The mistakes of our leaders

In politics, there are no do-overs

Even our leaders don't get do-overs.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Regrets, I have a few.

I've made some impulsive and boneheaded mistakes in my life that sometimes surface in the wee hours, like Dickensian phantoms, to mock me. (Lately I've been seeing several pre-election covers of The Week that were premised on polls predicting a Trump defeat.) But there are no do-overs in life; we all have to live with — and learn from — our mistakes. There are some people, however, for whom that burden is public, historic, and unimaginably heavy. Consider what some of the losers of the recent election will have to carry for the rest of their days.

In a lovely white Dutch Colonial house in Chappaqua, New York, Hillary Clinton must be replaying her campaign's decision to virtually ignore "safe" Wisconsin and Michigan in the final weeks — states she lost by 0.3 and 1 percent, respectively. She must also be thinking, "If I had just used that damn State Department email address...." And let's spare a thought for Chris Christie, who groveled shamelessly at Trump's feet in hopes of reviving his political career, and was rewarded by being booted out as head of the Trump transition team and denied the Cabinet job he coveted.

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Anthony Weiner deserves no one's pity, but you have to wonder how he lives with himself after his online exhibitionism destroyed his career, marriage, and family, and turned his name into a national sick joke. A fiercely partisan Democrat, Weiner also bears responsibility for sparking the FBI investigation that led Director James Comey to announce, 11 days before the election, that the agency had stumbled upon a new batch of Clinton emails on Weiner's laptop. Did Weiner's penile fixation help elect Donald Trump? One more thing he can think about at 3 a.m.

As for Comey, the voluble G-man has gone utterly silent since he intervened in a presidential election and then said, "Oops, nothing new." It's probably not how Comey hoped history would remember him. But even the head of the FBI doesn't get a do-over.

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