Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Hillary's Defense

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I don't see why everyone's panties are in a bunch over the fact that people Bill Clinton pardoned are donating to Hillary's campaign. Of course, the right wing blogosphere is engaging in plenty of sarcastic schadenfreude over the incidents. Even the normally sane (but, according to theocrats, "shrill" and "excitable") Andrew Sullivan can't resist. This despite his appropriate defense of Ron Paul's receipt of donations from questionable sources.

Shaminac at Newshoggers has a pretty rational take on the whole thing that manages to explain why there is no problem with this without descending into ad hominems against right-wingers for being hypocrites for one reason or another.

Anyways, this really is a non-issue. Whether or not the circumstances were shady, these people were pardoned. They have a right to political participation just like anyone else. That they would want to participate by assisting the campaign of the wife of the dude who pardoned them isn't exactly surprising. We're also talking an extremely small amount of money in the scheme of things. Forcing Hillary to give it all back will accomplish, what, exactly?

Still, I actually don't like how the campaign responded to the controversy. Essentially they said, "We've raised a ton of money, how are we supposed to care about a couple thousand bucks?" This is just equivocating and pandering in my view- the usual Hillary tack of saying whatever will please people most. It's also probably a lie- with the way campaigns are run nowadays, there's simply no way in hell that her campaign failed to notice these rather prominent names on the donor list.

I'm afraid the best response she could have given- and the response I would have actually respected her for- would have been if she just told the truth. There would have been something almost admirable about coming out and saying: "Yeah, they donated to me. So what? They're free to do whatever they please just like any other American- including unpardoned criminals. I have no right whatsoever to tell them who they can and cannot donate to, and how they can or cannot spend their money."

(via memorandum)