Losing Faith in Our Institutions

Laura Hollis
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Posted: Nov 16, 2017 9:42 AM
Losing Faith in Our Institutions

Michelle Goldberg has written a thoughtful piece in The New York Times titled, “I believe Juanita.” In it, she acknowledges that Juanita Broaddrick’s 1999 statements that Bill Clinton had raped her (10 years earlier, when he was attorney general of Arkansas) were credible. Goldberg points out the painful truth that if the women accusing Harvey Weinstein (and other Hollywood predators) are to be believed now, then Broaddrick should have been believed then.

Too little, too late.

Not only because believing Broaddrick now won’t impact Bill Clinton’s political career, but -- more significantly -- because the left’s history of hypocrisy has done far more extensive damage than most people realize.

Exhibit A: the U.S. Senate candidacy of Roy Moore. As any number of commentators (including Ben Shapiro, Jonah Goldberg and Cal Thomas) have recently observed with chagrin, allegations that would have utterly discredited a candidate among Republican and conservative voters -- particularly evangelical Christians -- just a few years ago are barely making a dent in Moore’s support (and are galvanizing support for him in some quarters).

Why is that?

Tim Graham at Newsbusters provides a little insight. He dug up a Don Imus interview with former CBS anchor Dan Rather from 1999, in which Rather dismisses Broaddrick’s allegations as having “happened a long time ago.” Americans, Rather opined, had “moved on.”

That’s one of dozens of similar instances. Here’s the bottom line: Voters on the right have seen that there are no political advantages to holding your candidate to standards of personal virtue when the other side never does.

Those who consider our president to be a vulgar blowhard, and who wail and moan and wonder aloud how we got him, have their answer right there. What’s sauce for the goose on the Left is sauce for the gander on the Right.

This is more than a they-did-it-first approach to cultural decline. What we are seeing is a rapid, widespread unraveling of faith in some of our most important institutions.

It’s one thing when people feel betrayed by the NFL or appalled by Hollywood. Let’s face it -- they’re largely entertainment.

Betrayal by the press is a different story. The media is responsible for finding and disseminating the truth. They should hold all those in positions of power accountable to the public. The press should be a venerable institution, and it is no longer. Decades of giving a pass to politicians they like (usually Democrats) while whipping up contrived or deceitful outrage against those they don’t (usually Republicans) has shattered the public’s faith in the press.

But the damage doesn’t stop there. The same abandonment of objective, universal standards of fairness, decency and impartiality has seeped into government. It’s difficult to overstate how serious this is. Loss of credibility in the press is harmful. The same phenomenon in government and law enforcement has the potential to take the country down.

This is why the ongoing revelations about former FBI Director James Comey are so disturbing. As National Review writer Andrew McCarthy explained immediately following Comey’s infamous July 2016 press conference, Hillary Clinton’s “extreme carelessness” with confidential state secrets was synonymous with “gross negligence” -- language in the applicable federal statute which justified criminal prosecution.

Since that time, we have learned not only that Comey had decided that Clinton would not be prosecuted even before the FBI investigation was concluded, but also that an earlier draft of Comey’s own statement used the term “gross negligence” to describe Clinton’s conduct. That was changed, apparently, to obscure how Clinton’s conduct did violate the statute.

In other words, anyone else would be prosecuted. But not a Clinton.

The ongoing Russia investigation is worse.

The left’s campaign to delegitimize President Trump and try to find “collusion” with Russia seemed to come out of left field when it was first launched. But now we know that Democratic National Committee paid Fusion GPS, which created the unsubstantiated Russian dossier against Trump. And that the Russian lawyer who met with President Trump’s son also met with the Fusion GPS founder -- twice -- the same day as the Trump meeting.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has expanded his “Russian collusion” investigation far beyond the original charge. A year’s worth of work by over a dozen attorneys has produced precisely two indictments – against Paul Manafort and Richard Gates -- for conduct that was years before and unrelated to the 2016 presidential campaign, and which does not implicate President Trump. While Clinton’s lawyers were protected when she was under investigation - despite their involvement in the destruction of evidence - Manafort’s and Gates’ attorneys were forced to testify against them.

And then there is the fishy Uranium One deal: the half-million-dollar speaking fee paid to Bill Clinton for a Moscow speaking engagement and the millions of dollars paid to the Clinton Foundation by Uranium One investors, all while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, Robert Mueller was FBI director and the Uranium One deal was pending.

But we’re told that this is just coincidence and doesn’t warrant investigation.

Those who despise Trump and protect Democrats no matter how corrupt their behavior may secretly applaud the double standard. But the repercussions will be far more unpleasant than anything we have seen thus far.