Hillary Clinton

Clinton's Endearing Fictions

Do Americans prefer a shameless liar in the White House?

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During the Pennsylvania primary campaign, Barack Obama made a rather charitable gesture not only toward his Democratic rival but toward the presumptive Republican nominee as well. "You have real choice in this election," he told a crowd in Reading. "You know, either Democrat would be better than John McCain, but … all three of us would be better than George Bush."

That was all it took to set off Hillary Clinton. She rattled off a list of McCain's misguided positions, asking her audience over and over, "Is that better than George Bush?" She concluded, "We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain, and I will be that nominee."

It came as a revelation to hear that Obama, who I thought was plotting to become president, actually has been shrewdly maneuvering himself in position to lead the pom squad at McCain's inauguration. But there was something else that struck me as strange about Clinton's reaction: Obama was not the first of the two Democrats to say something nice about the Arizona senator. He was the second.

A few weeks ago, campaigning in Texas, Clinton sounded downright glowing about McCain. Referring to those 3 a.m. phone calls at the White House, she said, "I think you'll be able to imagine many things Sen. McCain will be able to say. He's never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002."

Let's review. Clinton criticized Obama for ranking McCain No. 3 in a four-person assessment, ahead of Bush. But Clinton herself put McCain No. 2—or maybe even in a tie for No. 1—in her evaluation of the three candidates.

She thinks McCain is better than Obama and McCain is no better than Bush. Which can mean only one thing: Bush is better than Obama!

Of course that's probably not what she actually believes. But it's a tribute to her talent for bold deceit and bizarre logic that she can attack Obama for doing something that she herself had done so recently, and more fervently.

And it brings me to my real revelation about Clinton. In the wake of her Pennsylvania victory, I pondered what it is about her that appeals to so many voters, even when she looks hopelessly out of the race. And I decided only one thing can explain it: A lot of us like our politicians to lie and fudge—the more flagrantly, the better.

Why would that be? For the same reason women enjoy hearing that their eyes are like sapphires and guys like to be told they resemble Greek gods—even when they know full well that the person talking is not being entirely candid. If a politician won't mislead you to get elected, it seems as though he or she doesn't care enough to deserve the office.

Clinton has always been willing to do just about anything to win, which apparently endears her to many voters. Biographer Carl Bernstein, who made his name uncovering President Nixon's monumental dishonesty, judged her guilty of "Jesuitical lying, evasion, and … stonewalling." The Bosnia sniper tale was unusual only in that her campaign actually admitted that what she said was not, uh, true.

And with Clinton, you get a double dose—one from her and one from her husband. For anyone who's forgotten his memorable performance of 1998 ("I did not have sexual relations with that woman"), he recently provided an encore. He told a radio interviewer that the Obama campaign "played the race card on me." Then, when a reporter asked him about the comment, he replied, "When did I say that and to whom did I say that?" before wagging a finger and insisting, "That's not what I said."

It was a vintage Billary performance. Say something false, then deny you said it, while blaming the person who's telling the truth. It may not be convincing, but it's mighty entertaining.

Some people are of the same mind as the rock band Monday In London, which sings, "Lie to me, baby, and I'll let you get away with it." And if Hillary Clinton gets elected, they are going to have a blissful four years.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  1. Yes, we do like shameless liars. And it looks like we have three good ones to choose from.

  2. When choosing amongst liars I like to pick the one who seems assiduously committed to not being a douche-bag.

  3. For the same reason […] guys like to be told they resemble Greek gods

    Well, if we’re talking about the deformed-but-genial Hephaestus it’s not a lie…

  4. You mean a strategy other than “say whatever necessary to get elected”? I thought that was obvious.

  5. I am not sure that all that many Hillary supporters actually like Hillary per se. I suspect that the main categories of her backers fall into:

    90’s nostalgics (and relatedly, people who want Bill back in the white house)

    women who want a woman in the office (pretty much regardless of who that woman is)

    Those who want a change in policy at the top but do not want a “negro” in the White House.

    socialized medicine proponents who think that she has a hidden agenda for a much broader change than she is campaigning on.

  6. A lot of us like our politicians to lie and fudge-the more flagrantly, the better.

    Uh, no. A lot of people actually think that politicians and the government can actually “fix” things rather than fucking them up. Like the truck drivers driving around DC today to protest the price of gas. How, exactly, can Congress reduce the price of gas? Other than unbelievable disasters like price controls, they can’t.

    Politicians lie because people are stupid and they get away with it, not because we like it.

  7. Hugo Chavez in a pant-suit.

  8. I’ve always assumed that the lying thing works because there’s a good number of voters who will hear the lie and not watch enough news to ever hear the numerous refutations. After all, Clinton consistently leads among people who aren’t paying attention.

  9. It was a vintage Billary performance. Say something false, then deny you said it, while blaming the person who’s telling the truth. It may not be convincing, but it’s mighty entertaining.

    Well, THAT’s where joe gets it from.

    Hugo Chavez in a pant-suit,

    Isn’t it “pants suit”? Not that it matters much, either one of the Dems could be accused of the Hugo C, Obama’s just more substantive comment free about it, Hillary’s just more up front about it. McCain at least has a record of bipartisanship, though the subjects of the record are less than motivating.

    I still maintain a write in for Ron Paul, or perhaps Drew Carey, is the better course of action.

  10. Part of the atraction to liars may be wanting to be told that your life situation is not your fault, that things that you like that are detrimental to the economy are actually good for the economy, and a short memory for how many things that have been promised to them have actually come.

  11. The Clintons have been audacious and monumental liars since they entered politics in Arkansas. They’re habitual liars for one primary reason – the MSM historically have been their water carriers for them, letting them get away with it. Hillary’s occasional rough patches in this campaign have been due to the simple reality that many of them have fallen in love with their opponent.

  12. Enough about pantsuits people. I asked my wife this question: “Will women ever have a uniform like the men’s suit that is not open to discussion, derision, debate and ridicule?” Her answer: Not in our lifetime.

    What other option does Hillary have than a pantsuit? An 80’s era jacket with skirt combo? A 50’s – 60’s era dress? How do you expect her to dress for campaign stops. Bluejeans and a blouse?

    The whole making-fun-of-the-pantsuit is so patriarchy

  13. I think First Little Pig had a humorectomy.

    Unless that was satire, to which I say well done.

  14. “Carl Bernstein, who made his name uncovering President Nixon’s monumental dishonesty, judged her guilty of ‘Jesuitical lying, evasion, and … stonewalling.'”

    Jesuitical? Why did Carl Bernstein have to dig up a discredited anti-Catholic trope to bach Hillary? In England alone (not to speak of more civilized countries like Japan), Jesuits like St. Edmund Campion were hanged, drawn and quartered for trying to defend the Church. Some Jesuits said that it was morally permissible to use misdirection and deception to agents of schismatical, heretical governments in order to save oneself and one’s assocites from being murdered for the “crime” of adhering to the Catholic Church – can that be compared to Hillary Clinton saying whatever the voters want to hear in order to get elected?

    If Carl Bernstein wanted an metaphor of deceptiveness to describe Hillary, he didn’t have to smear the Catholic Church – he could have simply invoked the example of the Communist Party and its easygoing attitude to the truth – after all, both of Bernstein’s parents were at the very least com-symps:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0333521358/reasonmagazinea-20/

  15. Oh come now, Mad Max. I’ve heard more than enough Dominican priests make cracks about Jesuitical casuistry to believe that much of the reputation is richly deserved.

  16. “Do Americans prefer a shameless liar in the White House?”

    Yes.

  17. How, exactly, can Congress reduce the price of gas?

    Three words: federal gas taxes

  18. Episiarch,

    Yeah well, I actually started writing it in all seriousness but as I finished my rant I realized how silly it was. Then I added the patriarchy line and I felt it came out more “kidding on the square”.

    But I think you have a point: this election in particular is draining the funny out of life. I have gone from libertarian to anarchist over it. Minarchy will no longer save us.

  19. Three words: federal gas taxes

    And then they increase taxes elsewhere to pay for road maintenance. It’s shell game, which is why McCain proposed it.

  20. “Three words: federal gas taxes”

    Four more: The market will compensate.

  21. Anyone see Rev. Wright this morning? Hes really killing Obama.

    Seriously, he said that white and black people have different brains LOL!

  22. How, exactly, can Congress reduce the price of gas?

    Three words: federal gas taxes

    ANWR and other locations, removing EPA restrictions on refineries, removing ethanol subsidies, eliminating adult porn restrictions*.

    *Okay, that last one is a “while you are at it” dream.

  23. “Will women ever have a uniform like the men’s suit that is not open to discussion, derision, debate and ridicule?”

    The fact that a woman’s method of dress can initiate “discussion, derision, debate and ridicule” speaks volumes about its power. Worrying about a patriarchy instead of leveraging publicity is so “patriarchy.”

  24. Billary: We now consecrate the bond of obedience. Assume the position.
    (Billary smacks the voters with a whopping lie)
    Voters: Thank you, sir. May I have another?

  25. I have gone from libertarian to anarchist over it. Minarchy will no longer save us.

    Welcome. I realized that many years ago.

  26. Worrying about a patriarchy instead of leveraging publicity is so “patriarchy.”

    Patriarchy’s greatest trick was fooling feminism into believing that it exists.

  27. NutraSweet, why do you do this to me?!?!?

  28. Because I love too much.

  29. Because I love too much.

    You love fat chicks?

    Q: What’s the same about a fat chick and a moped?

    A; They’re both fun to ride until your friends see you on one.

  30. SugarFree quoted: “I haven’t worn a dress or skirt in years, because you know what they mean to my size 28 self?”

    A place to hide an udder and three extra stomachs . . ?

    SIZE 28??? America truly is the “Land of Plenty!”

  31. No, no. I love the board too much to let you guys miss out of stuff like that.

    Ancedote: A friend of mine not only told a fat chick the moped joke, but then nicknamed her “Moped” and got maybe a dozen people in on it.

    Ancedote 2: In a totally unrelated (but unsurprising) incident I saw him get punched in the neck at the ACE bar in NYC when he drunkenly demanded that this rockabilly greaser kid sing him an Elvis song (“In The Ghetto” IIRC.).

  32. Maybe it’s the ‘shameless’ part.

  33. I’m listening to Monday in London right now on their myspace. This is some disappointing Foo Fighters meets Our Lady Peace Nu-Metal/pop punkery. Get the hell out of here with this bull shit.

  34. A friend of mine not only told a fat chick the moped joke, but then nicknamed her “Moped” and got maybe a dozen people in on it.

    You and your friends’ casual cruelty amuses me.

  35. Episiarch, I have to applaud you for bringing the wisdom of ATHF to these boards.

    well-played, sir.

    *golf claps*

  36. You and your friends’ casual cruelty amuses me.

    We do what we can, but I will admit to being too polite to call her “Moped.”

  37. A_R, I do it all the time, but I don’t think a lot of H&R regulars watch ATHF. Because I almost never get a reaction.

  38. Hey, I actually DO have the body of a Greek God….problem is, it’s Cupid.

  39. It’s funny that there’s an ad for Norwich University’s Master of Arts in Diplomacy program attached to this article about lying.

  40. Of the three, Clinton, McCain and Obama, all have been prevaricating at times. I agree with Mr. Champman that Hillary is probably #1, with McCain #2, and Obama prevaricating the least.

  41. Looking at their actual votes, rather than analyzing their mouth noises, one would be hard-pressed to find a reason to vote for any of the Three Senators.

  42. Mad Max,
    Are you questioning Mr. Bernstein’s patriotism? You are! How dare you question his patriotism! How dare you question Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s patriotism, too! You all just wrap yourselves in the flag to avoid tough questions!

  43. Obama seems to lie the least out of the three candidates because he says the least even though he speaks the most.

  44. Clinton’s campaign reminds me of Nixon’s debate with Kennedy. In Nixon’s formative years, live debates were the norm. He followed the habits of live debaters, speaking to the moderator instead of the camera. Kennedy knew how to debate in the age of TV.

    Now with the web, Clinton is tripped up by old habits. During most of their political lives, the Clintons did not have do worry about fact checkers. Catching them in a lie would require a trip to the library, too much effort for anyone outside the “right wing conspiracy”. Today, a quick web search reveals a Clinton lie in minutes.

  45. I saw a pic of Hillary bending over in her pants-suit, and I’d have to give her credit, not a bad ass for a 60 something

  46. These three are so bad they are going to make Bush look good.

    Just you wait!

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