What’s Wrong With Hillary? One Big Problem Is All Her Lying

Bush and Hillary Clinton

Jeff Greenfield has an article at Politico which asks the question, What’s Wrong With Hillary? It is subtitled, The GOP is fretting about Trump, but the Democrats’ likely standard-bearer could do just as much damage to her own party.

Problems include her conservative viewpoints on many issues, her changing of positions based upon political expediency, and her lying.

Greenfield discussed how Clinton is not trusted by the voters, including many Democrats. There is also a unique pattern to her shifts in position:

A look at Clinton’s political career provides a tougher explanation. Those younger voters who doubt her trustworthiness likely have no memory, or even casual acquaintance with, a 25-year history that includes cattle-futures trading, law firm billing records, muddled sniper fire recollections and the countless other charges of widely varying credibility aimed at her. They may even have suspended judgment about whether her e-mail use was a matter of bad judgment or worse.

But when you look at the positions she has taken on some of the most significant public policy questions of her time, you cannot escape noticing one key pattern: She has always embraced the politically popular stand—indeed, she has gone out of her way to reinforce that stand—and she has shifted her ground in a way that perfectly correlates with the shifts in public opinion.

For instance: Many Democrats, including all of the major 2008 presidential candidates save for Barack Obama, stood with President George W. Bush and voted for the authorization to use force against Saddam Hussein. What was different about Clinton, however, was that in her October 2002 speech she said this about Saddam: “He has also given aid, comfort and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.”

This assertion, in the words of reporters Don Van Natta Jr. and Jeff Gerth, was unsupported by the conclusions of the National Intelligence Estimate “and other secret intelligence reports that were available to senators before the vote.” It made for a more muscular talking point; it just happened not to be true.

Or consider her “evolution” on gay marriage. Back in June 2014, Clinton got very testy with “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross, who kept pushing Clinton to explain why this shift was not a matter of political calculation. She repeatedly asked the former secretary of state whether her opinion on gay marriage had changed, or whether the political dynamics had shifted enough that she could express her opinion.

“I’m just trying to clarify so I can understand …” Gross began.

“No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify,” Clinton snapped back. “I think you’re trying to say I used to be opposed and now I’m in favor and I did it for political reasons, and that’s just flat wrong. So let me just state what I feel like you are implying and repudiate it. I have a strong record, I have a great commitment to this issue.”

Well, here’s what Clinton said on the Senate floor, speaking in opposition to a constitutional amendment that would have forbidden gay marriage, while making very clear where she stood on the issue.

“I believe marriage is not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman. … So I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman, going back into the mists of history as one of the founding, foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization.”

Again, plenty of Democrats were on record as opposing gay marriage in 2004—the year that voters in 11 states voted to ban the practice by significant margins. What’s striking about Clinton’s speech is the intensity of the language, the assertion that it is a “bedrock principle.” You might think that a conviction so strongly held would not be subject to “evolution,” much less shifting political winds. Not so, apparently—any more than a trade deal can be the “gold standard” one year and an unacceptable threat to American workers the next; or that a generation of potential “super predators” requires draconian crime laws one decade, while the next demands an end to such laws.

Clinton’s dishonesty on matters of public policy, especially questions of war or peace, is most troubling, but as we are in the midst of a political campaign, her dishonest attacks on Sanders are the ones which currently stand out. James Hohmann described many of her lies during the debate in Miami, when she tried to make it sound like Sanders simultaneously was aligned with both Castro and the Koch Brothers. He summed up her strategy:

There is a tactic in high school debate called “the spread.” It’s when you throw out so many arguments that your opponent cannot possibly respond to all of them, especially with the limited time they have to speak. It’s especially effective when your arguments are just off the wall enough that the other side has not prepared responses ahead of time. Then, when you get a chance to respond to their refutation, you zero in on whatever they “dropped” and hammer them for it, spinning the judges on why it is crucially important to the broader topic being debated. It felt like Clinton was trying to do just that last night. Alas, this is not a high school debate tournament and the winner is not determined by points or on what competitive debaters refer to as “the flow.”

