides of Congress to pass a number of reforms in the areas of immigration, tax, Obamacare, criminal justice, student loans, counterterrorism, alternative energy investment, infrastructure spending, civil rights enforcement, voting-machine technology, and voter registration. Her press secretary, Brian Fallon, has been calmly and dutifully explaining each of the Clinton administration’s policy positions.
Pres. Clinton has also been meeting with world leaders. No real news to report there; most of them have picked up where they left off with Pres. Obama. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is happy that he was able to damage Pres. Clinton with the WikiLeaks documents, but she responded simply by urging Congress to direct a greater share of the military budget toward cybersecurity and the Justice Department to prosecute the Trump aides who assisted Putin in his election-hacking efforts – Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, and Roger Stone – for violations of the Logan Act and other national-security statutes. Meanwhile, we continue to fight ISIS throughout the Middle East. No American or civilian casualties to report so far.
Pres. Clinton’s only big mistake: in a pre-Super-Bowl interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, she questioned America’s “innocence”. Well – the Republicans have been having a field day with that one! “Here comes the apology tour all over again,” quipped Sen. McCain. “The Democrats will never recognize or appreciate American exceptionalism,” preached Newt Gingrich. “Clearly, she hates the U.S. just as much as Obama did!” shrieked Rush Limbaugh.
What about the 46% of the country who voted against Hillary? Understandably disappointed, they just keep insisting that Donald would have done a much better job of “draining the swamp” and helping the “forgotten” men and women of America. When Democrats remind them that he would have taken healthcare away from millions of them, built a useless wall on the southern border, and banned Muslims, they shoot back that this was all just campaign rhetoric, that Donald is just too smart to try to fulfill these silly campaign promises.
Strangely, Donald and his supporters are still in campaign mode. They continue to whine that Pres. Clinton can’t be trusted with national security, lied her way into the Oval Office, is “in bed” with Wall Street, and is just using the White House to make herself and her family even richer. Rep. Tom Price recently emerged as a new hero of the Trump Cult when he expressed outrage that Chelsea Clinton was still sitting on the board of the Clinton Foundation and proposed legislation prohibiting the President from engaging in insider trading or promoting legislation that will directly or indirectly benefit her family’s businesses and charitable trusts.
Former Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway fully supports Rep. Price’s efforts, calling the whole situation “pure nepotism” and a “clear violation of ethics rules.” Predictably, within Donald’s inner circle, Conway has been the most aggressive. In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Conway snarled that White House Counsel Jennifer Palmieri, Pres. Clinton’s most visible spokesperson, “should really wipe that arrogant smirk off her face, stop gloating about winning the election, stop badmouthing Donald and his supporters, and – above all – stop bending over backwards to defend whatever Pres. Clinton says and does, no matter how indefensible.” Conway’s last point is certainly correct. An individual loses all of her credibility, not to mention integrity, when she brazenly perpetuates her boss’s obvious lies and evasions.
Finally, nobody really knows what happened to Mike Pence. He was last spotted in a remote Indiana church asking God to forgive him for, among other things, shamelessly lying throughout the vice-presidential debate. Meanwhile, women across the country can breathe a sigh of relief; they really dodged a bullet. Now that Pence is gone, neither the White House nor the Supreme Court will be trying to regain control over their reproductive systems.
Ken Levy is the Holt B. Harrison Associate Prof. of Law at LSU Law School (http://www.law.lsu.edu/directory/profiles/ken-levy/). After finishing his Ph.D in philosophy at Rutgers in 1999, Prof. Levy attended Columbia Law School, then became a miserable lawyer, eventually escaped to Cambridge, Massachusetts to do a two-year fellowship at Harvard Law School, and finally carpetbagged to the Deep South, where he has been living with his two Chihuahuas and an ever-increasing number of rescue dogs. He writes academic articles, chapters, and – soon – books in the areas of philosophy and criminal theory and non-academic articles that are usually leftist and always angry.