Clinton escaping charges proves we get the leaders we deserve

Certainly, we live in interesting times.

Every single detail about every single thing that happened on Tuesday is a microcosm about everything that is wrong about American politicians.

It is no wonder that people have revolted away from the status quo.


On Tuesday morning, the White House slipped into their daily press briefings that the Democratic presumptive nominee, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Should Biden consider a veteran for vice president? Biden leads Trump by nearly 40 points in California: poll MORE, would be flying on Air Force One with President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBass honored US Communist Party leader in unsurfaced remarks WNBA players wear 'Vote Warnock' shirts in support of Loeffler Democratic challenger Michelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' MORE to North Carolina for a campaign event for Clinton.

The moment is significant, in that it marked the first time that Obama would bring out his famed campaign charm for his former secretary of state.

He could not have picked a more in-your-face day to go there.

Minutes later, the White House leaked to everyone but the wait staff at Old Ebbitt Grill that FBI Director James Comey would be delivering a statement that same morning – just hours before Clinton would join Obama on the stage in North Carolina – to outline the findings of his agency’s lengthy investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.

There wasn’t a person with a half a brain in D.C. who thought Comey’s statement would be anything less than a pass – the president does not going trotting off to do the thing he loves best (campaigning) with a future indictment on stage with him.

As Obama and Clinton descended from Air Force One, White House communications director Jen Psaki posted on social a media a photo of them with the caption, “passing the baton.”

A phrase that came exactly 2 hours and 44 minutes after Comey had called Clinton's handling of the “very sensitive, highly classified information" extremely careless, and that “any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position” or her staff “should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation."

The next optic we saw was Clinton looking up adoringly to Obama as he speechified, as only he can do, to a state (North Carolina) where they plan to spend time and money to win in the fall.

Even before the first word came out of Obama, all of the scenery had been put in place. They arrived together on Air Force One, she stood with him both alone and together at the podium with the presidential seal emblazoned on the front. Something that the White House has said should not be displayed at campaign events.

In his long speech, Obama was in his glory. He may have never mastered the governing thing but he has always been the master of the campaign thing. Every word, every faux southern twang he used, every insult he thrust at Trump and those who support him were vintage, class warfare, divisive Obama; signaling to all of us that the divide and conquer campaigner was back, and we are about to relive 2012 all over again, only worse.

Because, this time they will have to work harder to drive up the minority vote, and make both Clinton and Trump so repulsive to the working class white voter that they don’t show up.

Honestly, they should all be ashamed, except they have no shame. The truth is, the claims that Clinton has made since this investigation began were all disproved by the FBI findings. She said that what she did was allowed by the State Department. Not true. She said that she turned over all work emails. Not true. She said that no classified information was emailed. Not true.

How was she rewarded? The optics of being with Barack Obama, arriving on Air Force One behind a podium with the presidential seal, where he even took the time to praise her “trustworthiness”.

Yesterday should have been folly for Clinton as it reinforced her dreadful complex association with accuracy in her estimation of the truth.

It remains to be seen if it was. The truth is supporters will still support, non-supporters will still harbor the same feeling towards her and independents are, like what?

If you are again wondering why the American voters are repulsed by the status quo, and why socialist Bernie SandersBernie SandersLongtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE and unorthodox Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE have captured voters imaginations, it is because that voters believe that yesterday proved politicians' role in government is always above reproach, and above the law.

On Tuesday, Joe Scarborough echoed on his show on MSNBC what many Americans felt yesterday after watching the entire day unfold. “If any of us lie in front of a federal grand jury, we would go to jail. We just would," he said. "If any of us mishandled classified information that way, it would not be followed by a ‘but we’re not going to file charges.’ We would go to jail.”

I often say we get the elections we deserve. I’m not sure what we’ve done to deserve this, except that perhaps we've spent too many years staying home and not voting, and this is the end result of that apathy.

The thing is, chronic voter apathy weakens our choices, inevitably leading to a populist explosion. One without ideals but a sheer purpose: to blow-up the kind of behavior we witnessed Tuesday.

Zito is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial page columnist. Contact her at