Don’t be surprised if Hillary Clinton ends up a historical footnote like Nixon

Finally, mercifully, we arrive at the end. This time next week we will — barring some type of 2000 election chaos — have elected a new president.

That president, whoever they are, will start their administration deeply unpopular with a very skeptical American public watching their every move.

If Hillary Clinton somehow prevails — and with her lead down to 1.7 points in the latest RealClear Politics aggregate polling average, that is in doubt — she may face a far larger problem.

In June of 1972, the “plumbers” working for President Nixon were arrested breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s office at the Watergate hotel. Three days later, based on a tip that came from the now infamous “Deep Throat,” Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward published information indicating that one of the burglars possessed checks signed by Howard Hunt, who was known to be connected to White House special counsel Charles Colson, known widely as “Nixon’s hatchet man.”

In September, G. Gordon Liddy, Hunt and the rest of the burglars were indicted by a federal grand jury.

At this point, the connection to Nixon’s Committee for the Re-election of the President — known charmingly as CREEP — was not fully known, though there were certainly indications and assumptions about the president’s involvement.

Not enough, however, to stop Nixon’s march to winning one of the most lopsided landslide elections in American history.

The festering ugliness that was Watergate, however, refused to go away, and eventually the president’s involvement in the saga came to light, he attempted to obstruct justice, and was forced to resign.

Likewise, we have been seeing a canary in the coal mine — much like the plumbers being arrested in 1972 — from Clinton several times in this election.

Melina Mara | The Washington Post

Melina Mara | The Washington Post

FBI Director James Comey let her off the hook this summer. In doing so, he gave the public, in excruciating detail, a long collection of facts about Clinton’s use of a private, home-brew email server, and why what she did was so disturbing. He detailed her lies to the American people about the presence of classified information. He detailed her recklessness, carelessness, and lack of cooperation.

Ultimately, he let her off without prosecution because, in previous cases involving investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, prosecutions required some combination of “clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice.”

Yet the story refuses to go away, and contrary to Clinton’s constant complaints, the reason it won’t go away has nothing to do with partisan Republicans.

This week, the Clinton campaign has been dealing with fallout from Comey’s decision to inform Congress that additional emails are being looked at, and that the investigation of Clinton is not, in fact, over.

The pushback among the left has been that Comey — whom every liberal Democrat alive praised four months ago as a nonpartisan, honorable, upstanding statesman — did something unprecedented, that has never been done before, and that he is acting inappropriately to influence a presidential election.

Set aside the irony of Clintonites lecturing anyone about doing things that are “unprecedented” and “inappropriate,” none of this would even be an issue at all if Clinton had not done something worthy of an FBI investigation in the first place.

More importantly, though, it has become clear over the last month that the email issue is not going away. If, for example, the FBI finds indications that Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest adviser, sent emails that attempted to engage in a cover up about the email scandal and then later deleted them, then the FBI will start indicting people.

But beyond that, the ethical corruption of the Clintons goes so far beyond the email scandal. Wikileaks has already shown a shocking litany of ethical problems among Clinton’s team, thanks to the irresponsibility of John Podesta.

Now we learn that the FBI investigated Bill Clinton’s pardon of commodities trader Marc Rich — which smelled awful 15 years ago — who faced multiple counts of tax evasion. It turns out that his pardon was followed by a large donation by Rich’s wife, Denise Rich, of $450,000 donation to Clinton’s presidential library foundation. She also gave $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign.

The more we learn about the Clintons, the darker the picture grows. If she somehow does manage to get elected, don’t be surprised if she ends up a historical footnote, like Nixon.

Matthew Gagnon

About Matthew Gagnon

Matthew Gagnon, of Yarmouth, is the Chief Executive Officer of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market policy think tank based in Portland. Prior to Maine Heritage, he served as a senior strategist for the Republican Governors Association in Washington, D.C. Originally from Hampden, he has been involved with Maine politics for more than a decade.