What Say You, Tea Leaves?

It’s been almost a year — it was February 28th, 2015 — since I predicted that Hillary Clinton would not be the Democratic nominee. (Readers can find the historic vaticination — upon which I immediately staked a bottle of whisky in a wager with our commenter ‘The One Eyed Man’ — in the comment-thread here.) Among the reasons I gave, which of course hardly scratch the surface: too old, too sick, too unprincipled, too incompetent, too dishonest, too nasty, too much baggage.

How’s it looking? About as I expected it would. Some of you may be old enough to remember the old Clairol slogan: “the closer she gets, the better she looks”; I expected that this would be precisely the opposite of what would happen with Mrs. Clinton, and I have not been disappointed. Everywhere you look her support seems to be declining; at this rate, were she to stay in the race, the only votes she’d end up getting come Election Day would be Bill, Chelsea, George Stephanapolous, our monocular commenter, and perhaps Chelsea’s father, Webb Hubbell. (Why, just now I read an Op-Ed piece by Charles Blow over at the New York Times; even the comment-section there is overwhelmingly unsupportive, if not downright antagonistic, toward the former First Basilisk. And if you’ve lost Charles Blow’s commentariat, well…)

It’s obvious that this email business is pretty serious; Mrs. Clinton had things on her private server that should only have been viewable in a SCIF — a secure facility to which access is only granted on a strict case-by-case, need-to-know, eyes-only basis. The material in question is of the most sensitive sort, with a security classification above Top Secret — the kind of stuff that, if leaked, puts human lives at risk. (We can rest assured that as a result of its having been hosted in the Clinton’s bathroom, it is now read at leisure in Beijing, Moscow, Pyongyang, and God-knows-where else.) The FBI has been investigating, but of course the FBI cannot bring an indictment; that duty rests with the Department of Justice — i.e., Loretta Lynch, and ultimately Barack Obama.

So what’s going to happen? The chattering classes have been predicting all sorts of things. Out of this welter of opinions, what has coalesced in my own mind as the most persuasive analysis, and the most likely sequence of events, includes these key points:

1) This thing will not go away. The security breach is too egregious, and the penalties for any ordinary person so severe, that even Hillary Clinton will not be able to walk away from it.

2) Barack Obama controls the DOJ, but even for a man with as little regard for the rule of law as he has, there’s too much pressure building for him just to switch the whole thing off, even if he wanted to. And are we sure he wants to? Because, after all…

3) …the Clintons and the Obamas hate each other. Any leniency that Mr. Obama might show Mrs. Clinton depends exclusively on the following:

      a) His concern for his own legacy, and for the future course of the Democratic Party. Given that Mrs. Clinton will likely yank the party back toward the center relative to where Mr. Obama would like it to go, and given also that Mrs. Clinton is hardly a person of natural political talent, or of charismatic personal charm, it’s hard to believe that Mr. Obama is thrilled to see her as his heir;

      b) His concern for any dirt that the Clintons may have on him. I will not speculate here about what that may be, but we can be sure that if Mr. Obama spurns and discards Mrs. Clinton, then the Clinton machine will bring its guns to bear, and that is not nothing.

4) My own impression is that Mr. Obama has the advantage as regards item 3). This opinion is reinforced by the asymmetrical toadying we’ve been seeing lately; it seems that Mrs. Clinton has been going out of her way to praise and bend the knee to the incumbent in recent weeks. We would not see this sharp uptick in ass-kissing if something were not afoot.

5) My feeling, then, is that Mr. Obama is turning away from Mrs. Clinton, and will turn loose the DOJ when the moment is right.

6) When will the moment be right? When she’s down, of course; he will want her prospects to slip as much as possible before siccing the dogs on her. So if she does poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, then expect it sooner; if she does better than she seems likely to in those contests, then expect more damaging FBI leaks for a little while longer.

