As I was driving yesterday morning and listening to NPR, one of the feature stories came on. It was about Hillary Clinton, and why people seemed to really so strongly distrust her, and even hate her with such a passion. They mentioned the upcoming story fifteen minutes before it aired, and I was intrigued.
It was not what I expected, as the reporter, Tamara Keith, essentially seemed to insinuate that Hillary Clinton's trust issues basically had everything to do with sexism. Yes, people just had a problem with the idea of a woman being in a position of leadership. In this case, of course, potentially the White House.
Nothing about the emails (a little more on that later). Nothing about the strange coincidences surrounding a rigged primary season, in which she benefited entirely from getting the unofficial, but all too real support from the Democratic party establishment, and the recent controversy revealing emails confirming this reality, which those same elites within the Democratic party had previously dismissed as paranoia by supporters of Bernie Sanders. Nothing about Whitewater. Nothing about her repeated claims about coming under sniper fire in Bosnia, even though nothing like that ever happened. Nothing about her claims that she and her husband were broke after leaving the White House, which was something that had actually happened to President Carter after he left office. Nothing about having taken numerous pieces of furniture and artwork from the White House that did not belong to her. Nothing about her claim to have been turned down by the Marines in 1975, when she was fostering a young, up and coming legal career. Nothing about how she was removed from her position as a House Judiciary Committee staffer for lying and incompetence. Nothing about wearing a dress that cost well over $12,000 during a speech about income inequality. Nothing about all of the money that she so readily took from big corporations and Wall Street banking firms for "speaking fees" and her refusal to release the transcripts of these speeches. Nothing about how certain she was that she would not face any serious legal consequences over the investigation over the emails.
But let us remember something else about those emails: her husband, Bill Clinton, meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the tarmac of Phoenix Skyport (airport) for half an hour, but how this meeting, which came out a little more than a week before all charges were essentially dropped against Hillary Clinton, even while FBI Director James Comey essentially blasted Hillary for being very irresponsible. Some of the terms that he used in describing Hillary Clinton's behavior, specifically, was that she had acted "extremely carelessly" and "gross negligence," although all charges were dropped. It was deemed a victory for Hillary Clinton, and her supporters. But was this the kind of triumph that we should all celebrate? Should we feel good about such a person in the top office in the country?
Surely, it helps to have a former president as your husband. Sure, officially, there was no wrongdoing, of course. Oh, there was plenty of outrage, but the story died after just a few days, and we no longer hear about it from the mainstream media. It will be mentioned by her opponents, and it will cast a dark shadow over her legacy, as will all those other times that she has been caught lying, yet got away with it.
Of course, she is not the only politician who has an extensive history of lying and getting away with it. Richard Nixon was about to get impeached, and instead, he resigned in disgrace, after it was revealed that he had covered up Watergate. In the 1980's, Ronald Reagan came to be known as the "Teflon President" because nothing, no scandals and no lies that he was caught red-handed with, ever seemed to stick. But the man who was surely even more successful at getting away with lying, and who many in the 1990's starting suggesting was the "real teflon President," was none other than Hillary's husband, Bill Clinton.
Back in the late 1990's, I remember Republican Congressmen began to describe President Bill Clinton as being "ethically challenged."
Now, I'm not a fan of Republicans and, truth be told, I have never vote for a Republican candidate even once in my life. But one thing that they have never been bad at is insulting people. Normally, I am not a big fan of that, and feel it is relatively classless.
However, there are times when it is so outrageous, so over the top, There was one point where New York's Senator D'Amato sang a parody of the "Old MacDonald had a farm" song, which basically went started like this, "President Clinton had a bill, ee-i-ee-i-o..."
I remember turning to my parents after watching that clip and musing about the state of politics in the country, and how Bill Clinton had dreamed of being president since he was a little boy, and that now, all these years later, he finally reached the White House, only to have a Republican senator making a fool of himself and cheapening the whole political process by singing a child's song to mock his political opponents.
