Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Major Truths vs. “Minor Blips”

The latest laughable episode in Senator Hillary Clinton’s efforts to pad her “foreign policy experience” résumé as a qualification to be president is her outright lie about being “under fire” during a junket to Bosnia in March of 1996. Even the TV journalists who were with her at the time had to acknowledge it was a lie – or what she called a “misstatement.”

MSNBC quoted an Associated Press article of March 25, “Clinton ‘misspoke’ over sniper claims,” which reported her telling the Philadelphia Daily News:

“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.”


“I went to eighty countries, you know. I gave contemporaneous accounts, I wrote about a lot of this in my book. You know, 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 a misstatement.”

I mean, you know, after all, what is the meaning of is? You know? I mean, I’m really inarticulate in this kind of bind, and I have a foggy memory of when exactly I was under sniper fire, or where. I traveled so much when First Lady as part of my experience. So when you catch me in a lie – I mean, a minor blip, a misstatement – it really rattles me, you know. But I’m sure I could think clearly if I got a call at 3 o’clock in the morning about an Iranian nuclear missile that incinerated Philadelphia, it wouldn’t rattle me at all, I mean, I have all that foreign policy experience. I actually touched the red phone in Bill’s office, and that counts as experience, doesn’t it?

All three major networks have run the clips of her pseudo-hazardous landing and reception in Bosnia. The videos could just as well have been made during a tour of Disney Land.

Watching the clip of her committing her latest gaffe about “snipers” in Bosnia, and with the knowledge of her actual record – Vince Foster, Ron Brown, TrooperGate, TravelGate, White Water, the commodities profits, and so on – one can see how comfortable she is in a state of congenital dissimilitude and how effortlessly “misstatements” come to her. It is one of many vices she has in common with her husband.

Still, why would anyone think that coming under “sniper attack” in any circumstances, even if there were a grain of truth to the assertion, qualifies one to be president? How does that constitute foreign policy “experience”? (For that matter, Senator John McCain’s experience as a POW hardly qualifies him for the presidency.)

What experience can she truthfully claim? As “co-president,” she was a tyrannical, unelected, foul-mouthed harridan browbeating, arm-twisting, favor-calling, and pressuring Congressmen to push through her socialist health care plan on the country. Aside from that, she went on numerous taxpayer-funded “good will” junkets around the world.

The Daily Telegraph of March 20, in an article, “Hillary Clinton papers sink experience claims,” reported,

“Hillary Clinton’s boasts that she gained major foreign policy experience as First Lady have been undermined after 11,046 pages of her White House schedules provided scant evidence to back up her claims….The documents were made public by the U.S. National Archives [and also by Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Arkansas] after pressure from her rival Barack Obama and freedom-of-information groups.

“Many details were redacted [edited] at the request of lawyers acting for former president Bill Clinton, citing privacy and national security concerns.”

So much for full disclosure. If the papers were edited, abridged or simply censored, can they be treated as the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

The Associated Press, in “Clinton releases first lady papers” on March 19, reported that,

“In all, 11,046 pages have been made available. Nearly 4,800 pages have parts blacked out. Archivists said that’s to protect the privacy of third parties….Her Democratic presidential campaign released a statement Wednesday saying the schedules spanning her two terms as first lady ‘illustrate the array of substantive issues she worked on’ and her travel to more than eighty countries ‘in pursuit of the administration’s domestic and foreign policy goals.’”

Who are those “third parties” whose identities and privacy must be protected? Parties to other scandals, crimes and misdemeanors?

And what were those “substantive” issues Hillary claims as “foreign policy experience”? Glad-handing prime ministers and their wives. Having countless pictures taken with them and groups of children. Attending state dinners. Making speeches to charity and public interest groups. Baby-kissing. Making courtesy calls. Autographing books and other mementoes.

In 1998, for example, during a visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland, according to the Daily Telegraph,

“…[S]he and Cherie Blair, then the prime minister’s wife, were to ‘proceed to the children’s play area, where children were creating playground models.’ They were then to ‘proceed down the path where they are joined by 25 children with balloons’ and go ‘to the top of the hill and release the balloons.’”

The Associated Press article reports that,

“…[I]n her January 1994 visit to Russia with her husband, her schedule is focused on events with political wives. She sat in on a birthing class at a hospital, toured a cathedral and joined prominent women in a lunch of blinis with caviar and salmon….The Clinton campaign said the schedules are merely a guide and don’t reflect all of her activities.”

You can bet they don’t. Very likely they have been “redacted” to protect the guilty and the complicit.

All three major news networks are now concerned that the “sniping” between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is damaging the Democrats’ chances of winning the White House in November.

And there we have it: Running for president is a habitual liar and a youngish, charismatic man whose “spiritual mentor and guide” is a ranting witch doctor and who is sounding more and more like Hitler. And we all thought that it could not get any worse than President George Bush, whose favorite philosopher is Jesus Christ and who formulates his own foreign policy on advice from God.

Speaking of Senator McCain, the Associated Press on March 24 reported, in “High Court rejects anti-Clinton movie appeal,” that the Supreme Court is not unfriendly to censorship and the strictures of McCain-Feingold.

“The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from a conservative group that wants to promote its anti-Hillary Clinton movie without complying with campaign finance laws….The court’s decision leaves in place a lower court ruling that says the group, Citizens United, must attach a disclaimer and disclose its donors in order to run the ads….Campaign regulations prohibit corporations and unions from paying for ads that run close to elections and identify candidates….The case is Citizens United v. FEC 07-953 (Federal Election Committee).”

While Hillary got help from an unlikely source, a judiciary that does not hold the First Amendment as inviolate, it is doubtful that the Citizens United ads or the movie itself would discredit her any more than she and her husband are doing themselves.

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