Hillary’s Transparency Dyslexia

Democratic politics require a certain amount of transparency.

Voters want to know that their candidates are forthcoming with information, trustworthy and willing to open their pasts to the people. A good candidate realizes they need to show constituents the process of their politics.

Hillary Clinton‘s most recent scandals show her commitment to transparency, but not the popular kind.

The former first lady caused a stink yesterday when she answered a The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review journalist’s question regarding Barack Obama‘s embattled former preacher, Jeremiah Wright, “I just think you have to speak out against that, speaking against what she called hate speech… You certainly have to do that, if not explicitly, then implicitly, by getting up and moving.” Alright, that’s not so scandalous. She’s simply answering a question. The contention, however, came later in the day, when Clinton again addressed the issue, this time offering a more detailed and well-aimed response:

You know, we don’t have a choice when it comes to our relatives. We have a choice when it comes to our pastors and the churches we attend. Everyone will have to decide these matters for themselves. They are obviously very personal matters, but I was asked what I would do if he were my pastor, and I said I think this choice would be clear for me.

While Clinton supporters will defend the Senator by pointing out she was simply clarifying an earlier report, others accuse the former first lady of throwing up a smoke screen. Time’s Joe Klein certainly thinks so, telling Anderson Cooper last night:

…What we saw, I think, is pretty transparent and a very clear sign of desperation. She moved the — you know, the focus of this campaign back to race and hate speech as an issue. Now, that may well be a — you know, a significant issue in this campaign.

But to deny that what she did today was, you know, finally moving that issue into the fore, in order to distract attention from her embarrassment is baloney. You know, I — I think it’s pretty clear what happened today, and it’s a real sign of desperation on the part of the Clinton campaign.

Clinton’s comments came conveniently close to CBS News footage contradicting the Senator’s account of an official trip to Bosnia. She has repeatedly described her landing in the war torn nation as perilous, complete with sniper fire and a rush to safety:

I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead, we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.

Video of her landing, however, clearly shows Clinton yucking it up with American soldiers. None of the parties – including first daughter, Chelsea Clinton – looked harried or, for that matter, hurried. In fact, it looks like quite the leisurely landing.

Clinton’s Bosnia scandal is just one of Clinton’s questionable exaggerations. She once told voters that she played a key role in bringing peace to North Ireland. Former North Ireland minister Lord Trimble of Lisnagarvey later debunked that statement as “silly,” pointing out that Clinton played a largely ceremonial role, while her president husband did the dirty work. Of course, Hillary did get her hand dirties during her time at the White House, as seen in her NAFTA participation.

Clinton, whose husband passed NAFTA in the 90s, said during this campaign that she has always opposed the trade agreement. But tecently released White House schedules – which were only made public after a lawsuit pressed the matter – place Clinton at a number of pro-NAFTA events. Actually, despite what she’s claimed, the schedules place Clinton at no less than five meetings “aimed at helping to win congressional approval of the deal.” Now that the heat’s been turned to high and her exaggerations catch up with her, the usually cool Clinton’s getting flustered.

Consider the Senator’s defensive response to the Bosnia question:

I think that, a minor blip, you know, if I said something that, you know, I say a lot of things – millions of words a day – so if I misspoke it was just a misstatement.

Mrs. Clinton later tried to sweeten her sour with a failed attempt at humor: “I made a mistake. That happens. It proves I’m human, which, you know, for some people is a revelation.”

To err is human, yes, but there’s nothing divine about politically advantageous resume padding, which does not invite public forgiveness. Nor should it.

Clinton’s clearly not prepared to be honest with the American public. The Wright controversy should have been wrapped up last week, when Obama delivered his now seminal speech on race in America. The Senator’s statements were nothing more than a way to distract voters from her phony boasting. And, more distressingly, her most recent remarks give the public an ugly view of just how much she believes in transparency: she doesn’t.

If Hillary Clinton wants to win back voter’s trust, she needs to take positive steps to establish herself as a trustworthy candidate. And if she can’t do that, well, she may want to start planning her Senatorial reelection.

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  • Chris

    Andrew, do you scour the Web to find the most unflattering pictures of Hillary Clinton to accompany your incredibly biased coverage of this election?

    Your hatred of Hillary Clinton and uncritical coverage of Barack Obama is almost as ugly as your recent redesign.

  • Peter

    Chris – I have to agree with you there!

  • -M-

    LOL @ Chris

    Sour grapes?

  • She Just Lost One

    I have absolutely no respect for Senator Clinton right now. I was going to back any of the democratic nominees for the presidency. I saw both of them as dynamic possibilities to lead our country forward. However, with her use of this kitchen sink strategy, I have lost any and all respect for her.

  • msim

    I don’t find this report critical as much as it is true.
    In the UK, where achieving peace in Northern Ireland meant a great deal to the nation; all media, and ordinary people, and Nobel prize winners were baffled when Ms.Clinton tried to insert her insignificant presence into this historical event.

