No question about it, and no way to spin it. The State Department report on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails is damaging. It reinforces popular negatives that continue to dog Hillary—arrogant, presumptuous, secretive, stubborn and not entirely honest. Particularly disturbing—indeed incomprehensible—is the information that Hillary and her staff refused to cooperate with State’s investigators.
But let’s be clear: the report shows that Clinton presumed herself to be above the directives of her own government and department, and then was unforthcoming about it. It doesn’t point to any deliberate breach of security or effort to shield inappropriate behavior. It certainly doesn’t demonstrate criminality. There is no reason to believe that Hillary in any way hurt the country she was serving. But she showed poor judgment. And, along with many admirable qualities, Clinton seems to have a number of personality traits one would generally prefer not to see in a head of state. Hillary’s public personality is surely in part a reaction to the relentless, vicious right-wing assault that has targeted her since she entered the national stage, but whatever the explanation, she is what she is.
The report does not change the near certainty that Hillary Clinton will be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party. Which means that she will be our only alternative to the nightmarish prospect of a President Trump. There can’t be any question about that choice. We just have to face the fact that we have a seriously flawed candidate. It’s not clear how Clinton will deal with the fallout from the report—probably, a frank admission of well-intentioned error is the best way to go, even if it isn’t entirely convincing. I hope she’s successful, because we’re stuck with her.