Home/Rod Dreher/Seems Like Old Times

Seems Like Old Times

She is fortunate to have the enemies she does (Brett Weinstein/Flickr)

Here we go again:

Representative John Boehner, the top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, plans to announce a new investigation this week into Hillary Clinton’s use of email when she led the State Department, ABC News reported on Sunday.

ABC’s “This Week” program said top Republicans had briefed it about Boehner’s plans, but did not give details.

Clinton, expected to launch her campaign soon for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, has faced a storm of criticism over her email habits. She used a personal email address instead of a government one, as well as a personal server, during the period she was secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.

I think Hillary Clinton is a Nixonian figure, paranoid and untrustworthy. The idea of her becoming president depresses me. But when I read this Boehner item, I thought about Proverbs 26:11: “As a dog goes back to its own vomit, so do fools repeat their folly.”

Hillary’s handling of her e-mail accounts is not a small deal. But does it merit a Congressional investigation? Are the Congressional Republicans capable of a sense of proportion in anything? As with the Senate GOP’s letter to Iran, one has the sense that the Republicans have no interest in the art and craft of governing, and instead bully through everything for the sake of accruing more power. Neither Hillary nor President Obama are innocent victims of the Republicans. As a conservative voter, though, it is difficult to place any confidence in GOP leadership, because it seems that they’re more interested in tearing things up to advance their own power than caring for ailing institutions and the common good.

My governor, Bobby Jindal, is a perfect example of this mentality. From a new Washington Post profile of his flailing presidential candidacy:

In West Columbia, Jindal told a ballroom half-full of Republican activists that the Republicans in Congress had deeply disappointed him.

“I mean, this election wasn’t about getting a nicer office for Senator [Mitch] McConnell,” Jindal said, singling out the new Republican majority leader. He said congressional Republicans had failed to deliver on promises of a replacement for President Obama’s health-care law and failed to stop the president’s moves on immigration. “This was about being a conservative party. For once, I’d like to see the folks go to D.C. and govern the way they campaigned.”

This is the newest Bobby Jindal, the rebel insurgent.

He failed to win over his party by following its old rules — climb the ladder, run a state, impress Norquist. Now, he is trying out a post-tea party playbook for gaining power.

Get on TV. Impress Norquist. And call any Republican in Washington who has power a dastardly sellout.

Wash, rinse, repeat. Meanwhile, back home in the state he was twice elected to govern, the legislature is left to grapple with near-apocalyptic shortfalls, the result of his kicking the can down the road, and refusal to consider any new taxes, or even rescinding massive corporate-welfare tax breaks. More:

But now, officials in Louisiana say that the detail-oriented Jindal has farmed out the details of a major crisis — a projected $1.6 billion budget shortfall — to activists in Washington.

“ ‘ATR says that’s a tax increase.’ Or, ‘ATR says that might not be a tax increase if you do blah, blah, blah,’ ” said state Rep. Jay Morris (R), a fiscal conservative, describing Jindal’s staffers’ responses to suggestions of ways to raise money. ATR stands for Americans for Tax Reform, the group run by anti-tax guru Grover Norquist.

“He feels that’s the best way to run for national office. It’s just not a good way to run Louisiana,” Morris said. “I call it insane.”

That’s more or less how I feel about the national Republican Party these days. They’re ideologues, not conservatives. They can’t help themselves with Hillary. If they would leave this one alone, Hillary would — will — destroy herself. The e-mail brouhaha triggers the anxieties many people have about her. But now, the House GOP’s move gives Team Hillary a counternarrative: There they go again.

Another scandal investigation of a Clinton might be a good way to gin up the base and damage the Democratic nominee, but it’s an insane way to run a country that’s facing some very serious problems. These guys learn nothing. 

Hillary, like her husband, is fortunate to have the enemies she does.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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