According to the latest polling, almost seven out of ten Americans view Hillary Clinton as a liar. Twenty years ago, New York Times columnist William Safire wrote that “Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization” that Hillary “is a congenital liar.” Not much has changed.
Her 60 Minutes interview last weekend did nothing to repair this image. She didn’t even bother to coordinate her lies about Benghazi, saying in one breath that she took “responsibility” for it and saying in the next breath that “it wasn’t her ball to carry.” In an unaired portion of the interview, she professed total ignorance of any dirty tricks against the Bernie Sanders campaign. “I am adamantly opposed to anyone bringing religion into our political process,” she innocently said. “The Constitution says no religious tests so that is just absolutely wrong and unacceptable.”
According to the hacked e-mails, officials at the Democratic National Committee schemed to use the atheism of Bernie Sanders against him in the South. That sounds exactly like the kind of dirty trick Hillary and her advisers would consider. Recall that in 2008 her chief strategist Mark Penn deployed a strategy similar to that one against Barack Obama. Under Penn’s direction, Hillary talked about her Methodism while her campaign sent reporters a picture of Obama in Muslim garb.
Penn had told her to stress that she was “born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century.” Hillary’s famous hedge that “as far as I know” Obama is not Islamic came straight out of the Penn playbook. Penn thought that she could drive a wedge between Obama and Americans by making insinuations about un-American influences over him. In the South and the Rust Belt during that campaign, Hillary stoked those insinuations while she dispatched Bill and Chelsea to appear in the company of Christian pastors such as Joel Osteen.
Hillary is famous for exploding at her staff for not hitting opponents hard enough. That DNC staffers operating in such a climate would have concocted a plan to undermine Sanders in the South by drawing attention to his atheism makes sense. Any stick will do for Hillary when an opponent is gaining on her.
Sitting next to Hillary as she disclaimed “anyone bringing religion into our political process” was Tim Kaine, who wears liberal religion on his sleeve. For years, Kaine has passed himself off as a “devout Catholic” whose commitment to “social justice” derives from his “Jesuit education.” It would be more accurate to say that his support for abortion and gay marriage derive from his Jesuit education. He learned libertinism and socialism from the modern Jesuits but not social justice.
When he launched his career, Kaine adopted the Mario Cuomo-style sophistry that he is “personally” opposed to abortion but publicly supportive of it. Don’t count on hearing that line anymore. Pro-abortion liberals don’t care for the negative implication of that remark. Nor do they like the “safe, legal, and rare” formulation popularized by Bill Clinton, which Hillary has stopped using, lest the “rare” offend abortion supporters. They want abortion safe, legal, and often.
Kaine spends a lot of time talking about religion before getting around to saying that it should have no relevance in public life. He doesn’t believe in the separation of church and campaigning, subjecting his audiences to stories about his days in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Central America. Who cares? If religion is a purely private matter, why include that on your political résumé? Kaine wants it both ways: a halo for his “Jesuit values” and an exemption for his 100 percent NARAL voting record.
And what was Hillary doing calling Kaine a “shining example of faith in action” when she introduced him as her running mate? Wasn’t the whole point of the Cuomo creed that Catholics Democrats should not put their faith in action? To do so constituted an “imposition” on others and a violation of the secularist contract upon which they claim the public sphere rests.
Hillary’s capacity for such cynicism helps explain her floundering poll numbers. Trump is criticized for calculating too little; Hillary is criticized for calculating too much. Only a candidate as devious as Hillary could turn “lock her up,” heard both in Cleveland and Philadelphia, into a bipartisan chant.