One of the problems that has baffled journalists for months now is Hillary Clinton’s extraordinary unpopularity. Despite being lucky enough to run against a slur-swinging megalomaniac-turned-reality-TV-star, Clinton’s unfavorability ratings remain an average of 54 percent — only four points better than that of the Donald.
This month’s Atlantic gave a sophisticated pitch of what seems to be the emerging explanation for the more bitter aspects of Clinton’s unpopularity: “Clinton’s candidacy is sparking” a “sexist backlash.” Misogyny, The Atlantic explains, is how a “highly conventional presidential candidate” could face such “unconventional” dislike.
The argument, of course, was empirically uncompelling — Clinton was assumed comparable to Obama and the author ignored female political figures like Palin or Fiorina who enjoyed popularity in the same demographics that eviscerate Clinton. But what was most marked about the article was the author’s startling blindness to the primary reason that Clinton faces severe hatred within voter demographics that are not, like his own, staunchly establishment-Democrat.
For, in scouring journals to find evidence of societal misogyny, The Atlantic failed to note that no major politician in living memory has run for president with such a clear and continuous record of involvement in unethical activity and demonstrable mendacity when questioned about the same.
Over the past decade and a half Clinton has profited greatly from companies paying her husband to “give speeches” directly before she put forth policies favorable to those companies specific interests.
For instance, in 2008, Clinton had to prepare an environmental impact statement on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Clinton publicly opposed the Pipeline but after the largest shareholder in the Pipeline project sponsored 2 million dollars worth of Clinton speeches, her private attitude seemed to change. Shortly thereafter, Clinton put through a report so favorable to the pipeline project that the EPA threw a fit — and Congress moved forward with an attempt to approve the project.
Examples of such apparent corruption — from the Keystone XL Pipeline to Swedish telecom giant Ericsson — could be (and have been) enumerated at great length leading to the ineluctable empirical conclusion that the Clintons do make specific policy decisions in response to specific financial contributions to their foundation and their private pockets.
What else goes on, nobody — but close Clinton associates — seems to know.
But there is little chance that her behind-the-scenes operations are legal, much less ethical. To take an example in the news last week, Clinton’s former chief of staff required immunity in exchange for cooperation with the FBI investigation of the Clinton email server. She was following in the footsteps of four other Clinton aides and associates, forced to deal with the FBI over Clinton’s emails. This does not mean, of course, that the FBI found evidence of wrongdoing among them, but it does mean that Clinton’s own aides were so acutely conscious of being in a cesspool of illegality that they figured an investigation was likely to find reason to charge them, even if, in the final analysis, they might only have been guilty by association.
It is this kind of thing that creates a particular frustration about Clinton as a candidate. The Clintons have perfected a system of mendacity which allows them to reap the benefits (worth, at minimum, millions of dollars) of shady behavior at the apparent price of little more than Bill’s $90,000 fine for perjury.
Each time it seems the Clintons may go down permanently in yet another scandal, they tell a careful sequence of lies that demonstrates their guilt without leading to their punishment. To take the most recent email scandal, Clinton claimed in 2015 that she provided to the State Department “all [her] emails that could possibly be work-related,” in order to avoid troubling allegations that held some back. When nearly three dozen Clinton emails surfaced that were clearly work-related and had not been handed over, Clinton was not punished. Instead, she simply backtracked on her previous lie, claiming she did not send or receive any “classified material” being “well aware of the classification requirements” — parrying a second accusation of criminal carelessness in handling information.
When classified emails were found on her server, Clinton retreated again, claiming they were not “marked classified” at the time they were sent and received. When emails were found with content marked by a parenthetical ‘C’, denoting classification, Clinton settled on her current claim that she did not know what ‘C’ stood for, speculating that “it was referencing paragraphs marked in alphabetical order,” despite the absence of any other part of the alphabet heading other paragraphs.
Clinton has not backed down on this startling assertion, and — though it is clearly untrue since it references her own psychology — it cannot be conclusively proved false.
And that, I think, is the reason so many Americans find the Clintons infuriating. From Travelgate, to Whitewater, to Paula Jones, to 1600 Pennsylvania — in retrospect, the Clintons clearly always have a piece of the guilt, but — with one exception only — they have never failed to lie their way out of the penalty.
JEREMIAH KEENAN is a College senior from China, studying mathematics and classical studies. His email address is email@example.com. “Keen on the Truth” usually appears every other Thursday.
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