Clinton was also exposed for what appears to be violating debate rules, as Donald Trump has also done, by meeting with staff during a break in the debates.

It doesn’t even appear to be working for Clinton to lie at the debates. Her false claims about Sanders’ record on the auto bailout backfired, possibly helping him win Michigan. The New York Times, which has endorsed Clinton for the Democratic nomination, chastised her for her dishonesty:

Even with a double-digit lead before the primary, she failed to avoid the type of negative tactics that could damage her in the long haul. A new Washington Post-ABC poll says that nationally, Mrs. Clinton’s margin over Bernie Sanders has shrunk: she polls at 49 percent compared with 42 percent for Mr. Sanders; in January her lead was more than double that. If she hopes to unify Democrats as the nominee, trying to tarnish Mr. Sanders as she did in Michigan this week is not the way to go.

Mrs. Clinton’s falsely parsing Mr. Sanders’s Senate vote on a 2008 recession-related bailout bill as abandoning the auto industry rescue hurt her credibility. As soon as she uttered it in Sunday’s debate, the Democratic strategist David Axelrod registered his dismay, tweeting that the Senate vote wasn’t explicitly a vote about saving the auto industry. Even as reporters challenged her claim, she doubled down in ads across the state. As The Washington Post noted, “it seems like she’s willing to take the gamble that fact-checkers may call her out for her tactic Sunday — but that voters won’t.”

…The Clinton machine should stop trying to tie Mr. Sanders to the National Rifle Association. Though Mr. Sanders has a D-minus from the N.R.A., in Michigan Mrs. Clinton’s operatives took to Twitter touting the N.R.A.’s tweets supporting Mr. Sanders’s statement that making manufacturers liable for gun violence would destroy gun manufacturing in America. On Tuesday, her campaign issued a news release saying that the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, two African-American shooting victims, “are speaking out about Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on guns and African-Americans in Sunday’s Democratic primary debate.” Mr. Sanders, like Mrs. Clinton, has spent decades working against racial discrimination, poverty and gun violence. To suggest otherwise is wrong.

The question is whether both the negative impression of Clinton, and the support Sanders has received, will carry through to this week’s primaries. The latest polls show that Sanders can pull additional upsets like in Michigan. If Clinton winds up with a string of losses outside of the red states, even the super delegates from the party establishment might start to question the wisdom of nominating her.

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12 Comments

  1. 1
    jsrtheta says:

    Hey, congratulations! You've bought into every lie about Hillary ever told!

    For being as gullible as a 3-year-old, you should get something, I should think…Oh yea, I got it. A time out.

    For not doing your homework.

    I expect this crap from Fox and the Washington Times. And Regnery. I don't expect it from supposed progressives. What's next? FDR knew about Pearl harbor in advance?

     

  2. 2
    Elayne Johnson says:

    I'm just glad to see the media finally giving Bernie Sanders the recognition he has earned and so richly deserves.  The way I see it is this:  If your life is relatively comfortable and you enjoy a normal and decent amount of financial security, then, yes, Hillary is your girl.  The continuation of the Obama administration policies and practices, if they haven't hurt you in the last seven plus years, won't hurt you going forward either.  Her strategy will be business as usual, which means trade agreements, tax cuts for the rich, tax exemptions for Wall Street and her pet corporations such as the insurance industry, pharmaceuticals, and oil & gas exploration/fracking.  These companies will continue to be subsidized by government, even though they need it less than anyone on the planet, as will be every foreign country where they think there might be a drop of oil or people who really need a good dose of Democracy – for their own good, of course.  Deregulation will continue with our environment, and more laws will be made holding the polluting offenders harmless and unable to be prosecuted.  The frackers are not required to list the chemicals in the water they inject into the ground which will, at some point, contaminate the major aquifers  that are our biggest and best sources of fresh water.  Obama made new regulations for Wall Street, but as yet none of them have been enforced nor any perpetrator charged with a crime.  Wells Fargo has been laundering Cartel drug money for decades, and all they ever get is fined.

