Democrats' Empty Bench

Rich Galen
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Posted: Mar 09, 2015 12:01 AM
Democrats' Empty Bench

If you've been just about anywhere on the planet Earth for the past week, you have seen, read, or heard about Secretary Hillary Clinton's emails.

Sec. Clinton's emails pose a problem for the Democrats for a reason that is not directly connected to them. They expose the fact that Democrats have no one else to run for President.

After Hillary, the bench is empty.

As I understand it, Clinton did not have what is known as a "dot-gov" email address when she was the Secretary of State. A "dot-gov" address is just what it implies: RichGalen@State.Gov would be a (fictitious) dot-gov address.

The Clintons decided they would not use the government's email system but would have a private email server installed at their home in Chappaqua, New York with an email address ending in dot.clintonemail.

Hillary Clinton being Hillary Clinton, and related by marriage to Bill Clinton, this was instantaneously seen as another example of Clinton, Inc. considering themselves immune to normal rules of behavior. As Agent Zed described it in Men in Black:

"Silence your native tongue. You're no longer part of the System. You're above the System. Over it. Beyond it. We're "them." We're "they." We are the Men in Black."

The business of private emails is important because the Associated Press, for one, has been trying for years through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to get their hands on Sec. Clinton's emails from the State Department.

But, the State Department didn't have them, they were safely tucked away at Clinton Central.

As long-time Clinton defender (and long-term MullPal), Lanny Davis pointed out in a USA Today column there was no law against Clinton using her private email account to conduct State Department business during her term in office. In fact, he wrote, "Former secretary of State Colin Powell has said that his private e-mail account was used for both purposes, too."

Gen. Powell said on ABC's "This Week,"

"In fact, a lot of the emails that came out of my personal account went into the State Department system. They were addressed to State Department employees and the state.gov domain. But I don't know if the servers at the State Department captured those or not."

Another MullPal, Paul Begala was a little more direct saying that - paraphrasing here:

"Voters don't care much about this. Find me one persuadable voter who agrees with HRC on the issues but will vote against her because she as a non-archival-compliant email system and I'll kiss your butt in Macy's wind and say it smells like roses."

Paul, being from Texas, used somewhat more colorful language, but you get his drift.

The problem for both Davis and Begala is that it is not just the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy who are panting over the email issue.

The National Journal's Ron Fournier (who began covering the Clintons as an AP reporter they were all in Arkansas) has posited that the

"greatest relevancy is what the emails might reveal about any nexus between Clinton's work at State and donations to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Foundation from U.S. corporations and foreign nations."

Sen. Diane Feinstein said on "Meet the Press" that the ball is in Sec. Clinton's court:

"I think she needs to step up and come out and state exactly what the situation is. From this point on, the silence is going to hurt her."

Clinton's ace in the hole is this: That ace is the only card left in the deck. There is no one else.

Unlike the GOP which has a half dozen or so legitimate candidates for the GOP nomination, the Democrats have one: Hillary Clinton.

As Reed Galen wrote in an essay over the weekend:

"Kids who are 18 today were three years old when Bill Clinton left office. If they know Hillary at all, it's because she was Secretary of State, but how much attention does that get when you're 16 and trying not to crash your mom's car."

This flap might well turn out to be the flavor of the week with the press corps off, like a pack of hounds on Downton Abbey, chasing after yet another political fox over another alleged misdeed next week.

Hillary Clinton is still the odds on favorite to be the Democratic nominee. Not so much because she is so much better qualified than any other Democrat in the nation; but because no other qualified Democrat in the nation has chosen to challenge her.

That is the biggest challenge for Democrats in America.