7) Does this mean that Mr. Obama now supports Bernie Sanders? No. In fact Mr. Sanders was summoned to the White House just the other day, and I bet he was told as much. Bernie Sanders is too kooky, too untethered from reality, too flighty to be a steady hand on the tiller once Mr. Obama leaves office. No, what this White House wants is someone more tractable, more middle-of-the-road, more biddable. And who is that?

8) Why, Joe Biden, of course. I predict that Mr. Biden is going to get back into this race, and soon — probably right after bad showings by Mrs. Clinton in Iowa and NH, if things go as I expect they will. And there is someone sitting in the wings, someone who checks a lot of desirable Democratic boxes, who would make a perfect running-mate — someone who has been very strangely quiet these past few months: Elizabeth Warren. At this point in this crazy political season, I think an Uncle-Choo-Choo/Fauxcahontas ticket could really have legs for the D’s, and I bet a lot of other people think so too.

Now none of this is particularly original; it’s just a distillation of my own thoughts and of what a lot of other political observers have been suggesting. But it’s what makes the most sense to me at this point, so I thought I’d write it all down.

Peter, no hurry here of course, as there are months to go yet, but I think I’d like a Highland Park 15. Nectar o’ the gods.


  1. Whitewall says

    Well Malcolm, good timing on your part–

    Maybe part of Obama’s vile legacy could be at least one good thing…ridding America of that vile harridan, her Husband as well as Princess Chelsea of Manhattan and their crime family/foundation.

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  2. the one eyed man says

    Allow me to correct you.

    Hillary Clinton will not be indicted. There is no evidence that she committed a crime, and she is not under criminal investigation. Another bright, shiny object whose denouement will be as shocking to conservatives as the Texas grand jury which found nothing wrong with Planned Parenthood, and indicted the video fraudsters instead for felonies punishable by up to twenty years. Oops! Or as shocking as the discovery by the Branch Stupidians that after occupying and destroying federal property, they will be now be spending a good part of their lives living on federal property.

    Iowa is a toss-up, but my guess is that Hillary wins by a margin of 2-3 points. However it could go either way.

    Bernie Sanders will win New Hampshire easily. It’s next door to Vermont.

    Joe Biden will not run for President.

    As the primaries move from the pipsqueak states to ones where the delegates are, Hillary Clinton will beat Sanders soundly, and Sanders will withdraw well before the convention.

    Predicting the Republican race is tricky, but my guess is Cruz/Kasich.

    Hillary Clinton will win a resounding victory in November.

    No need to argue over any of this: we’ll know soon enough. In the fullness of time, the Truth shall be revealed to us all.

    Since you are so confident about your prescience, would you like to increase your bet that Hillary won’t be the Democratic nominee from $85 to an even $100?

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Sure, Pete, whatever. How’s the air up there?

    (Ringing endorsement there, by the way: “there is no evidence that she committed a crime.” I guess with the Clintons, you have to make do.)

    I’m no more or less confident now about my prescience than I was then. We’ve made our bet; I’m fine with it.

    I’ll have the Highland Park 15. In the unlikely event that you are right and I am wrong, what would you like to get?

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  4. Far be it for me to weigh in on the odds of who will win this bet between Malcolm and the OEM. Back in the day, when I was confident that the great society of the American People could be relied upon to do the decent thing, I would not have hesitated to pick Malcolm the odds on favorite. Alas, our once-great society can no longer be relied upon to do the decent thing, let alone the common sensical thing. Americans are catching up to the European idiots who are racing each other to the gates of hell.

    It is absolutely amazing to me that someone like the OEM, whom the very wise Malcolm considers being an intelligent person and personal friend, can be so confident, nay even delighted, to support such a downright felonious scofflaw as the disgusting Hillary Clinton. The abominable Clinton is undoubtedly responsible for the demise of multiple United States government agents and senior diplomats. It is beyond belief, but there it is.

    Is there, finally, not a shred of decency left on the Left?