Yet, the truth of the matter is that Bill Clinton himself did a good job of discrediting his own political career by being a pathological liar. I mean, we all remember how out of control his conduct was around attractive women. That really had nothing to do with his actual presidency, but it sure does not reflect highly on his character or trustworthiness either. I was thinking of listing all of the lies that he was associated with, but in the interest of finishing this entry today, there simply was no time to actually list them all and, besides, the list would likely be incomplete. Suffice to say, the man made a career out of gross exaggerations and even outright lying. His speeches seem laden with half-truths and ridiculous exaggerations. Some of the ones that bothered me the most over the years were his claims that he paid off 60% of the national debt, even though these were "paid" by taking out temporary loans, which meant that we owed the exact same amount, and his promises to be a strong environmental president, and then doing little to nothing for almost eight full years, until he penned some sweeping environmental legislation in his last 72 hours in the Oval Office to make his record sound much stronger, knowing full well that President Bush would waste no time gutting these. Yes, those were good for speeches to make him look better, but they certainly did not benefit the country at all. They just benefited his political career.
Let us remember, also, that Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying under oath, earning the distinction of being only the second president in history to receive such "honors."
The reason that the term "ethically challenged" struck me was that, for once, Republicans seemed to have a point. I disagreed with their policies and their own ethics, of course. But how could you defend against charges that Bill Clinton was a serial liar, and that he was, as they said, "ethically challenged?"
You simply cannot. At least, if you have an ounce of objectivity. The only thing you can do is conveniently choose to ignore it. Which, of course, the mainstream Democrats did. Have done. Are doing right now, as I write this, in fact. Because it is not just Bill Clinton who is "ethically challenged." It is the Clinton family as a whole.
What made the term "ethically challenged" striking is that it fit, and was in a sense, a double entendre. According to Wiktionary, this is "an ironic imitation of politically correct language." Which, of course, the Clintons themselves have both been masterful with. And with Hillary's rise to the Democratic nomination, and her still likely ascension to the Oval Office, the term may very well make a comeback. Frankly, the Clintons - both male and female Clintons - deserve nothing less, even if the attacks come from the equally pathetic (of not perhaps even more pathetic) GOP opposition.
Now, lies aside, let us also remember a couple of other things about the Clinton presidency: that he created the "too big to fail" banking system that nearly caused the collapse of the economy in 2008, and that the prison reforms that he was responsible for sent many nonviolent offenders to prison for a long, long time in our for profit prison system. The result of these reforms is that the United States now has more people behind bars than any other country in the world. Yes, "the land of the free" has more people in prison than China, North Korea, Iran, and any other brutal regime you care to mention. And the Clintons had a part t play in that. A major part.
But don't worry. The Clintons both apologized for their role in this tragedy that ruined millions of lives.
Oops. Sorry about that.
Oh, and let us not forget that Hillary Clinton officially cut her ties with this for profit prison system by announcing that she would refuse to accept funds from this industry just this past October, so let us not say that she is not an agent of progress (at least when it benefits her political ambitions).
So, given all of this, my question is why everyone is so enthusiastically supporting this woman? I mean, it's a damn party in Philadelphia, with everyone celebrating, even though it's quite clear that both she and her husband have actually been pretty bad for the country. How does this happen? How do they both get away with it for so long?
Well, I cannot say for sure. But I'm pretty sure that stories from reporters who insinuate that the issues of trust that so many Americans have with Hillary are merely based the product of sexism have something to do with it. After all, a new poll suggests 68% of people have with Hillary Clinton, and that encompasses a lot of men and women. This, despite stories by people claiming to be journalists who do not even touch on serious issues, such as the one by Tamara Keith that got me on this topic. After the media has proven to be so entirely irresponsible and failing to be impartial in such high profile cases as the election of 2000, the Iraq invasion and all of the lies surrounding it, and the recent primaries where notions that Bernie Sanders was "unelectable" persisted, despite him winning state after state against the supposedly strong and natural candidate, Hillary Clinton, we really need to scrutinize not only politicians like Hillary Clinton much more than we do (rather than throwing parties for them and giving them a free pass), but we also really need to start holding the media's feet to the fire, too.
Here is the link to the pathetic piece of reporting that got me onto this topic in the first place:
The Disconnect Between The Public And Private Hillary Clinton by Tamara Keith on All Things Considered, July 26, 2016: