Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Take a deep breath

Picture from May 11 2011, introducing the secretary of state's address to the 41st Annual Washington Conference on the Americas, sponsored by the State Deparment and the Council of the Americas, of which John Negroponte was chairman from 2009 through 2015 (I think).
OK, everybody, please take a deep breath, I can explain everything. Well, maybe not everything, but please, Mr. Pierce, I don't think it's justified to ask on the subject of John Negroponte's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy,

Why Is Hillary Clinton Bragging About This Endorsement?

unless you have some evidence that she is bragging about it.

Which you don't. You have a lot of words about Negroponte endorsing her, and a certain number of (entirely justified) words about his criminal and/or disgusting activities as ambassador to Honduras and enabler of the Iran-Contra gangster enterprise in the Reagan administration, but the bragging Clinton I do not see, at least not yet.

The Clinton campaign has announced a list of nearly 50 newly obtained endorsements from Republican and Independent muckymucks, of whom Negroponte is one, and by far the most repellent. That's it. The campaign has said nothing about Negroponte in particular other than listing some offices he's held in the press release, as it does for the other Republicans, and Clinton certainly hasn't.

And it's quite disingenuous to run that photo of the two of them shaking hands, as if in evidence of their criminal collusion in the torture of nuns, unless you're going to at least identify where the photo comes from.

Because it's really hard to see how she could have avoided shaking hands with him if she wanted to on the occasion.
Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Negroponte at the same conference in the 2014 edition.
Senator Barbara Boxer shakes hands with Negroponte at a hearing of the  Senate Foreign Relations Committee's East Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, April 23, 2008 on the crisis in Tibet.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice shakes hands with Negroponte at his swearing in as ambassador to Iraq, 23 June 2004. This is what it looks like when there's something creepy about it.
And it's not the list Politico was threatening us with earlier in the week, featuring Condoleezza Rice, George Shultz, and Henry the Dark Lord Kissinger. This news could have been so much worse than it is, and a few days ago a lot of us were sure it would be.

It's a list of people who are largely awful (they're Republicans, after all), but not that awful, and they're signing on to help prevent Donald Trump from becoming president. As I'm urging all the Sanders supporters to do.

More important, the Clinton campaign has worked to make it clear that they're not offering the Republicans anything in return. They are not backing out of any of the platform promises, as viewed from the Republican side, because Trump's unacceptability is so overwhelming that they don't have to:
"He is not demonstrating to some Republicans, like, basic acceptability," said [the Federalist's Mary Katherine] Ham. "They want him to say, 'Look, I am fit for the office,' and for many of them he hasn't hit that bar. So she ideologically doesn't have to turn that much."
Moving into the general election, Clinton hasn't moderated her positions on policy at all....
"'Hey, you know, you don't like me and that's fine,'" said Ham describing the Clinton pitch as she sees it. "'But I'm not going to do anything super crazy. I'm just going to be sort of run of the mill Clintonista, corrupt. Vote for me!'"
Or, more pleasantly, the Democratic:
"It's less about Secretary Clinton and more about Republicans running as far as they possibly can from the bigoted train wreck of a campaign that Donald Trump is running," said Neil Sroka with the progressive group Democracy For America.
He's glad to see Clinton hasn't shifted on things like college affordability, immigration or taxes in an effort to reach Republicans.
"Let Donald Trump do your dirty work for you," said Sroka.
I'm not saying the worst can't happen, but it's not time to panic. I'm afraid it's likely that Clinton really doesn't think of Negroponte as a criminal, or let's say even Jimmy Carter couldn't conduct foreign policy without shaking hands with murderers and torturers, including American ones (and Bernie Sanders would have had to too), but I don't think she intends to take orders from Negroponte either.

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