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Breaking Down the Two Sides of the Clinton Foundation Debate

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 24, 2016 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 24, 2016 |

Before we begin here, not that it isn’t obvious, but I will be voting for Hillary in the fall. We should all be voting for Hillary in the fall. In any other election year, maybe the air of impropriety that surrounds Hillary might mean taking a look at the other guy, especially where the other guy is someone like Barack Obama. But here, the other guy is Trump. You know how Trump says he could shoot someone in the middle of Times Square and his voters would still vote for him? If Hillary murdered someone in Times Square, I definitely still would not vote for Trump, and I’d give a lot of thought toward whether I’d still vote for Hillary. I’m with Seth Meyers here: Whatever is in Hillary’s emails, and whatever is going on with the Clinton Foundation, I can guarantee that it’s not enough to persuade me to vote for Trump.

That does not, however, mean that Hillary should go unchecked. If there’s an issue, we should know about it. The problem with Hillary Clinton’s scandals historically, however, has been that they are often hard to understand. The Rose Law firm, Whitewater, Travelgate, the emails, etc., are paper trail scandals driven mostly by assumptions, assumptions that are difficult to prove.

The Clinton Foundation business is another scandal that is not “sexy.” It is not easy to prove. It also seems to rely on assumptions. Clinton supporters assume that there are good intentions behind a charitable organization designed to help people. Opponents of Clinton assume there’s something else at play: Power, greed, influence. Trying to parse these assumptions is difficult because objective news pieces generally rely on our assumptions to fill in gaps, while op-eds are typically driven by an agenda.

There are two Twitter streams that appeared last night that may not be helpful in figuring it out, but at least they frame both sides of the debate. These are the arguments on either side.

The first comes from Judd Legum, the Editor in Chief for ThinkProgress and the Senior Vice President for Communications at American Progress. He’s a liberal, if that weren’t obvious.

Legum’s argument echoes much of what James Carville has been saying this week, only less dramatically (Carville is suggesting that if opponents shut down the Clinton Foundation, people will die and those opponents will “go to hell.” It’s the sort of argument that comforts us on the liberal side.

On the other side of the debate is “Alan Smithee” (not his real name). I don’t know who this guy is, but the fact that he can spell at least makes him smarter than 90 percent of Trump supporters. He effectively lays out the case against the Clinton Foundation.


Here, he offers two more examples, one in which the ruler of Dubai paid the Clinton Foundation $15 million, and the Clinton Foundation ending up running every important charity organization in Dubai.

I’ll be honest: I don’t know what’s true and what’s not about Smithee’s argument. The Clintons have never seemed the type to be driven by money, but I will concede that they are into power and influence. I’ve also not seen any strong evidence in mainstream media accounts that the Clintons engaged in pay for play, but I am willing to concede that it’s an easy assumption to make for opponents of the Clintons.

However, not to play the “but he’s worse” card, but even assuming that everything that Smithee says is true (and that’s highly unlikely), Clinton is still the better candidate in this election. Charity may be an “afterthought,” but at least there’s charity. Meanwhile, Trump uses his foundation’s money to buy footballs from Tim Tebow and he frequently lies about donating to charities. He is clearly driven by greed, and engages in all sorts of improprieties, including most recently tripling his campaign’s Trump Tower rent once donors became responsible for it. If anyone is looking this election as a choice between lesser evils, it’s basically a lifelong politician and all the trappings that come with that versus Beelzebub himself.