The Matriculation Scandal

August 25, 2016 § 1 Comment

The Baseless Claims 

I am disgusted to watch panel after panel of commentators pompously discussing how awful this week is for Hillary Clinton.  It is now known that a significant number of people who had access to her while she was Secretary of State were contributors to the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit foundation established by the Clintons.  The Foundation has done exemplary work in several countries and has raised millions of dollars to finance that work.

There is no claim or evidence that the Clintons received one penny of money from the Foundation.  In fact their latest tax return shows that they contributed one million dollars of their money to the Foundation.  There is no claim or evidence that any contributor to the Foundation received any improper benefit from the government because of their contribution.  So the basis of this faux “perception problem” is that there was something wrong for Hillary Clinton to confer with contributors to the Foundation.

No one I have watched has mentioned the fact that public officials granting access to people who have contributed to a foundation established and identified with them is entirely legal.  Elected officials routinely grant access to large contributors to their campaigns for election or reelection.  That is not illegal and, until now, has never been regarded as improper or as creating a “perception problem”.

The Political Lynching of Homer P. Rainey

So, as my anger and disgust mounted as this absurd cannard has gained more and more TV air time, I recalled an old and dusty item from my political attic.  It concerns a race for governor in Texas that occurred in 1946, when I was 15 years old.  I paid no attention to it at the time but, six years later when I became involved in politics and began hanging out with old political scarred up guys and listened to their many tales of past political fracases, I heard about another political victim of ignorance and dishonesty.

His name was Homer P. Rainey, a Baptist minister and accomplished veteran college administrator who, in the mid-1940’s was President of the University of Texas.  He objected when some of the regents sought to disparage and fire some professors because they expressed support for things like minimum wage and one English Professor who had a suggested, but not required, reading list that included John Dos Passos’ novel, USA.  The regents did not go through with all of their proposed firings, but reacted to Rainey’s opposition by firing him.

Rainey reacted by running for Governor of Texas.  Texas was a one-party state so the contest was between Rainey, Beauford Jester, an incumbent member of the Railroad Commission, and twelve other candidates, some serious and most not.  During the First Primary, a South Texas lawyer who supported Jester, traveled around Texas making speeches to gatherings of local residents.  He would don gloves and, using a pair of tongs, grip Dos Passos’ novel and declare it so filthy that he would not touch it.  He would read from some passages that contained curse words or sexual references and then accuse Rainey of corrupting the morals of innocent youths at UT.

He had another arrow in his quiver of  political dishonesty.  And this one was what reminded me of the present kerfuffle.  Switching to his most commanding and distraught tone, he would also declare something like this:  “And, my friends, that isn’t all that this immoral man was involved in.  He was known to be involved in matriculation!”

As he well knew few if any members of his audience had a clue about what “matriculation” meant, but his tone and facial expression was enough to convince them that the Baptist preacher he was talking about was guilty of some unmentionably horrible practice.

The political dishonesty worked.  Rainey  and Jester wound up in a Runoff and Rainey was soundly defeated.

Conclusion

That is the kind of appeal to ignorance that is going on now.  It is hard to decide who is more blameworthy, the demagogue who is spouting hateful nonsense, the reporters and commentators who spread it or the gullible people who gorge on it.

 

 

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§ One Response to The Matriculation Scandal

  • Sid says:

    Hi Bob, and thanks for addressing this issue. Aside from what you mention, there are other issues. The AP story is a prime example of what someone once said about ‘lies, damn lies, and statistics”. The cherry picked numbers should raise suspicion in anyone, not just Clinton supporters. The implication is that Hilary met with something like 160 people in the entire period, of which ‘over half’ were donors to the CGF. Of course that’s not true, and the AP ‘splains’ why and how they got such a small number that became the denominator of thier stat… By excluding thousands of other meetings! Matriculation, I tell you, and it must be stopped!

    Beyond that, the AP offers no total number of people who during the same period of time donated to the CGF that would contextualize the number they say did. One would assume that that number would be in the thousands, so that would mean that only a small fraction of the total donor pool went on to meet with Hilary… But this matriculation absolutely must stop, and NOW I tell you!

    Due to the above, and the many other things wrong with the article, I cannot overstate my disappointment that the AP, of all organizations, would become a willing contributor to the vast right wing conspiracy that has convinced a large chunk of the American populace, including the Bernie Bros, that Hilary is the antichrist and consumes newborns in single bites…. But such is life, and matriculation will never end.

    Be well

    Like

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