If anything at all can be learned from the twin surprises of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, it is that voters in 2015 are thirsty for the truth. These two candidates could hardly be further apart on the political spectrum, but they share a quality that has been missing from the national political spotlight for far too long: simple, blunt honesty. When you talk to either candidate, you feel as though you’re addressing a real human being. You might hate what they have to say, but you don’t come away wondering what they really believe.
And then you have Hillary Clinton. This is a woman who not only embodies the Washington political establishment, she exceeds it. She rambles from campaign stop to campaign stop, delivering speeches that sound as though they were written by an algorithm. If it weren’t for clichés, she would be left with only silence.
This would have been a problem for Clinton no matter what. The people have spoken. We want someone genuine to win next November. Clinton is not that individual.
But of course, Clinton is struggling with more than her campaign persona. She is drowning in scandal as well, and it is in answering the big questions about her use of private email that she is floundering badly. The former secretary of state sat down for an interview with The Associated Press this weekend, and it is clear that she is not about to drop her carefully conceived defense.
“What I did was allowed,” Clinton said when asked why she would not apologize for her actions. “It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that. I did not send or receive any information marked classified. I take the responsibilities of handling classified materials very seriously and did so.”
This defense matches oddly with a new intelligence review of the emails already released by the State Department. Carried out by the CIA, the review determined that at least two emails that Clinton received during her time as secretary included information marked Top Secret – the highest classification of government intelligence. One of these emails reportedly contained information about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Alas, Hillary is resolute. “There is always a debate among different agencies about what something should be retroactively (marked classified),” Clinton said. “But at the time, there were none. So I’m going to keep answering the questions and providing the facts so that people can understand better what happened.”
Well, “people” will better be able to understand when you drop this phony “cool as a cucumber” exterior and address this scandal with the gravity it deserves. If Clinton was working for a private company, she would have been fired for her egregious lack of concern for information security. As voters, our standards should be higher, not lower. And if Clinton can’t even admit that she screwed up, she has no business being considered for the top gig.