Saturday, November 5, 2016
What Plagues Clinton in the Final Days: The CHICAGO WAY!
Say what you wish about Donald Trump — and most everyone has — he's been right about one thing:
It's been rigged for Hillary Clinton. And it's been rigged from the inside, the Chicago Way.
Not the vote count, as Trump has alleged.
But the entire establishment system of politics and government. Rigged from the beginning of her Democratic party fight with socialist Bernie Sanders and rigged through friendly media as evidenced by CNN's disastrous relationship with Democratic Party boss Donna Brazile.
And now in the final hours of this terribly ugly and divisive presidential campaign, it becomes clear to many that an inside game has been played on her behalf through President Barack Obama's Department of Justice and its fight with the FBI.
Whether Clinton holds on and wins the presidential election, or watches another consummate inside player, Donald Trump, defeat her as she loses momentum in the closing days, the voters have been formally confronted with something.
Something they've felt for years, whether Republicans or Democrats were in charge, something they were mocked from saying outright:
Now that this is commonly understood by the people, and has become a daily feature of the presidential campaign — with both sides leveling the charge — and the Department of Justice mired in politics, the republic is treading on dangerous ground.
This is not to say that Trump is some clean angel with gossamer wings. Far from it. The vulgarian made fortunes developing real estate, and that means he played with people who pour concrete for a living, and dealt with zoning lawyers and greasy local politicians who want to make friends. So he knows how things are played, too.
And should he win the presidency I wouldn't be surprised to see line of tough guys outside the White House (or their crisp Ivy League lawyers) seeking favor from the boss.
But he's campaigned as a man who has played the game and knows the true price of politics and vows to break it. If the Democrats had any other candidate, they could take advantage of his insider history. But they have Hillary and Bill, with their legacy of corruption and shiftiness and Clinton Inc. around their necks, and so Democrats dare not talk of inside games being played.
Publicly, the system has been exposed, through solid reporting and those WikiLeaks dumps of hacked emails from the DNC, and from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, all through the saga of her home-brew email server, the Anthony Weiner laptop reveal, and more email from DOJ official Peter Kadzik, put in charge of the latest investigation of Clinton, tipping Podesta off with his "heads up" warning.
It's a ripe mess and voters know it. It's right there in front of them. And this has outraged many liberal pundits, who perpetuate the myth that they speak truth to power even as they rally around the desperate establishment queen. The wits of our modern Versailles continue to ridicule voters who dare think the system is rigged, and call them foolish, deplorable hicks or mentally ill.
But media ridicule and the mocking of voters who have been left behind in this economy has its limits. All it does, really, is stoke cynicism in the final days, leaving Mrs. Clinton and her friends scrambling one step ahead of a closing Trump.
What has been revealed about the Clinton campaign is the Chicago Way, a line I adapted years ago from the movie "The Untouchables" about Al Capone's Chicago, superbly written by David Mamet. It comes from Sean Connery's beat cop character telling Kevin Costner's Eliot Ness that if the gangster brings a knife, you bring a gun.
You've heard it. Even President Obama joked about it once. But you don't use knives or guns in politics.
What I learned covering politics in a corrupt and broken Illinois — following kinky Chicago Democrats and equally kinky Republicans who formed a bipartisan Combine similar to Washington's — is that politicians don't get blood on their hands.
They use the color of law to make fortunes, and the hammer of government to destroy their enemies.
What you need is inside information and leverage, and political servants to bring that information to you, sharp and ready, so you may use it to grab power as you pull the levers of the people's government and tell them everything's legit.
The system was exposed even before Bernie Sanders lost to Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Clinton's control of Democratic Party superdelegates, those party insiders who were leveraged for her against Sanders, made that clear. Sanders had no chance.
Then came Wikileaks and DNC collusion, forcing the resignation of Democratic chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was replaced as interim party chair by Brazile, who was then dumped as a CNN commentator for allegedly leaking presidential debate questions to Clinton through Podesta.
There are good journalists at CNN, Jake Tapper being the most prominent, and he's been properly angry and properly horrified at what Brazile has done. But it all adds to the general perception of journalists being recruited to play the inside game.
And now comes the worst of all, what seems to be that proxy war, fought through the media, between FBI agents investigating Clinton on a series of fronts and the Department of Justice which has reportedly tried to shut those investigations down.
Yes, it's corrosive. It is the Chicago Way writ large.
And pretending it is something else blinds Americans to dangers yet to come, no matter who is elected president in November.