Hillary Clinton’s imminent nomination is historic, not only because of her gender, but because she is perhaps the most unfit presidential candidate ever to reach that plateau.
Clinton’s critics can cite many reasons why she’s unfit. This article and the three preceding suggest perhaps the most compelling. First, she has proven herself to be wholly unprincipled, standing for anything that benefits her politically. Second, she had long ago established herself as a polarizing figure, even before launching her divisive campaign. The third disqualifier is her incompetence, reflected by her abysmal lack of accomplishments as Senator and disastrous blunders as Secretary of State. They suggest a career built on coattails and connections, not competence.
But the fourth reason is the most compelling and the most obvious. Polls confirm that a strong majority of Americans see it. Hillary Clinton is untrustworthy.
Yet here she stands, poised to accept the nomination of the Democratic Party in July. How can someone so widely distrusted be in that position?
Some of her supporters are woefully ignorant of the scandals she generated throughout her public life. They only know that she is a woman and she’s a Democrat. Others are willfully ignorant, shielding their eyes from anything that might tarnish her image.
Still, some Democrats who readily acknowledge her dishonesty remain loyal. How can that be?
Yes, blind loyalty distorts logic and is the most obvious explanation. But it’s more than that. Many simply dismiss character issues as irrelevant. They say they want to talk about real issues, like jobs and the economy. This simple fact somehow eludes them: when dishonest politicians talk about “real issues,” their words are meaningless, their promises empty.
Others excuse Clinton’s duplicity by citing lies, or even perceived lies, attributed to other politicians. They might point to inconsistent statements, exaggerations, or unfulfilled promises. They’re not hard to find in Washington. Then they triumphantly proclaim those three familiar words - “everyone does it.” Power does, indeed, corrupt. It tests the limits of the human frailties we all share. Still, we cannot expect, nor do we deserve, an honest government if we knowingly elect politicians who are fundamentally dishonest.
That kind of dishonesty, core dishonesty, is enduring. Noted liberal columnist William Safire recognized that when he referred to Hillary as a “congenital liar” in a 1996 New York Times article. Back then, his opinion was shaped by Hillary’s involvement in Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, and her 10,000 percent profit realized as a first-time speculator in cattle futures. And in 2008, liberal journalist, Carl Bernstein, who investigated the Watergate scandal, published A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In it he wrote,”Since her Arkansas years, Hillary Rodham Clinton has always had a difficult relationship with the truth.” His opinion hasn’t changed. During a 2015 CNN interview, he said, “'Hillary Clinton has a huge problem because she does not tell the truth very, very often.”
Ironically, his opinion is shared by another Watergate figure. In 1974, Jerry Zeifman, also a lifelong Democrat, was Chief Counsel on the House Judiciary Committee working on President Nixon’s impeachment. Hillary Clinton was a young attorney assigned to his staff. Zeifman has since written extensively about his experiences with Clinton, describing her as deceitful and unethical. His best-known work is Hillary’s Pursuit of Power.
Core dishonesty lasts a lifetime. It is also shameless. Clinton’s recovered emails confirm that when she told the families of those Benghazi victims that their loved ones died because of a video, she knew it wasn’t true. Most of us were repulsed by that callous deception. Later, she suggested that those families lied when they publicly disclosed her contrived words of “condolence.” Clinton’s insinuation showed just how shameless she can be.
And core dishonesty is also distinguished by the weight of the lies told. Countless Americans hurt by Barack Obama’s deceitful promises about Obamacare would call them serious lies. But that deception had no impact on national security.
When Hillary slyly denied using her private server to send or receive information marked classified, most knew she was being deceptive. Emails recovered since then have confirmed those documents were not marked “classified” because Hillary instructed her staff to strip away the classified markings. Her false assurances, couched in lawyerly qualifiers, were classic Clinton. This time, though, they were not intended to cover-up a tawdry affair, but to conceal gross mishandling of classified information by a Secretary of State, and possibly, untold damage to our national security.
For those unfamiliar with government security markings, information that could potentially cause “exceptionally grave damage” to our national security is designated “top secret.” That is the kind of information Clinton treated like her shopping list.
The single-minded effort by the Democratic elite to foist this unfit candidate on their electorate might well cost them the election in November. Though most Democrats will certainly rally behind any nominee, some of the more astute and conscientious Democrats see Hillary for what she is. Perhaps they place a higher value on national security than on Hillary’s personal ambitions. Many of them have already switched their allegiance to Bernie Sanders, her primary rival. No one knows how many will compromise their own values by switching back, once Bernie is gone.
Peter Lemiska has spent more than 28 years in government service. He is a former Senior Special Agent of the U.S. Secret Service and an Air Force veteran. His political commentaries have been widely published on line and in print.
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