    An inflated ego is a terrible thing when it is combined with that much self-entitlement. I wish for a woman president, but certainly not her.

  • Jono

    The senator has done a great job representing New York. It had been a difficult struggle wondering who to vote for during the primary. That said, I dutifully voted for her however if the primary were to be held tomorrow I would switch my vote for Obama.

    The piece above brings out certain truths that I’ve been avoiding and plastering over out of loyalty.

    For all my devotion to her as a senator, I do hope she’ll drop out of the race instead of hurling everything she can at a good man who is also eager to serve his country.

    I’m not saying the Obama shouldn’t be criticized but at this point our criticism and energy should be directed at the Republicans or we’re not going to win the White House or take back the Congress by any useful margins.

  • jim

    She even “misspoke” when talking about “misspeaking”. She said that she says “millions of words a day”.

    Sorry, that’s not possible. Even saying 4 words per second for EVERY second of an 18 hour long workday, that would only be about a quarter million words per day.

  • Bitch Republic

    Barack Obama likes to claim Hillary is negatively campaigning when he’s being just as negative or more so. Obama has also told huge whoppers of lies about how he passed bills in Illinois that never, ever happened.

  • Leland Frances

    Meanwhile, here’s a sampler of Obama at his most transparent. I particularly like the part about our New Messiah apparently staying in his mother’s womb for five years…absolutely tops “The Virgin Birth.”

    “Barack Obama, caught up in the fervor of a campaign speech Tuesday, drastically overstated the Kansas tornadoes death toll, saying 10,000 had died. “In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died—an entire town destroyed,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in a speech to 500 people packed into a sweltering Richmond art studio for a fundraiser. The death toll was 12.” – Associated Press, May 8, 2007

    “[Obama told a] stirring tale for the Selma audience about how he had been conceived by his parents, Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham, because they had been inspired by the fervor following the “Bloody Sunday” voting rights demonstration that was commemorated March 4. “There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala.,” he said, “because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don’t tell me I don’t have a claim on Selma, Ala. Don’t tell me I’m not coming home to Selma, Ala.” Obama was born in 1961, and the Selma march occurred four years later, in 1965. The New York Times reported that when the senator was asked about the discrepancy later that day, he clarified: “I meant the whole civil rights movement.” – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3304.html

    “He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was “the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.” “I just did that last year,” he said, to murmurs of approval. But, contrary to Mr. Obama’s comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate.” – http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/us/politics/03exelon.html

    “At the [January 2008] debate, Obama stated: “I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single-payer.” At an AFL-CIO conference in June 2003 while campaigning for the Senate [he said], “I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare coverage. That’s what I’d like to see.”- http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/clinton-hopes-to-paint-obama-as-healthcare-flip-flopper-2008-01-22.html

    “But for your audience, your readership, the one thing that I do want to make sure is [that they understand that is regarding…] the human rights ordinance in Illinois that is the equivalent of what we’ve been attempting to do at the federal level and that I was a chief cosponsor of and then passed….” -http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid50021.asp
    Not only was Obama not a cosponsor of any kind of SB3186, he was no longer even in the Illinois Senate when it was voted on.

    “Obama said that Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a fellow Democrat from neighboring West Virginia, had read the intelligence estimate as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and after a brief pause said the then-chairman had voted against the war resolution. However, Rockefeller was not the chair at the time and voted in favor of the war authorization.” – Fox News, 3/3/08

    “[Obama said] in a memoir published in 1995 that his grandfather was a Muslim and that [Barack] means “blessed” in Arabic. … On the campaign trail during his 2004 Senate race, Obama told reporters that “Barack” was Swahili for “blessed by God.” – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0207/2694.html

    “during a meeting with reporters at his Illinois campaign headquarters after his election to the U.S. Senate he ridiculed as “a silly question” whether he would run for president or vice president before his term ends in 2011. “I’ve never worked in Washington,” he said. “I can unequivocally say I will not be running for national office in four years, and my entire focus is making sure that I’m the best possible senator on behalf of the people of Illinois.” – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0207/2694.html

    Tim Russert: “So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?”
    Obama: “I will not.” – Meet the Press, Jan. 22, 2006

    “In July of 2004, the day after his speech at the Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an “absolute obligation” to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success.” – Boston Globe

    “the Chicago Tribune reported that an extensive search found no basis for an episode Obama recounts about a picture he ran across in Life magazine of a “black man who had tried to peel off his skin” in a failed effort to use chemicals to lighten it. Obama writes that “seeing that article was violent for me, an ambush attack.” The Tribune reported: “Yet no such Life issue exists, according to historians at the magazine. No such photos, no such article. When asked about the discrepancy, Obama said in a recent interview, ‘It might have been an Ebony or it might have been … who knows what it was?’ (At the request of the Tribune, archivists at Ebony searched their catalogue of past articles, none of which matched what Obama recalled.)” – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3304.html

