David Axelrod on Monday burned Hillary Clinton for her notorious lack of transparency, calling it more problematic than her recent diagnosis of pneumonia.
“Antibiotics can take care of pneumonia. What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?” Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s former chief campaign strategist, tweeted on Monday morning.
Trump’s camp pounced on Axelrod’s pointed commentary, with campaign manager Kellyanne Conway simple tweeting, “Whoa. Well said.”
— Axelrod rips Clinton for ‘unhealthy’ obsession with privacy, Politico, this morning
Since Donald and Eric Trump both have assured us that the release by Trump of his tax returns for that last decade or so would provide us with no information since we already know everything about Trump’s finances, tax payments, charitable donations, and debts, personal and business debts—the amounts and to whom they’re owed—and where and in what he holds financial interests and who his business partners are and were, the political problems that his refusal to release the tax returns are creating are unnecessary.* To the extent that it’s causing political problems, which, given the news media’s utter failure to make a major issue of it and to explain what those tax returns could reveal, isn’t great, I’ll grant.
But to the extent that it exists—and to the extent that it will exist now that the news media will focus as much on that issue as on Clinton’s medical records now that I’ve raised the issue and pointed out that they should—I’ll adopt Axelrod’s question but point it toward Trump and Conway herself:
What’s the cure for an unhealthy penchant for privacy that repeatedly creates unnecessary problems?
As Conway surely would say: Whoa. Well said.
Axelrod is right about Clinton. But that’s because the problems Clinton’s penchant for privacy causes are unnecessary ones. I’m probably wrong that any political problems that Trump’s penchant for privacy is causing him or will cause him are unnecessary ones.
Much as I hate to admit being wrong about, y’know, anything.
*Sentence edited for structure and grammatical error, 9/13 at 4:29 p.m. (Yikes; that sentence was a cut-and-paste mess.)
And just to be sure y’all understand, Conway of course made no sch promise. Nor, of course, will she. But here’s the cool thing: the revelation of Clinton’s illness, revealed only because of she became noticeable ill in public, may well turn out to be fortuitous politically, for two reasons. One is that Clinton may now relax a bit about her health problems; they’re out in the open and most people not a big political consideration–all things considered, if you get my drift.
The other reason is that the news media and political punditry finally are catching on that their singular focus on this or that regarding Clinton and corresponding failure to drive home absolutely critical aspects of Trump’s business life, known and strongly suspected but unverifiable because of Trump’s extreme lack of transparency, hasn’t done the public any favors. Nor has it even done favors for these journalists’ and pundits’ “views,” since exposing and driving these things home surely would get a lot of “views” and maybe even go viral on Twitter and Facebook!
In any event, Clinton’s illness seems to have had the effect of finally, finally provoking the political news media into actually trying to educate the public about such things as that a key effect of Trump’s bankruptcies has been that he can’t borrow money from anyone other than Russian oligarchs and apparently has done that extensively. And that his Soho condo project involved extensive fraud that was under criminal investigation until he paid off civil plaintiffs who would have been witnesses in a criminal case. And that he engages in intense and very expensive efforts to destroy anyone who is about to reveal potentially criminal fraud (including bank fraud) on his part. And that he appears to have engaged in a quid pro quo with Florida AG Pam Bondi in which more than $175,000 was added to Bondi’s reelection campaign coffers courtesy of Trump’s financial machinations, in exchange for Bondi’s office’s decision not to pursue a lawsuit against Trump for serial fraud concerning Trump University and Trump Institute?
What’s unusual about these quid pro quos is that rather than seeking some favorable legislation or direct access to someone who can provide some favor like a special passport or a meeting with some policymaker about, say, policy, Trump’s quid pro quos involve buyoffs or harassment or intimidation for the purpose of keeping things, some of them illegal, some of them creating extreme conflicts of interest for a presidential contender, secret. This is both a gross manipulation of the civil and criminal legal system and of the public’s access to critical information about him in this election.
Added 9/13 at 12:10 p.m. The last sentence in the original post also was added.