NOLAN FINLEY

Finley: Meanwhile, there’s WikiLeaks

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

Republicans must be kicking their own fannies up and down the street this week, and not only because their presidential nominee has gone full Lonesome Rhodes.

The WikiLeaks releases of Hillary Clinton’s speech transcripts and campaign staff emails has surely driven home what an opportunity they’ve lost.

The emails depict a duplicitous campaign, contemptuous of the electorate whose vote it seeks driven to win by any means necessary campaign.

Up against any other candidate, Clinton would be on her heels at a critical point in the election season. But she’s facing Donald Trump, and so the damaging revelations aren’t being heard above the atrocious noise coming out of the GOP nominee’s mouth.

There are no knock-out punches in the releases, but rather a series of sharp jabs that hit Clinton where she is most vulnerable: trust.

Clinton suggests her principles are malleable, easily reshaped to please different audiences. Her campaign pledge to chase the money-changers from the temple becomes a welcome mat when she stands before a Wall Street audience. Bernie Sanders backers might have resumed their rebellion if they weren’t so distracted by Trump’s groping escapades.

The emails are a window into the Clinton culture, and how willing the campaign is to game the system and cut ethical corners to gain an advantage.

We learn of its attempt to pressure Illinois officials to move back the state’s March primary by a month to make it harder for a moderate Republican to win the nomination.

That push came with the assurance from Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook that, “The Clintons won’t forget what their friends have done for them.”

That’s for sure. During the primaries, according to the email releases, Donna Brazile, who was working as a CNN commentator, gave the Clinton campaign a heads-up on the questions she’d receive at a town hall with Sanders. Brazile now chairs the Democratic National Committee.

Claims that the media is all-in for Clinton are boosted by the leaks. In just one example, New York Times reporter and CNBC anchor John Harwood offers tips on other candidates to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Harwood boasts of hitting Trump with the debate zinger, “are you running a comic book campaign?”

Most damaging to Clinton — or would be in a normal race —is the exposure of her elitism. By her own admission, only childhood memory connects her to mainstream America.

Her basket of deplorables expands to include “needy Hispanics,” southern rednecks, and churchgoers; Podesta endorses dreams of a “Catholic Spring” to convert the faithful to Democratic doctrine.

Other presidential campaigns most certainly had such skeletons in their unexamined closets. But Clinton’s have been made public, and that’s when they do damage.

So even as Trump’s collapses, Clinton doesn’t rise, as evidenced by last week’s Detroit News/WDIV-TV poll.

This was the best chance Republicans may ever have of reclaiming the White House. And they squandered it on Trump. They earned the self-inflicted butt kicking.

Nolan Finley’s book “A Little Red Hen: A Collection of Columns from Detroit’s Conservative Voice” is available from Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

nfinley@detroitnews.com