During an election you expect to see all kinds of laudatory bullsh** slung about by the friends, relatives, cronies, and paid associates of candidates. This year is no different. But there comes a time when the line between fluffing and sloppy and grotesque, public and demeaning fellating of a candidate is breached and you must say No Más. Today we reached that point.
Writing in USA Today, Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow and director of research in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution, goes above and beyond the call of duty.
As I have watched this presidential race, and the debate over Hillary Clinton ever since the Benghazi tragedy of 2012, I have been disturbed to see a fine American and kindly human dragged so frequently into the mud. To be sure, if you think she’s wrong on the issues, don’t vote for her. But the caricature of her as dishonest, greedy and overly ambitious is unfair and inaccurate.
It’s not just on serious matters that I find Hillary engaging and effective. She is also fun, and funny. That doesn’t always come through on the campaign trail, especially given the threat posed by Donald Trump and the way he tends to drag down the debate to mean-spirited insults. But I have seen it multiple times in my limited dealings with Hillary.
These are small stories, and I have a few more. They don’t mean that much by themselves, but they do reflect the character of a person who is friendly, funny, caring and attentive to detail. I know scores of people who have worked with and for Hillary, more closely than I have. They virtually all say the same thing. Obviously, most politicians are at least moderately popular with their own staffs and teams. But believe me, it’s not always that way — and it’s rare to have virtually unanimous sentiment that’s so positive.
So if you disagree with Clinton’s views, don’t vote for her. However, please think twice before buying into the caricature of her that’s been created by her political foes. When she left the secretary of State position in early 2013 with a 69% favorable rating, they saw that their only hope of beating her in 2016 was to paint her as someone she’s not.
It isn’t like the reputation Clinton has for being “dishonest, greedy and overly ambitious” (he left out incompetent and wildly corrupt, but whatever) is unearned. This kind of miasma hangs over a politician only when there is a certain level of evidence to support it. Virtually every facet of Clinton’s public life is slathered with a thick coating of greed and dishonesty. Let’s start with the firing of the White House travel office staff in order to replace them with Clinton cronies. The Cattle Futures deal. Whitewater. The billing records of the Rose Law Firm mysteriously appearing in the White House. Her role in slandering and discrediting her husband’s mistresses and the victims of his sexual assaults. Renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to big dollar donors. Her fees for giving speeches. Her role in using the State Department to rake in cash for the Clinton Foundation. Her private email server. Her disingenuous and dishonest testimony on Benghazi and the email server. Lying to the American people about Benghazi. Lying to the families of the men slain in Benghazi. Accusing the families of the men slain in Benghazi of lying. Lying about her health. The list goes on and on. And I haven’t touched the sheer incompetence and the failure of Biblical proportion that follows her from job to job. Do you really think the American response to the “Arab Spring” was a good thing? Or that Syria’s Bashar Assad is a “reformer?” Or that we were safer after four years of her stewardship at State?
O’Hanlon admits he doesn’t know her well but he wants us to believe that his few and fleeting contacts with Clinton offset the very public record of greed and dishonesty that Hillary Clinton has amassed. One can’t help but remember that Hitler was had a fondness for children (of the right sort) and dogs along with his penchant for warmongering and genocide.
Many years ago I worked in Washington, DC, and had a nodding acquaintance with many of the members of the City Council and the Mayor’s inner circle. One guy I always liked running into was the Councilman for Ward 6, Harold Brazil. He was funny, he had lots of hilarious stories, he always remembered your name and what you’d talked about the last time you bumped into each other. I made a comment to that effect to a friend of mine who was closely involved in DC politics. He said, “If you don’t know Harold you really like him. If you know him, you don’t like him. If you really know him, you hate him.”
I have no reason to doubt O’Hanlon’s personal experience with Clinton but, as they say, the plural of anecdote is not data. And we need to add to the bill of indictment for Clinton that in addition to being greedy and dishonest she has the Trump-like ability to utterly beclown and demean anyone who is associated with her.