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Hillary Clinton, gaffes, and the list of all-purpose excuses

by | Jun 16, 2014


By Dave Andrusko

HillaryClinton88reI meant to comment about pro-abortion Hillary Clinton last week, thought better of it (it’s a LONG ways to 2016), then decided a few words would be in order.

As you probably no doubt already know, Clinton, a former U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State, is touted as the odds-on favorite to be the Democrats’ presidential nominee in 2016. I always thought that was preposterously presumptuous, not just because it is only mid-2014, but because Clinton is an obviously flawed candidate who, if anything, is even less patient with criticism than her famously hyper-sensitive husband.

And it’s not just that Mrs. Clinton says some remarkably clumsy—make that embarrassingly revealing—remarks. There is nothing new in her latest “gaffes”—including the bizarre comment to Diane Sawyer that she and Bill Clinton came out his two terms in office “dead broke,” indeed in debt. (This was in response to Sawyer’s comment, “It has been reported you’ve made $5 million making speeches, the president’s made more than $100 million.”)

If any couple ever left the White House with their financial future more secure than the Clintons, it would be hard to name them. (Come to think of it, Barack and Michelle Obama may give them a run for their money.)

When they left the White House in January 2001, it was about an hour before she received an $8 million dollar advance for her 2003 book (Bill Clinton would do even better–$15 million for his 2004 book) and about 90 minutes before they started delivering speeches at fees that boggle the mind.

Mrs. Clinton’s defenders attribute it to “rustiness.” And, of course, there’s been numerous perfunctory assurances that mistakes this far out make no difference. So, don’t worry about the defensive, barely-controlled anger in her interview with NPR’s Terry Gross over when and why she changed her stance on gay marriage.

So what’s interesting, actually, is not that the Clintons made extraordinary amounts of money; or that Hillary Clinton is the very epitome of resentment and self-pity if a line of questioning goes past her second response; or even that she has a recent trail of (to be kind) misstatements. It’s not even that were she a Republican, Mrs. Clinton would be eviscerated non-stop between now and 2016.

What’s more revealing is the strategies the Clinton entourage (in collaboration with their friends in the media) employ to protect Mrs. Clinton from the consequences of her remarks. To name just a few

  • There’s the aforementioned rustiness.
  • You asked for her to stop with the prefabricated answers, so don’t be angry/disappointed/surprised. (A.K.A. be grateful.)
  • It’s sexism (an all-purpose smear that we will hear unendingly)
  • The press is unable to handle complexity. Or as Carl Bernstein (who wrote an instantly forgettable book about Hillary Clinton) put it, “Part of her problem goes to her mistrust, justified in significant measure, of the press, and its difficulty in handling complexity and ambiguity in context.”

That is arguably one of the silliest, most disingenuous comments you will ever read. Hillary Clinton utters these clunkers because she’s been forced to reduce “complexity and ambiguity” into language those dolts in the press can handle? Please.

Finally, my favorite, from a story in POLITICO which passed this concluding remark along without comment

  • “Focus groups over the years have shown many voters find Clinton more appealing the more they listened to what she has to say, according to her advisers.”

It doesn’t make any difference whether Mrs. Clinton becomes the Mrs. Malaprop of the 2016 presidential campaign. As long as she has a “D” after her name (D for Democrat), she will, like President Obama, find that there is always an excuse for the inexcusable.

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Categories: Politics