What WIKILEAKS Taught Us

It’s tempting, especially with an election than two weeks away, to view everything in an R vs D framework.

And it’s undeniable that members of both parties gin up that kind of sentiment.

Which is what makes it notable when a candidate or a sitting politician goes against the grain of the bipartisan death match narrative, as Sen. Marco Rubio did last week.

“I will not discuss any issue that has become public solely on the basis of WikiLeaks. As our intelligence agencies have said, these leaks are an effort by a foreign government to interfere with our electoral process, and I will not indulge in it.”

Rubio, of course, is running for re-election against Patrick Murphy, a strong Democrat. And the senator spent much of his debate with Murphy last week differentiating himself from Donald Trump.

Those are real differentiations. Rubio, as a career politician, understands what Trump does not. His livelihood depends on maintaining the narrative that the current system has legitimacy.

Trump’s does not. And so Trump and his surrogates and media allies can push the narrative that the WikiLeaks trove of information, which seems like a daily deep dive into John Podesta’s mailbox, serves as a repudiation of business as usual.

We are supposed to be moved, appalled, outraged by what those leaks reveal about the perfidy of the Clinton campaign.

And Trump — if we believe the narrative that he actually wants to be president, rather than the narrative that he, perhaps, got in the race on a whim and kept sabotaging himself until he set himself up for a loss to one of the most unpopular major party politicians in American history — asserts that people should be appalled.

Rubio, however, doesn’t think the content of private emails is fair game.

“Today it is the Democrats. Tomorrow, it could be us,” Rubio said.

Odds are it probably will be the Republicans next. And then private citizens. There is no privacy.

However, if one supposes that WikiLeaks items are admissible as real news, that the documents have been faithfully curated and undoctored, then one has to look at the substance of what the leaks reveal.

Leaving aside the false outrage, the reality is that, for many voters unconvinced by the Brave New World “stronger together” imagery of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, WikiLeaks makes a strong affirmative case for why she’s the most qualified candidate for the job.

I write this as someone who sees Clinton as the embodiment of the status quo. Politically, her public rhetoric is as exciting and convincing to me as memos from an HR assistant director in an office park.

However, when Clinton differentiated between having a “public position” and a “private position” on financial sector reform, I understood.

There are things you tell people in crowded rooms, when you’re trying to whip up the marks between top-volume blaring of “Fight Song.”

And then there’s the truth.

I voted for Barack Obama. Twice.

The first time, it wasn’t because of “hope” and “change.” It was because McCain’s position on the TARP bailout was incoherent, and because Sarah Palin was a deal-breaker.

The second time, it was because I believed that Obama, freed from the burdens of having to run again, might take meaningful action on agenda items like removing cannabis from Schedule 1.

Turned out that wasn’t his agenda in the way Quantitative Easing was.

There has never been a hope and change narrative for Clinton. But WikiLeaks made a case for her that, ironically enough, only leaked documents could make.

There is no possibility to “make America great again,” in the sense that future generations will have a standard of living and a value put on their work that equals those of generations either dying or dead and gone.

The next president of the United States is sort of like the general manager of a Kmart on the Southside.

Things are not going to get magically better for that Kmart, making it where sales will improve year over year. But as long as there’s someone who knows how to work the system, to keep the Bluelight Specials going for the next four years, that’s probably the best we can hope for.

And that’s what Hillary Clinton offers.

Ms. Clinton is the school lunch-room menu planned out 180 days in advance. She’s like one of those football coaches who pops up in one job after another, not because she’s especially thrilling, but because she knows the mechanics of the game.

She knows audacious plays and theatrics are essentially meaningless, as are the fleeting passions of the pitchfork mob. She also knows that, for American society to work as it is currently configured and as it will be at least until my untimely death, there has to be a bill of goods the elites sell the rubes. And there has to be an understanding, behind the scenes, of how it really works.

It is revealing (and sorta reassuring) that when Americans got a peek behind the curtain of the Clinton machine, at least there was someone in the control room, wizard or not.

You can’t say that about the guy running against her.

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