You would have to be delusional now to not believe that Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of State was nothing more than a vast pay-to-play operation.
That's the only rational conclusion that can be derived from an Associated Press report that opens:
More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money - either personally or through companies or groups - to the Clinton Foundation.
This report comes out at the same time Judicial Watch released 725 pages of new emails from Huma Abedin, Clinton's closest confidante at the State Department, revealing that Abedin "provided influential Clinton Foundation donors special, expedited access to the Secretary of State. In many instances, the preferential treatment provided to donors was at the specific request of Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band."
And this isn't even going into the impropriety of Abedin double-dipping at both State and the Clinton Foundation at the same time, as she operated as a special government employee along with carrying out Clinton Foundation duties.
As for me, I don't want to hear from any of the far-left "open government" types who have made a living whining about money in politics with a particular emphasis on the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision over the past couple of years.
Clinton had a credit-card processing machine on the front door of her State Department office rather than a lock, and like a modern Eva Perón handed out indulgences to those who lavished her with gifts.
But the left should not be shocked that the same family that rented out the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House during their first eight years on Pennsylvania Avenue would engage in this level of brazen pay-for-play. All the while having the poor State Department spokesperson have to admit, "This was simply evidence of the way the process works, in that a secretary of State has aides getting emails or contacts by a broad range of individuals and organizations."
The inadvertent admission that this is exactly how the process works in the Clinton world, where you pay for access and if you can't afford it, you get left behind. A world where extortion becomes the norm, and people who should know better lose their bearings and attempt to cover it up.
And for those in the GOP establishment who cling to their quaint anti-Trump slogans like a life raft, this abject corruption is what you are accepting all because you can't get around the Republican nominee Donald Trump's rough edges.
For the "what difference does it make" crowd, you can no longer credibly claim that Bill Clinton's half million-dollar honorarium (as reported in the New York Times) for a speech in Russia was not tied to the decision that followed shortly thereafter to allow many of the same Russian actors to gain control of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium reserves.
What can anyone on the left say, besides that this is the Clinton way? Anyone suffering under the delusion that they won't be covered by the slime, ooze and corruption that envelops anyone associated with her is out to lunch.
Rick Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.