It sometimes happens in politics that a truth proves more useful than a lie. For unscrupulous pols like the Clintons, that is the only basis for regretting a lie. Hillary’s aides are kicking themselves over the pneumonia story not because they concealed it but because telling the truth would have spared them a lot of trouble. Had Hillary not collapsed and exposed the deception, they would have been high-fiving each other for having hoodwinked the public.
Even the protocol-breaking getaway from the 9/11 event—with Hillary looking like FDR out of his wheelchair—was made worse by the deceptive attempt of her aides and guards to appear nonchalant and normal in an abnormal moment. Not wanting to draw any attention, they held her casually rather than firmly, and consequently she collapsed into the vehicle. They then whisked her off not to a hospital but to her daughter’s posh apartment, like the detail of a banana-republic dictator. Her aides then staged a painfully obvious photo-op—the purpose of which was to show the public that their candidate could still walk unassisted—involving the exposure of a little girl to a pneumonia patient. So much for Hillary as a children’s advocate. For Hillary, it even takes a village to dupe the public.
The Hillary Clinton campaign seems to have everything except a functioning candidate. Big money, a huge staff, slick ads, endless fundraisers, all at the service of a disappearing nominee. She is running on the claim that she possesses a steadiness that Trump lacks, even as her own crises leave her undone. Against Obama, she asked, who do you want answering the red phone at 3 o’clock in the morning? Voters didn’t find that persuasive then and they find it even less persuasive now, especially after the monstrous debacle of Benghazi. When the call on that crisis came, she lied and panicked. That is her reflex on matters both big and small, whether it is the cause of a cough or the cause of a terrorist attack.
On Monday, as CNN’s Anderson Cooper quizzed her about the non-disclosure of pneumonia, she said, “I didn’t think it was going to be that big a deal.” In other words, she thought the illness would pass without anybody finding out about it. She then talked about the unprecedented transparency of her campaign: “And, you know, I think it’s fair to say, Anderson, that people know more about me than almost anyone in public life. They’ve got 40 years of my tax returns, tens of thousands of emails, a detailed medical letter report, all kinds of personal details.”
It was like hearing Bill Clinton talk about his administration as the “most ethical ever” in the midst of his ceaseless scandals.
It is only when Hillary is savaging conservatives that she displays any candor. Her “basket of deplorables” comment represents one of the few honest moments of her campaign. She has always viewed conservatism as a hate crime. In her view, merely disagreeing with liberal policies on immigration and affirmative action automatically makes one a racist. Notice that liberals have criticized her comment not for its unfairness but for its imprudence at a time of tightness in the race. They agree with her that half of Trump’s supporters are deplorable. In fact, they see her comment as an overly cautious estimate.
“If anything, when it comes to Trump’s racist support, she might have low-balled the number,” according to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
Liberalism, Milbank implies, enjoys an exclusive ownership over the terms of bigotry and racism. So whoever shows anything less than grudging support for a candidate it deems racist must be similarly racist. “Few people embrace the ‘racist’ label, so let’s help them. If you are ‘very enthusiastic’ about a candidate who has based his campaign on scapegoating immigrants, Latinos and African Americans, talked of banning Muslims from the country, hesitated to disown the Ku Klux Klan and employed anti-Semitic imagery — well, you might be a racist,” he writes. “But if you are holding your nose and supporting Trump only because you think him better than Clinton, that doesn’t put you in the basket.”
Milbank’s column captures the smugness of the liberal media and the contempt with which journalists hold much of the country. They don’t want to debate conservatives but to demonize them. That’s one sickness they share with Hillary and will go to great lengths to spread.