September 23rd, 2020


Hillary's Very Brady Problem

Bill Whalen

By Bill Whalen

Published July 29, 2015

 Hillary's Very Brady Problem

Here's one way Republicans could deal with Donald Trump: Rebrand Reince Priebus as Commissioner (not Chairman) of the Republican National Committee and wait for Trump to say or do something outrageous (a matter of days, if not hours or minutes).

Then, suspend the man for the first four primaries and caucuses of the 2016 season.

Problem solved.

Well, until March 2016 when Trump would come off the sidelines, angrier than ever.

To the adage that it's not the crime, it's the cover-up, we have Tom Brady receiving a four-game suspension not so much for conspiring to deflate footballs, it would seem, as for being less than forthcoming during the course of the NFL's investigation. If it's merely tampering with equipment, maybe the punishment's knocked down to a one-game suspension.

But refusing to cooperate? It gave the commissioner a chance to lower the boom (I'll leave it to others to speculate about the other factors that might have gone into this verdict, such as the league wanting to come down hard on high-profile white player — a long-simmering issue among players, some of whom believe there's a racial double-standard).

Now, how this ties into presidential politics…

Someone who should be taking note of how Deflategate has played out is Hillary Clinton, the proprietor of Servergate.

Brady reportedly destroyed a cell phone.

Hillary destroyed thousands of emails.

Brady didn't fully cooperate with the league.

Hillary's relation with the Republican Congress: anything but harmonious.

Brady and the New England Patriots front office probably made the calculation that, in the end, the league would let him off easy.

Hillary and her political handlers probably have made the calculation that voters, in the end, will care little for federal email policy.

But again, it's not the crime but the cover-up. And the danger for Mrs. Clinton: the nagging thought that, if she hasn't done anything wrong, what's she hiding?

Which, in turn, leads to the greater perception problem of both Clinton's as not hardly honest or forthcoming - the kind of shopworn, "'Is is' discomfort/fatigue that could weigh on voters' minds.

Someone who understands the Clinton mindset, as he's covered the couple going back to the Arkansas years, is The National Journal's Ron Fournier. Fournier's a reporter, a pundit and, in this election cycle, a self-appointed "Clintonologist" dedicated to the art of parsing the candidate's words.

Here's what Fournier's surmised with regard to Servergate: Mrs. Clinton's explanations are "legalistic at best, deceptive at worst . . ."

He adds: "Clinton has put herself in a box. She can either hand the server over to an independent third party, who would protect her private email and our government's working email. Or she can stonewall.

The latter course gives every voter the right—and every self-respecting journalist the responsibility—to ask, "What were you hiding, Hillary?" What are you hiding?"

We may never find out what Tom Brady had on his cell phone.

Time will tell if we get to find out what Mrs. Clinton is or isn't hiding on her server.

Unlike the quarterback, the candidate won't be sidelined for the crime and conspiracy of playing with deflated footballs.

But if Hillary Clinton continues to be legalistic and tricky: it's her chances of winning the presidency that will continue to lose air.

07/15/15: Bracketing The GOP'S Sweet Sixteen
07/10/15: Hillary And The Media: No Mutual Admiration, But Mutually Beneficial?
07/08/15: The Sixties . . . In 2016?
07/03/15: Four 4th Observations
07/02/15: Should Jeb Play A Trump Card?
07/01/15: Christie Almighty?
06/15/15: Did Hillary Flunk A History Lesson?
06/11/15: Thursday Candidates Quiz
06/10/15: First Best Second Choice
06/08/15: Game of Inches
06/03/15: The Power Of Narrative Politics
06/01/15: Sorting The Republicans' 2016 Kingdom
05/28/15: To Command Without Having Served
05/21/15: 2016: Do Looks Matter?
05/15/15: John Bolton's Swan Song

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Bill Whalen is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he studies and writes on current events and political trends. In citing Whalen as one of its "top-ten" political reporters, The 1992 Media Guide said of his work: “The New York Times could trade six of its political writers for Whalen and still get a bargain.” During those years, Whalen also appeared frequently on C-SPAN, National Public Radio, and CNBC.

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