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The Long, Slow Death of the Rule of Law

By Troy Senik, Orange County Register - August 27, 2015

The most disturbing aspect of the scandal around Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state is not the former first lady’s penchant for secrecy. In fact, we all ought to be a little taken aback that Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers are declining as a result of that storyline. It boggles the mind to imagine that, after a quarter-century, there’s a slice of the electorate just now coming to the realization that she is not a terribly forthcoming politician.

What’s truly unsettling is that it has been widely taken as read among both the media and the general public that Mrs. Clinton will likely avoid serious legal consequences for her behavior because the Justice Department is ultimately answerable to President Obama – and Democrats will not use the instruments of government to destroy one of their own. Whether that eventually proves true, the sentiment itself reveals a troubling trend in American politics.

While it’s far from unheard of for public officials to apply less-exacting standards to their partisan allies, it’s unnerving that the segments of society charged with keeping those officials in check – namely, the media and the voters – now regard such lack of principle as so unremarkable that it barely merits mention. We have transformed into a country in which it’s difficult to imagine precisely what kind of official malfeasance would be met with more than a shrug of the shoulders.

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