Hillary Clinton has been a chronic liar throughout her entire public life. Now she even lies about her lies. It’s no wonder that two-thirds of the American voters don’t believe she’s honest or trustworthy.
They’re right. She’s reflexively, consistently, perpetually dishonest. To Hillary, the truth is just one of a number of many options for an answer.
At the Nevada Town Hall, CBS reporter Scott Pelley asked Hillary whether she always tells the truth to the American people. She seemed perplexed by the question, starting the answer with “MmmHmmm.” That’s called stalling, taking time to formulate an answer that’s not quite emphatic.
Instead of a simple yes, Hillary couldn’t really be sure about whether she always tells the truth, but she “does her best to level with the American people.”
What the heck does that mean? How do you do your best to be honest? She makes it sound like some kind of very hard work is necessary to get to the truth.
You don’t try to tell the truth. The truth is static — you either tell the truth or lie. You don’t try your best to tell the truth.
We’re not talking about Aristotle pondering the truths of the universe here. We’re talking about answering a question about your own conduct. How do you try your best to figure out whether you took money from the oil companies? Or landed in sniper fire in Bosnia? Or were dead broke? Or sent classified material? Or were named after Sir Edmund Hillary? Or whether Benghazi was a response to a protest? The only reason you have to think about it is because you are NOT telling the truth.
Why is it so hard for Hillary to tell the truth? Why does it require such effort?
Most people, just tell the truth, occasionally shading it to make it sound better.
But for Hillary, answering difficult questions is an arduous task, akin to making a move on a chess board. While she figuratively keeps her hand on her chess piece to keep the move tentative, she has to ponder all possible opposition responses and all vulnerabilities her move might expose. Only after rigorous examination does she remove her hand and make the move official.
She probably considers telling the truth as one of a number of considerations, but with no special priority attached to it.
The political irony is that the accumulation of these calculations — as opposed to simple truth telling — creates a negative public impression far more compelling than any of the individual truthful but discarded answers would have been.
And her ridiculous answer only reinforces her image as a liar.
Here’s the exchange:
PELLEY: You know, in ’76, Jimmy Carter famously said, “I will not lie to you.”
CLINTON: Well, I have to tell you I have tried in every way I know how literally from my years as a young lawyer all the way through my time as secretary of state to level with the American people.
PELLEY: You talk about leveling with the American people. Have you always told the truth?
CLINTON: I’ve always tried to. Always. Always.
PELLEY: Some people are gonna call that wiggle room that you just gave yourself.
CLINTON: Well, no, I’ve always tried…
PELLEY: I mean, Jimmy Carter said, “I will never lie to you.”
CLINTON: Well, but, you know, you’re asking me to say, “Have I ever?” I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever have. I don’t believe I ever will. I’m gonna do the best I can to level with the American people.
This banter is reminiscent of a scene in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta H.M.S. Pinafore in which the Admiral tells the chorus that “I never, never use the big big D” (damn).
They replay, in song, “What never?”
Emphatically the Admiral answers “No never!”
“What never????” they challenge again.
This time the Admiral retreats to a Hillary-esque response “Well…hardly ever!”
In the H.M.S operetta, the chorus gives three cheers for the Admiral. In Nevada, they are likely going to vote for Sanders.