Hillary: Smug as a Bug After First Debate

Hillary Clinton is a woman who enjoys hovering above the law and hitting below the belt.  In the first presidential debate, she stood smugly behind the lectern in a bright red pants suit, grinning like a Cheshire cat.   It’s not uncommon to see liberals display a phony smile while those with whom they disagree are speaking.  It’s a sign of disrespect, of course, that masquerades as a gesture of good will. 

With some help from the moderator, the debate questions to Trump were lighter on policy issues than they were on personal ones. By now, he should recognize that his “assignment” for the remaining debates will -- or should -- be to quickly pivot back to what matters to the American people. 

Such verbal quickstepping is a lot easier for the Clintons, who have been political power players for over four decades.  Long seeped in the scalding water of politics, Hill and Bill have grown adept at withstanding both the heat and the scandal.  Over the years, they have also massaged methods of deflecting scrutiny from themselves and onto their opponents.

Teflon seems to be a natural component of the Clintons’ DNA, enabling them to resist a level of rebuke that might have devastated the careers of other politicians.  But their longevity is less a matter of magic than of motivation.  Through practice and chicanery, they have managed to extricate themselves from difficulties by digging out – and then dishing -- the dirt of others.

 For over more than a quarter of a century, this controlling couple has mastered the alchemy of burrowing into the pasts of adversaries in order to unearth anything that might be used against them.  To this end, they have no doubt assigned some eager campaign aides to work the graveyard swing shift.  And evidence has shown that when the Clintons get shifty, their enemies swing. 

Still, there’s a discernible irony in their use of such tactics.  The Clintons have long been riddled by scandal -- from Bill’s bimbos to Hill’s Benghazi bloodshed. Yet while they and their minions consider it entirely appropriate to bring up the long-ago missteps of their opponents – e.g. Trump’s Miss Universe flap  from 20 years ago -- they emphatically insist that any  scandal of theirs that came to light over a week ago is “old news.”  So when one dares to allude to Hillary’s actions (or inactions) in Libya or to her circumventing the rules with her private server, she glibly states that such incidents have been officially resolved -- and the door to further inquiry firmly shut.

How often have we heard Hillary refer to her interminable “eleven hours” before a Congressional committee investigating Benghazi as proof that the matter is settled and no longer relevant?  Or how often has she interpreted FBI director James Comey’s comments to have totally exonerated her from all guilt in her email dustup?

When that ploy doesn’t work, Hillary tries to justify whatever she did by intimating that others did it, too,  Most recently, she accused Colin Powell of giving her advice on how to set up a private server.   In exasperation, he retorted, “The sad thing is that HRC could have killed this two years ago by merely telling everyone honestly what she had done and not tie me into it.’  The retired Four-Star General may know how to fight a war, but he apparently has no inkling as to how to do battle with Hillary Clinton.  “Telling everyone honestly” is not remotely a part of her winning strategy.

Powell peevishly concluded, “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”    Hillary is fond of saying that “words matter.”  And “hubris” is the perfect word to associate with her.  Its synonyms are arrogance, conceit, haughtiness, self-importance, egotism, pomposity and superiority.  Don’t be fooled by the phony hugs, cackles, and waves.

But let’s face it: Donald Trump has his own brand of hubris, so you’d think he could recognize and react to the glaring signs of that flaw in his opponent.   He’s hamstrung to some extent, since political correctness permits a woman to attack the morals of a man, but never the other way around.  Any male who dares to do so is considered a sexist and misogynistic.  By contrast, any woman who lashes out at the conduct of a male, justifiably or otherwise, is an automatic champion of downtrodden womankind.

The Donald will be under a lot of pressure in the last two so-called debates.  I don’t buy into the claim that Hillary is a better debater, but I do  accept that she is, by far, a  better “baiter.”   So Trump needs to do a little “bait and switch” himself, turning the discourse away from personal attacks and back to the issues that impact Americans.

The Donald is a master at frank talk -- and his partisan audiences love  him for it.  Still, he lacks finesse.  And while Hillary is not a memorable public speaker, she has been holding forth for over four decades and has in recent years demanded as much as $250,000 in fees for a half hour speech.  So in the debate arena, she’s comfortable enough to turn her attention to making Trump uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, without having enunciated so much as a scintilla of policy detail in the first debate, Hillary has emerged in high dudgeon, exuding her characteristically shrill brand of optimism.  She is now into the habit of gloating at her rallies, joyfully screeching, “One down; two to go.”

Time will tell if victory is in the cards for the former First Lady.  But this much is clear: modesty -- like honesty – is not Hillary Clinton’s long suit.