Can any adult who lived through the 1990’s say with a straight face they are surprised in any way by recent revelations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to make her own rules when it came to email traffic associated with her official position?  It certainly has a familiar ring to it.  The combination of defying anything resembling what is required for the rest of us mere mortals, and then being righteously indignant when the behavior comes to light, is standard operating procedure for the Clintons.

The predictability of how all of this will evolve must be somewhat of a bore to the Clinton family and their staunch supporters, even if it does involve some personal suffering and pain, and maddening to those who always hold the hope that America will come to its senses and say:  Enough already.

You might be tempted to think of the evolution in phases as though first one thing happens, then the next.  It would be more accurate to say different elements of the defense are emphasized at different points in the process.

First, is the “there is nothing here” emphasis.  Using what is at best tortured logic, the argument is that there really is no story—unless you are part of the group who is determined to attack and bring down the Royal Family.  Those files under subpoena for years?  “Honey, here they are on a coffee table right here in the White House.  Why didn’t we think to look there earlier?”  Thousands of FBI files of only Republicans finding their way to the Clinton White House?  “Can’t seem to find out who asked for them in the first place, but there was never any intention to do anything wrong, so forget about it.”

In the instance of the emails of the former Secretary, it is more of the same.  “Nothing was done wrong.  As a matter of convenience, a particular approach was taken that was okay and nothing bad happened, so let’s talk about the real issues….”

Next comes the “we have done everything possible to assure that what should be released to the public and various authorities has been released.  Countless files have been turned over to fill in the blank.”  Never mind that only they know what has not been turned over.  Never mind that only they know what has been deleted.  “Surely we can all agree that only those with the ambition of ruining the Clintons, those who have been engaged in the politics of destruction for more than two decades see any need to go beyond what the Clintons have voluntarily turned over…”  The demand is to trust a family whose repeated behavior begs for quite the opposite.  Not only that, but “voluntarily” is not the proper term for any of this.  The law requires Mrs. Clinton to turn over the information and to account fully for anything she has deemed private.

What happens next is my very favorite Clintonian tactic.  As you emphasize what you have turned over, you drag your heels on doing anything more while simultaneously decrying how long the matter has been going on.  Can anyone forget the extraordinary steps taken to not release information during Monicagate (blue dress anyone?) while constantly saying “x months or years of this investigation is more than enough time.  The American public wants to move along….”  Of course the American public does want to move along, and we could do it a lot quicker if, just once, the Clintons actually cooperated and allowed independent third parties to decide if the violation is in need of being changed.  Don’t hold your breath.

Does anyone want to bet how long it will be until the defenders of all things Clinton go into a rage over Speaker Boehner’s call for Mrs. Clinton to turn over her server to an independent third party?  You can wage every penny in your retirement fund without fear in predicting that anyone who dares to question what the Clintons have decided to do will be someone who is attacked with a vengeance that is unique to the Clinton operation.  James Carville, an individual who I hold in high respect and consider to be one of the truly decent and nice people in the political business has a blind spot on this stuff.  When it was Paula Jones making public her experiences with Bill Clinton, James quaintly described her as “trailer park trash.”  Wowser.  It will happen again.

Finally, there is the victory lap.  You are the first President of the United States to be impeached since Andrew Johnson.  What to do?  Why you hold a rally at the White House where your supporters discuss how proud they are to be part of those who refuse to yield to partisanship….

That victory lap is probably inevitable in this most recent episode.  The Clintons will dig in their heels.  They will execute all the predictable behaviors, almost from rote memory.  There will be so much ducking and weaving and shifting of the discussion, lines will get drawn—ones that usually work to their political benefit—that it will no longer be a matter of whether Mrs. Clinton did or did not follow the law, did or did not properly handle her responsibilities.  It will undoubtedly become a debate about who do you like (or dislike) the most—the Clintons or those who refuse to let the matter die.  History tells us this is a debate the Clintons may not relish, but it is one where they are undefeated.

Do yourself a favor.  Don’t bet we will ever have an independent review of the emails in question.  Do yourself a second favor.  Don’t bet against the Clintons.  This Republican has watched this movie too many times to think this will result in my plea:  Enough already.