- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

There is a vexed assortment of Republicans fuming over the FBI’s conclusion that Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server while serving as secretary of state was not a criminal matter. Shoddy, yes; criminal, no. Sen. Marco Rubio is among the critics, and he warns that her actions have collateral damage.

“Hillary Clinton’s actions have sent the worst message to the millions of hard-working federal employees who hold security clearances and are expected to go to great lengths to secure sensitive government information and abide by the rules. They don’t take their oaths lightly, and we shouldn’t expect any less of their leaders,” says the Florida lawmaker.

“Hillary Clinton’s reckless and thoughtless mishandling of classified information is not the end of the story, however. It’s only a matter of time before the next shoe drops and the nexus of corruption and controversy that has surrounded Hillary Clinton throughout her time in public office produces yet another scandal for the American people to endure. Given the consequential and challenging times in which we live, America simply cannot afford anymore Clinton drama,” Mr. Rubio observes.

“Now, more than ever, I believe a special prosecutor is needed in order to assure the American people that politics are not overriding the truth in this case,” suggests Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. “It has become clear that the rules are different for the Clintons than they are for everyday Americans, and that must stop.”

It’s not just the GOP that is annoyed.

“What is particularly sad is that while most of us understood the egregiousness of this situation, we also knew from the beginning that Hillary Clinton was not going to be prosecuted or punished for it,” says Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee. “In essence, Hillary Clinton thinks that she should not be held to the same standards that other Americans are, and our justice system is allowing that to happen. No one should be above the law. This is elitist, tyrannical and completely un-American.”

C-SPANARAMA

The Republican and Democratic national conventions will be monumental and dramatic, generating overwrought coverage from assorted news sources. Then there is C-SPAN, essentially the political network of record, poised to provide live gavel-to-gavel coverage of “every minute” of both events as they unfold, minus the squawking.

The rallies and speeches will be methodically televised, streamed online, broadcast on radio and ultimately archived in the C-SPAN Video Library. The network has been providing such services to the viewing public since 1984, incidentally.

In addition, the popular daily call-in show “Washington Journal” will originate from both conventions, showcasing starry-eyed delegates, frantic reporters, party officials and politicians of many persuasions. Also on the schedule: nifty archival coverage gleaned from conventions dating back to 1948.

The canny, unflappable pointmen in charge of it all: vice president of programming Terry Murphy and political editor Steve Scully, who has managed to cover every convention for C-SPAN since 1992, and has attended every convention since 1980 — a feat to be reckoned with.

THE DRUDGE POLL

Well, that’s a tidy amount: In the last 24 hours, some 300,000 people voted in an online poll created by the Drudge Report that simply asks, “Who should be Trump’s VP?” The survey gave six names as possible running mates for Donald Trump.

Here’re the results, as of Tuesday evening: Newt Gingrich leads with 40 percent of the vote, followed by Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa with 31 percent, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama with 14 percent, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence with 7 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with 5 percent and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee with 1 percent.

THE CLINTON CASH

Some new numbers from Ad Age analyst Simon Dumenco, who pores over the stupefying amounts of money spent by both political parties on broadcast ads during the presidential campaign. Here’s what he found:

Hillary Clinton and pro-Hillary PACs and advocacy groups have spent a cumulative total of $217.3 million on TV and radio ad time — up from $185.1 million in our tally two weeks ago,” says Mr. Dumenco, who expects the amount to surge past $220 million before the Democratic National Convention begins July 25.

“The cumulative total spent by the Donald J. Trump campaign and pro-Trump PACs and advocacy groups on TV and radio is now $24.9 million. The campaign itself accounts for just under $20.7 million of that total,” adds the analyst, who also says seven “anti-Trump” political action groups have spent over $28 million on their ads against the candidate.

NOT PARTICULARLY FREE

When campaigning, Hillary Clinton draws much applause when she takes a walk down the populist lane and promises free stuff. One of her favorite offers is “free Wi-Fi” in public spaces like train stations and airports. Nice idea, but somebody has to pay for it.

“Hillary Clinton fails to mention that this free WiFi falls under her $275 billion net tax increase from unspecified business tax reform,” advises the nonpartisan Americans for Tax Reform. The group traced Mrs. Clinton’s feel-good promises — better infrastructure, free community college — to her published policy documents that clearly state these improvements “will be fully paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.” The bill is a humdinger.

“Nothing is ever as expensive as something our government provides for free,” says Grover Norquist, president of the tax watchdog, which estimates the promises will cost at least $1 trillion in tax hikes. Yes, trillion, with a “T.”

POLL DU JOUR

79 percent of the American public thinks peanut butter is “healthy”; 81 percent of professional nutritionists agree.

71 percent of Americans thinks a granola bar is healthy; 27 percent of professional nutritionists agree.

66 percent of the public thinks frozen yogurt is healthy; 32 percent of nutritionists agree.

63 percent of Americans say steak is healthy; 60 percent of nutritionists agree.

52 percent of Americans say wine is healthy; 70 percent of nutritionists agree.

16 percent of Americans say diet soda is healthy; 18 percent of nutritionists agree.

Source: A New York Times Upshot poll of 2,000 U.S. adults and 672 nutritionists.

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