The FBI and Department of Justice decision not to indict Hillary Clinton over her email scandal has presented the Republican Party leadership with a tremendous political and public relations opportunity.
So far, they're blowing it.
Thursday the House Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee grilled FBI Director James Comey, with some of the GOP committee members expressing their outrage at Comey's decision not to indict. Other Republicans during the hearing attempted to reveal new facts and other details about the case in an ersatz trial. Both of those responses are way off the mark if the GOP really wants to find a way to win on this story now and in November. But only a bunch of career politicians and Washington insiders would fail to recognize this opportunity for what it is and act on it. This is a great chance to remind the voters that in this rare case, they are finally the ones who will render the ultimate and most effective judgment.
Let's be clear, there is only one judgment Hillary Clinton and her supporters care about and that's the judgment the voters are going to make on November 8th. Losing the election, especially against someone like Donald Trump, would be the worst possible punishment for Clinton for this or any other misdeeds. It would also be a stern rebuke to President Barack Obama for any and all favoritism he and his administration have shown to Clinton before and during this election. In this case, the voters will certainly have more power to come to and enforce a verdict than any law enforcement agency.
Now let's talk about which voters we're talking about here. We know hard core Democrats are almost completely discarding the email scandal and certainly aren't outraged by Director Comey's decision. And that's fine, because hard core Democrats are never going to vote for Trump or down-ticket Republicans anyway. But what about a still somewhat-divided Republican voter base and the all-important 15 percent to 20 percent of American voters who are either undecided or could realistically change their minds in this election? If you were a Republican candidate for office, what's your best option? Is it a) holding more hearings and carrying out more investigations or b) telling the Republican base and all the undecided voters who can still be persuaded that THEY have the power to decide and end this email scandal matter once and for all. Spoiler alert! The answer is b.