Posted on September 19, 2016
Hillary Lies Down
Diminution as electoral strategy
Are we to believe she thought “C” was for “cookie”?
One of Hillary Clinton’s more implausible excuses for her mishandling of classified e-mails is that she didn’t understand that a parenthetical letter “C” meant the information that followed was confidential. Instead, she claims to have thought that the paragraphs were marked in alphabetical order. Why paragraph C was never preceded by paragraph B, or followed by paragraph D, does not seem to have ever occurred to her. Perhaps she’s just never learned her ABCs.
This is the same Hillary Clinton who, when asked if she had wiped her server, responded, “What, like with a cloth or something?” Yes, Hillary, and don’t forget to put stamps on all your e-mails before sending them.
When FBI Director James Comey announced that no charges would be filed against Mrs. Clinton, he never actually used the word “blithering,” but you get the idea. Her dumb act allowed Comey to conclude that her mishandling of classified materials had not been intentional. In other words, he pretended to believe her cockamamie story about the alphabetized paragraphs.
The recently released State Department nondisclosure agreement signed by Secretary Clinton tells a different story. That statement defines “classified information” as “marked or unmarked classified information, including oral communications, that is classified under the standards of Executive Order 12958, or any other Executive order, or statute that prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of information in the interest of national security.”
How could she be expected to know what information was classified, even if it wasn’t labeled as such? The answer to that can be found in the following clause of the agreement, which says, “I hereby acknowledge that I have received a security indoctrination concerning the nature and protection of classified information.” Furthermore, if she needed any clarification regarding the contents of Executive Order 12958, she could have simply asked its author, President William Jefferson Clinton.
When a presidential candidate lies, it is usually to make himself appear greater than he truly is. There are countless examples of this, perhaps the most famous being Al Gore’s boast that, “I took the initiative in creating the internet.” (And no, Snopes, you embarrassing liberal sandal-lickers, his critics weren’t perpetrating a hoax by paraphrasing that as a claim to have invented the internet. We have ample corroborating evidence of Gore’s delusions of grandeur, in case you’re interested, which of course you’re not.)
Yet here we have another presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, who is lying in order to lower herself, but why? Maybe it’s because her popularity has not benefited from the common portrayal of her over the past quarter century as a creature of superhuman intelligence and competence. If you fear her intensely, as many voters do, part of the reason is probably your expectation that, if president, she will be able to implement her agenda and punish her enemies with cold, robotic efficiency.
When judging Hillary’s political competence, people often forget that her attempt to create her own national health care system was a colossal failure that cost her party both houses of Congress. What they tend to remember is that her plan was so complex and indecipherably wonkish that the printed version was virtually impenetrable, and when diagrammed, it resembled the blueprints from the Death Star. The image this created of Hillary as an endlessly calculating automaton surely compares unfavorably to this new character, the Hillary who doesn’t know which end of the toothbrush to use.
To a candidate whose greatest liability is untrustworthiness, the appearance of stupidity can be very helpful. Maybe she really did think the Benghazi attack was triggered by a YouTube video. Maybe she really doesn’t see how her exorbitant speaking fees appeared to be political payoffs. Maybe she really did believe her husband’s infidelities had been fabricated by a vast, right-wing conspiracy. If we believe that the FBI honestly accepted her absurd excuses about her e-mails, all else suddenly becomes credible.
One of the most effective arguments for Donald Trump is that he’s so wacky, you never know what he’s going to do, whereas you know what Hillary Clinton is going to do, and you don’t want her to. By playing dumb, Hillary just might nullify that advantage by making herself appear equally unpredictable.
If this lie works, and she wins the election, she’ll surely want to maintain the act into her presidency. Instead of “God bless the United States of America,” she could simply end her State of the Union Address by saying, “Goodnight, Hillary.”
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