If the Trump campaign had a #3 theme, after "Make America great again!" and "Build the wall!", it was "Lock her up!" Republicans have been accusing the Clintons of various crimes for many decades, but only The Donald has managed to make it stick, albeit only in the popular mind. Millions of ecstatic Americans are now measuring Hillary for an orange jumpsuit.
Comes now this distressing news:
President-elect Donald Trump won’t subject Hillary Clinton to a criminal inquiry — instead, he’ll help her heal, his spokeswoman said Tuesday.
As Americans, we have a cultural expectation of personal justice. A crime has a human perpetrator who ought to pay the price, and a human victim who ideally would receive compensation if possible. That's why we feel that prison, or at least court, is the appropriate next destination for Hillary Clinton: her email escapades meet the apparent legal definition of felonies, not to mention the pay-for-play corruption of the Clinton Foundation, so it's appropriate for a judge and jury to decide the truth.
When you're the President, though, you have larger interests at work. Sad to say, there are many situations where letting one scofflaw go free of the just recompense of their deeds pays off in ways far more important to far more people.
Donald Trump is, if nothing else, master of "The Art of the Deal." Fundamental to his way of doing business is going into a negotiation with an extreme position, but fully prepared to negotiate his way down and meet somewhere in the middle, usually a bit to his side.
What more extreme position could there be than locking up his defeated opponent? As a policy, this may be just, but it's also desperately threatening to a great many people, which is what makes it such a spectacular negotiating opener.
We know that President-elect Trump has spent his President-elect-cy hosting an endless stream of luminaries from the political and business world, some of whom will staff his administration and some not. This cavalcade includes Democrats, independents, establishment Republicans, Tea-Party Republicans, and even some so conservative that the mainstream Republicans have disowned them.
Is it too hard to imagine that, buried somewhere in the parade, was a representative of Hillary Clinton seeking a deal to keep her out of jail? Surely Crooked Hillary is all too aware that President Trump could lock her up if he really put his mind to it.
What does Hillary have to offer in return? Quite a lot, actually: She could promise that both herself and her husband will retire from public life effective immediately - indeed, her participation in Jill Stein's recount plans suggests positioning for a heavy-duty negotiation with Trump.
Or, she might be able to promise cooperation on some of Mr. Trump's agenda, that portion which mainstream Democrats might be able to stomach if a Clinton says it's OK.
Better: Clinton could rat out the entire rest of the corrupt political establishment of both parties. You think she wouldn't, if that was the price of her freedom? She certainly has the goods on just about everyone.
And what rational President would reject that deal? After all, what's more important: putting away one elderly corruptocrat, or draining the entire swamp at one go?
We know that Mr. Trump is always willing to make a deal if it looks to be in the best interests of his organization - which, as of January 20, is The United States of America. Let's hope he makes the best possible deal for all of us.
But there's another element to the Way of Trump, and that's an ability to think outside of the box. His campaign, start to finish, is a spectacular example of the power of that strategy.
The fate of Hillary Clinton, too, presents extraboxish aspects, and just maybe we can see a sign of them from a peek at the Trump Tower guest list.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was in New York City on Thursday for meetings at President-elect Donald Trump's Fifth Avenue skyscraper, according to a spokesman.
Rutledge, a Republican, appeared on several television talk shows during the general election campaign to support Trump. In addition to touting Trump's claims that he would bring jobs to the U.S., Rutledge accused his opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton, of attempting to discredit women who accused her husband, former President Bill Clinton, of sexual assault while he was governor of Arkansas.
What could Ms. Rutledge be doing there? She was elected to her current office not even two years ago, which is really too soon to be angling for a promotion if your name is not Barack Hussein Obama.
But she is barely 40 years old; she could have a decades-long political career ahead of her if she plays her cards right. What card from the backwoods of Arkansas might be of value to Donald Trump, do you suppose?
The answer is not hard to find: The Clinton Foundation has offices in New York state, and also in Arkansas.
The presence of that office gives the Arkansas Attorney General both power and standing to investigate fraud and corruption - to subpoena records, to interrogate witnesses, to seat grand juries, and all the rest of the tools of justice. If Ms. Rutledge puts Hillary away, the sky's the limit for her future. Who knows, she might even manage to become our First Woman President!
And the beauty of this is - President Donald Trump need have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this. His hands can be entirely clean; his promises to Hillary kept in full. After all, the federal President has no power to quash a state criminal investigation, nor even the ability without causing an enormous and administration-destroying scandal.
All he has to do - and all he can do - is simply to allow the FBI to share all of its evidence with the Arkansas authorities when they ask for it. Which the FBI routinely does anyway.
The Trump campaign promised to "lock her up!" Never did he say it would be in a federal penitentiary. Go get her, Ms. Rutledge! It's for the sisterhood!
Over the past five years, the editors have been secretly working on a book that summarizes the fundamental viewpoints of Scragged.