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm | Permalink
  5. the one eyed man says

    Your choice, Mac. You have three options:

    1) Donate $50 to the Hillary Clinton for President Committee.

    2) Donate $85 to the International Rescue Committee.

    3) Buy yourself a one year subscription to the Economist, and read it.

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Jeez, Pete.

    I thought we had a nice gentlemanly wager here: a bottle of whisky. But no: “the virtue-signalling will continue until morale improves.”

    Oh well. I already read The Economist from time to time. I guess I’ll go with that, if the need arises. (Which, of course, it won’t.)

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink
  7. The one eyed man says

    I gave up hard liquor some time ago, and I don’t want your money. If you abhor the idea of helping refugees, I can come up with a different charity. I gave to the IRC this year – they are a worthy cause helping some of the world’s most desperate people.

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:24 pm | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    I’ll read the magazine, thanks. (More likely, I’ll drink the whisky.)

    Posted January 28, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink
  9. Whitewall says

    Speaking of things dying.. I see Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane has died at 74. They are coming in bunches.

    Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink
  10. Whitewall says

    Henry…”Is there, finally, not a shred of decency left on the Left?” No. There never was any. They exist to accumulate power. With power they destroy. Ultimately they destroy themselves. Principled destruction..in their twisted minds.

    Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  11. A key player in this fascinating game is Mr. James Comey of the FBI. If ‘Ol’ Big Ears’ hesitates to pull the trigger on ‘HillBilly’ then the question arises as to whether Mr. Comey has what it takes to resign and go public given that there appears to be enough evidence around already to prompt a Grand Jury.

    Posted January 29, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink
  12. JK says

    Let’s review:

    Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama.



    Posted January 29, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  13. JK says


    Posted January 29, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Permalink
  14. JK says


    Posted January 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  15. Malcolm says

    Thanks for the links, JK. The foot-dragging until after the primaries is disgraceful, but of course I’d expect nothing less from these people.

    The flouting of the rule of law in this nation has to be approaching some sort of critical threshold, I think. It highlights another fault-line in the American polity — those “boiled frogs” who will just acquiesce to every new affront, and those who will at some point rise up to, as Jefferson put it, “refresh the tree of liberty”.

    That our commenter can so glibly dismiss this security scandal as “another shiny object” is astonishing, even by the Orwellian standards of the postmodern Left. The mere existence of this material on a private server is, one should think, incontrovertible evidence of felonious malfeasance by someone. How can it be otherwise? The stuff is there, and under no imaginable circumstances should it ever have been there.

    Posted January 29, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  16. JK says

    & lastly: (as of this minute – 13 minutes ago posted, “some Friday” huh?


    Posted January 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink
  17. The astonishing Mr. Glibly is positively gleaming with pride that his corrupt administration will not indict his equally corrupt candidate. Mind you, he is not declaring her innocent of wrongdoing; he is taunting us that she will get away with it. What a delightful troll is Mr. Glibly — so full of himself, the POS.

    Posted January 29, 2016 at 7:12 pm | Permalink
  18. Whitewall says

    Since Elizabeth Warren was mentioned above, I saw a piece on the news last night where she-Princess Running Bare-is all worked up about the DOJ not being tough enough on corporate criminals. She hasn’t been heard from in months and now all of a sudden-out she pops in worked up indignation about how…I don’t remember the exact words…nobody should be above the law! Talk about shrewd timing!

    Posted January 30, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  19. Pilgrim says

    Good synopsis of the situation. I was with you until your call on Biden. I think it will be Bloomberg that steps in to “save the day”.

    Posted January 30, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  20. Samuel E. Hancock says

    If you have not yet tried the Balvenie doublewood, it is definitely worth a sip.

    Posted January 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink
  21. Malcolm says


    I thought about that. Bloomberg won’t do, though: he’s too haughty and headstrong, and not “biddable” enough. And like so many other New York politicians, he also would have big problems with electability at the national level. So I think we’ll be seeing Biden.

    Posted January 30, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

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