Bill Clinton is an Unusually Good Liar and Hillary is No Slouch
April 14, 2008 -- politically speaking, that was eons ago. New York Magazine ran an article by Kurt Andersen about Bill Clinton titled "Falling Out of Love with Bill." It began by focusing on one of the former president's most visible attributes: he's a consummate liar:
Bill Clinton is our great living exemplar of Sam Goldwyn's great epigram: If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made. The joke, of course, is that sincerity is supposed to be more or less synonymous with honesty-truthfulness with a buttery frosting of earnestness. And although the honesty we want our presidents to embody isn't merely (or even mainly) the literal Jimmy Carter kind ("I will never lie to you"), it's an important part of the package.
Telling the truth, or not, has turned out to be a leitmotif of this election. "[Bill] Clinton's an unusually good liar," his fellow Democrat (and Hillary endorser) Bob Kerrey said of the president back around the time the First Lady was visiting postwar Bosnia. Thanks to the news footage of her unremarkable, sniper-free landing on the tarmac in Tuzla, we now know that Hillary Clinton is an equally brazen but unusually bad liar. (And her gratuitous fibbing has also served to turn one of her husband's most significant accomplishments, imposing peace on the former Yugoslavia, into a setup for a joke.)
At the time, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were engaged in a slugfest as they vied for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Even so, Hillary's name came up in the article merely to contrast her inability to use deception skillfully with her husband's artful lying. But practice makes perfect. After serving for four years as secretary of state, Hillary may not be as good a liar as Bill, but she's no slouch, either.
Hillary's ability to lie and get away with it was on display during the Benghazi hearing in the Senate as Jack Cashill pointed out in an article for American Thinker:
By 2012, the major media had become so comfortable with Clinton lies that not a single one among them pointed out the grotesque irony of having an unrepentant sexual predator keynote a Democratic Convention whose theme was the "Republican war on women."
So accustomed had Hillary grown to having her lies glossed over that she grew increasingly indignant even at the timid questions Congress threw her way at last week's Benghazi hearing. When asked by Senator Ron Johnson about her version of events, Hillary exploded in an outburst destined to be at least as famous as her "vast right wing conspiracy" jeremiad.
Said Hillary, summing up the state of public integrity in 2013, "What difference at this point does it make?" Say what you will, but today, that is a legitimate question.
Cashill is probably right about Hillary's "What difference at this point does it make?" line going down in history as one of her most famous lies, but I think she outdid herself yesterday during her farewell address to state department staff. She said, "I am so grateful that we've had a chance to contribute in each of our ways to making our country and our world stronger, safer, fairer and better."
That's not true. To believe otherwise, is delusional. The world isn't stronger, safer, fairer, or better, and Hillary played an important part during her eight years as first lady and her four years as secretary of state to help bring about what we see today. For example,
- Europe is coming unglued.
- The Middle East is degenerating into violent madness.
- Al Qaeda is taking over North Africa.
- Iran is on the verge of becoming a serious nuclear threat.
- The U.S. is morally bankrupt and stalled in a fiscal quagmire from which it cannot extricate itself.
- China is flexing its muscles in the Pacific.
Hillary isn't solely responsible for our predicament, but as I said, she played an important part in making it happen. Never fear, though. The Obama administration won't miss a beat because John Kerry, Hillary's successor at the Department of State, is an accomplished liar, too, and so is his boss. The world is still "safe."
Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.