    “I know that I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington,” Obama said as he launched his campaign last month, “but I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.” That carries a distinct echo of a line in Edwards’ announcement speech in 2003: “I haven’t spent most of my life in politics, which most of you know, but I’ve spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington.” – http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0307/3304.html

    Obama has often said he is “a constitutional law professor.” He is actually no more than a “Senior Lecturer (on leave of absence)” at the University of Chicago Law School. Think of a nurse claiming to be a doctor and you can appreciate the irritation of actual professors with his equivocation.

    etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

    Obama is likely to get the nomination but it will be after traveling a decades-long path of lies, exaggerations, and misstatements every bit as bad as anything Sen. Clinton has been accused of.

  • Dan

    One consistent theme from the Hillary supporters – they refuse to confront this issue head on. All they can do is engage in diversionary tactics (Wright! Biased Media! Pretty Shiny Dangling Car Keys!). And for good reason – if Hillary actually came forward and admitted to what she did (blatant, egregious lie used to inflate her experience), her campaign would instantly implode.

    In other words, if she was honest (for a change), she’d cease being a candidate.

  • hisurfer

    My take is that the pressure gets to all of them. Didn’t Reagan used to give speeches where he would confuse his movies with his real life, and talk about his combat experience?

    We can do this to any politician or public figure. If we have a well-oiled media machine we can make anyone look like a fool, simply by replaying endless clips of them acting foolish. AS WE ALL DO. Most of us are lucky, and aren’t being filmed 24-7.

    My fear is that the Right has shown that it is still very active with their poison tactics. Obama and Hillary have both now been subject to media-saturation of embarrassing videos. McCain, who has had an equal number of ugly incidents (yelling at reporters, forgetting who we’re fighting in Iraq) is getting a free ride.

    And Obama’s camp and Hillary’s camp are playing right into it, in the hope of beating the other.

  • M Shane

    Good Picture Andrew: it shows Hillary as being Human: as if she was sucking on her words. I wasn’t raised to believe that telling big
    whopper lies was necessary to being human. You can be certain, if she was in the middle of a bunch of sniper fire she would remember it..Calling it a “misstatement “is just to compound the lie. Even had she said that she “exagerated,” it might have been passable.
    This is in good timing wth Bill’s deceipteful intimidation of the young woman about DOMA.

    NAFTA is not a minor point at all that she can be pulling our legs about: it is the issue at hand which tells us if she is a democrate or a republican. If she played such a heavy role in Bill’s actions , e.g. No. Ireland,how are we to believe that they will not be equally as enmessed if she becomes president.

  • Trey07

    Let’s talk about something which is really important…as someone else mentioned above…this crappy layout for Queerty. Am I the only one that hates the fact that when you click on one picture, it doesn’t give you the option of moving on to the next one?

  • Peter Pan

    Bill Clinton: I did not have sex with that women!

    Hilary Clinton: I remember landing under sniper fire!

    What a lovely family!

    If you vote for her, you deserve her!

    Greetings from Europe.

  • I'm So Sure, Helen

    I can’t decide if this has the makings of a Greek tragedy or a Shakespeare comedy.

    Now, all I can do is laugh at this mess. The Democrats had the White House on a silver platter, but it is fast slipping away. At this rate, the Republicans will be voted in again. To quote Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” “Sad, sad, sad.”

    After years of political apathy, I finally got excited about this election. At this rate, I probably won’t vote in November.

  • Patrick C

    Obama is a joke!

  • Mr C

    So are The Clinton’s A BIG JOKE

  • Taylor

    She flat out lied. She even laughed about it when she was telling the lie. In the end the Dems will lose the White House mainly because of lies like these and the nasty dirty politcs that we see.

  • M Shane

    I don’t approve of Hillarys fibing, Taylor. However you have lost any sense of reality whatsoever if you believe that the Republicans are in any way-any Without any exception, nothing that the Democrates could possibly do could would be equivalent to the crimes against humanity and the perverse, greedy deception of the American Worlsd and people.

    I watched a new film preview last night about the French attorney who has made a career of defending mass murderers and terrorists of the world;(believing that everyone deserves a voice);When they asked him if he would defend someone as horrible as Hitler he responded; that he would go one worse” I would even defend Bush! But only if he plead quilty.” That of course goes for the whole brutal, lying bunch.

  • jababe

    Hisurfer–you are correct sir.
    Obama supporters can’t feel good about this, Hillary supporters can’t feel good about this…the media is swiftboating us all while we are busy hate-blogging each other and name calling two of the most brilliant and capable candiates either party has had the pleasure of having in eons! Mad at Hillary? Mad at Obama? Do yourself a favor and watch this video,and remember why either of them make McCrazy look like chopped liver. Don’t forget to love on somebody gay today, even if the somebody is you! Peace.


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