It looked like this is was going to be the year. Hillary versus the clown show. America was going to get its first female president, and the former first lady was going to get the job she coveted from the sidelines since 1992.
Then, “emailgate” happened (seriously, I’m shocked no other pundits have rushed to call it that).
This week, Clinton once again found her dubious e-mail server at the center of a media firestorm.
The situation came to a head on Tuesday when she abruptly ended a press conference after the latest in a long line of combative exchanges over the private e-mail server she used while she was Secretary of State.
Despite the appearance of impropriety (helped by her lawyerly explanations and a Benghazi-obsessed right-wing media machine in overdrive), Clinton hasn’t broken any laws. Even Fox News legal analysts agree that she followed the laws that were in place when she took office (they have since been changed to require the use of government accounts for official communications).
Clinton’s also not alone in using her personal e-mail. Former secretary of State Colin Powell revealed to Politico that he too relied on a personal email account, and wasn’t aware of any rules preventing him from doing so (though he didn’t have his own server, as Clinton did).
So why the fuss over Clinton? One word: Benghazi. Republicans think Hillary is to blame for the attack on a U.S. installation in Libya that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Fox News and others are trying to make the case that Hillary revealed the location of Stevens in an email, even though those emails occurred about 18 months before the Benghazi attacks. In fact, Stevens wasn’t even the ambassador to Libya at the time, and the emails lack specifics (one says he was in Benghazi at an unidentified hotel, a widely-known fact at the time).
Really, the whole issue boils down to the use of classified jargon in the e-mail age, whether the classification is overused and what documents are and should be “classifiable.”
Even the New York Times corrected its own reporting on the matter, noting the investigation isn’t “criminal,” it’s “a security referral made for counter-intelligence purposes.”
With all the media chatter about e-mails and Benghazi, it’d be a good time for Hillary to come to Rehoboth Beach to relax and raise some money for her campaign. Unfortunately, Hillary’s not expected to attend the fundraiser on Joe Biden’s turf. Probably the wise choice, considering some pundits still seem to think the VP might make a surprise entrance into the race and take out the limping front runner.
Listen, as a cartoonist, I would love nothing more than for Biden to enter the race. But despite reports of pow-wows in South Carolina (where the idea of Biden as a one-term president could unite Washington), there is no way he’s entering this race unless Hillary drops out.
First of all, he’d be $45 million short in terms of fundraising right from the start. Second, other than Gov. Jack Markell, you can’t find many people backing Biden publicly over Hillary. Even the White House is reportedly not that enthusiastic about the idea of Biden running.
At 72, he’d be the oldest future president in history, and despite his own popularity, he’d have to run carrying the baggage of an Obama presidency that polarizes voters.
Plus entering the race would bring back negative parts of his political history, like the plagiarism scandal that plagued his 1988 presidential campaign and his role in exacerbating America’s mass incarceration problem.
And I didn’t even get to his constant gaffes and his creepy, hands-on approach with women.
No, Biden isn’t going to ride in on a white horse to rescue the Democrats and Hillary is going to be their nominee. You can email that to the bank.
This post has been updated to report that Hillary Clinton isn’t expected to attend the Rehoboth Beach fundraiser.
Rob Tornoe is a cartoonist and WHYY contributor. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobTornoe.