If the virtue of honesty is important to you, you must have fallen off your chairs Sunday when Hillary Clinton looked into Fox News' Chris Wallace's eyes and . . . lied.
Mrs. Clinton is not the first politician to tell a porkie pie. But the ease with which she told a whopper that can be easily refuted by easily available video tape was stunning.
Indeed, as you probably know already, the Washington Post fact-checker gave Clinton Four Pinocchios–the rock bottom score–for her bizarre claim that FBI Director James Comey had described her as "truthful" about her classified emails that flitted through her basement server.
Millions of Americans watched the FBI Director confirm that, in fact, Mrs. Clinton's statements about her classified emails had not been true. Her brazen performance Sunday makes you think that the late William Safire was onto something.
Jacob Sallum over at Reason points out that the Clinton campaign is sticking with the untruth:
Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, and her campaign press secretary, Brian Fallon, both used that formulation during interviews on MSNBC yesterday, trying to explain in what sense her false public statements about the emails were "truthful," as she described them in a jaw-dropping Fox News interview on Sunday. Although what she said was not true, the latest defense goes, she thought it was, so she was truthful.
Mook and Fallon noted that FBI Director James Comey, in his congressional testimony last month, said, "We have no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI." Although Mook thinks that means "everything she said to the FBI was true," that does not follow, since Clinton could have said false things she thought were true. In fact, according to Mook, that is what happened. "What she said to the FBI is the same as what she said [to the general public]," Mook said. If so, she said things to the FBI that the FBI determined were not true.
Although Comey repeatedly said there was not enough evidence to charge Clinton with deliberately misleading the FBI (a felony), he also repeatedly refused to say whether he thought Clinton deliberately misled the public. "That's a question I'm not qualified to answer," he said. "I really don't want to get in the business of trying to parse and judge her public statements."
While Clinton may not have been consciously lying in her initial public statements about the email controversy, she was at the very least reckless with the facts, saying things she hoped were true rather than things she knew to be true. Comey likewise found that she was "extremely careless" and "negligent" in her handling of "very sensitive, highly classified information," although he did not find enough evidence to accuse her of deliberately breaking the law. While gross negligence would have been enough for a criminal charge under 18 USC 793, Comey said applying that standard to Clinton would have been unfair, since there has been only one such prosecution in the century since the statute was enacted.
That does not mean it is unfair for voters to judge Clinton by her negligence with classified information. In his July 5 statement explaining his decision not to recommend criminal charges against Clinton, Comey had this to say about an email chain that included classified material: "There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation." He added that "even if information is not marked 'classified' in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it."
Sallum goes on to note that in the Fox interview Clinton tried to place blame on her underlings, always the sign of a bad leader.
And yet, knowing that she fails the character smell test, Clinton is smart enough to make the campaign about the other guy's character (no comment). Unfortunately, he is co-operating:
Meanwhile, Donald Trump seems thrilled that Democrats are trying to make the election about his favorite subject—Donald J. Trump. Were he as shrewd a politician as he claims to be a businessman, he’d explain how Clinton-Obama policies have failed and why his would be superior. Above all, he’d work overtime to reassure undecided voters that he is a risk worth taking. He can’t tap into dissatisfaction with the status quo if Americans can’t imagine him sitting in the Oval Office.
We're trying to talk about the issues over here because, after all, it's policies that will determine what the next four years are like, but the campaigns aren't really talking about these issues.
ObamaCare, more government intrusion into the work place, minimum wage hikes that don't benefit workers (and harm many), a foreign policy that has the Middle East on a high boil–you'd think they'd be front and center. But you would be wrong.