For a politician, credibility is everything.
From the very get-go, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has been seriously lacking in that department, and the scathing FBI report Tuesday on her indiscriminate use of a private email server during her stint as secretary of state (and subsequent lying about the entire affair) has pretty much dealt the final death blow to any chance of her winning the Honest Abe Award for 2016.
True, FBI Director James Comey, in a very carefully worded statement, said that his bureau felt that no criminal charges were “appropriate” in her particular case, but then he went on to enumerate, one-by-one, all the ways she violated (unintentionally or otherwise) U.S. law and endangered national security by using her personal email server for official business.
Clinton eeked through unscathed by legal prosecution, but that doesn’t help her close her credibility gap with the voting public.
Not known for his gentlemanly discretion, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has already ranted his catch phrase of “Crooked Hillary” ad nauseam to all his supporters and virtually every media outlet, has jumped on the opportunity to crucify his opponent even further with this ready-made attack ad.
And, in truth, Comey’s underhanded approval of her irresponsible behavior reaffirms the Clinton legacy of being “above the law” in the minds of many of her detractors.
It will be hard for Hillary — even with the public endorsement and (damage-control) blitzkrieging by President Barrack Obama — to win back credibility among voters at this stage in the campaign.
But she does have one saving grace when it comes to the Nov. 8 vote that might just win her the election by the American people: the prospect of the only alternative.