    If, on the other hand, you are one of the hundreds of thousands – perhaps millions – of people who have been relegated to the fringes of society and are forced to live on Social Security, minimum wages, or any other form of institutionalized bondage, you're basically screwed for another eight years if Bernie Sanders doesn't get the nomination.  It may sound trite, and we've been accused of believing in fairy tales,  but for the first time in my 62 years, I'm truly hearing the voice of someone who is not only in my corner, he actually understands what millions of us face on a daily basis – the constant stress of being unable to meet obligations, the domestic terror of Congress continually threatening to take away the only source of survival, having medical insurance that, really, is only good for office visits and prescriptions (don't even THINK about needing any kind of surgery because you won't be able to afford your 20%) and doesn't include vision or dental.  Oh, they offer them…at a price.  And yes, it's relatively inexpensive – the operative word being relatively – because your Social Security checks are basically what you were making 30 years ago.  And then comes that ridiculous letter telling you that the cost of living did not increase the previous year, therefore no increases are forthcoming, but when you get the first check for the new year, you see it's $10 less a month than the year before. I guess there's a penalty for poor people when the cost of living stays the same.  And during all of this, you watch – stupefied – as billionaires get another tax cut, take out another government "farm" loan, get everything for free, don't pay interest rates, dodge taxes, and publicly berate you as "mooch", "deadbeat", "lazy", "druggie" and accuse you of "bad decision making", "not working hard enough", "choosing poverty as a lifestyle"and, basically, convincing the entire country of your worthlessness  and insignificance.

    If that doesn't make you want to run right out and buy a flag to wave, GOOD.

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    Elayne, I sympathize with the financial importance of Sanders as opposed to Clinton winning for you but have to disagree with “If your life is relatively comfortable and you enjoy a normal and decent amount of financial security, then, yes, Hillary is your girl.” Despite having considerable financial security, Hillary is not my girl. I prefer to see the end of perpetual warfare, reform of the surveillance state, hopefully an end to the drug war, and many other areas where Sanders would be preferable–including, but limited to, restoration of the middle class.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    jsrtheta, when you support a corrupt, right wing candidate like Hillary Clinton, this is what you can expect from the progressive media. Pretending the criticism of Clinton is all a right wing conspiracy doesn’t change the facts.

  5. 5
    Rob says:

    jsrtheta when you can't refute the facts attack the person. It's call ad hominem, look it up.

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    Rob, that is quite typical of the Clinton supporters. They follow the lead of the Clinton campaign in denying any wrong doing and attacking those who bring up facts against them. This culture is one of many reasons I would hate to see Clinton be the nominee.

  7. 7
    Mike Hatcher says:

    On the more comedic side of things. Huffington Post has reported (I believe their source is the UK daily mail) that Will Quigg has switched from endorsing Trump to endorsing Hillary.  Quigg "claims" to believe Hillary is great because she would govern in the exact opposite way in which she says she would govern. I wonder how many times the media is going to ask her to disavow his endorsement.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    Comedic side is right. I would not hold his claims against Clinton.

  9. 9
    JimZ says:

    Under a Clinton administration, how long before we see another betrayal of Social Security (look closely at what she has actually said on the subject)?

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    I think there are many areas where we would probably move to the right if Clinton is elected based upon a combination of things she has said and the manner in which Bill triangulated and compromised with Republicans.

  11. 11
    Mike Hatcher says:

    While speaking of moving left or right. (And setting aside the glaring character flaws of the candidates for the moment) I found an interesting comment from one strategist that said in a general election if it was Hillary vs. Trump, that Trump would likely try to tack to the left of Clinton. In a race were neither of those two seem to mind saying anything they think voters want to hear, it isn't hard to imagine Trump pandering to the Left while Hillary panders to the right during a general.

  12. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    It could happen. Eight years ago, Clinton called herself a pro-gun church goer, and certainly has taken conservative positions on plenty of issues.

    Trump has taken liberal positions in the past. If we go back to before he started with the birtherism and climate change denialsim, a strong argument could have been made that he was to the left of Clinton. I don’t know how far towards the left he can get away with now.

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