Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Clintons Can Multi-Task

This week’s G-File is about the Clintons and corruption (but I repeat myself). In it Jonah Goldberg makes the case that the Clinton Foundation wasn’t primarily about the money and our focus on pay for play is evidence of a corrupted view of corruption. While acknowledging that the Clintons are not averse to wealth Goldberg argues the Foundation "was about keeping the Imperial Court in Exile well-tended to for their return to power."

Wellllllllllll, up to a point. I take Jonah's main point to be that the Clinton's corruption is centered on power not money and on this he is certainly correct. But it doesn't follow that all of their activities are similarly sourced, that there is a necessary unifying theory of corruption at play here.

Putin, Arafat, your pick of South America strongmen were in it for the power but that didn't keep them from amassing wealth. And this accumulation didn't just happen but was rather the result of their deliberate actions to live in a manner appropriate to their station.

I take it that the Clintons in the course of fundraising in Manhattan and Hollywood came upon the idea that there were a lot of things they'd like to have and that falling back to something like the lifestyle of their Little Rock days was positively distasteful. And it isn't hard to imagine that Bill and Hill in mixing with people who were not all that impressive but who had a lot more money than they did came to feel a bit cheated in the wealth department. The Clinton Foundation was the most efficient, politically acceptable way (working to help in Haiti!) to monetize their position of power in a way that would be completely in their control.

Yes, the foundation also helped to keep their political entourage together, but I don't agree with Goldberg that this was the central motivation. Those people weren't going anywhere as any Lanny Davis to Hillary email should make clear.

As Mel Brooks noted "it's good to be the King." First on the list of reasons why is power, but the palace, the jewels, the best food and fashion also make the list. I think the Clintons are capable of diversifying into the pursuit of wealth as well as power. The email scandal was about power, the Clinton Foundation is mostly about making money.

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