Hillary’s gaffes, then and now
If Joe Biden ends up running against Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democrat presidential nomination, it’ll be the Godzilla vs. Mothra of gaffe smackdowns. Both of them say the most amazingly stupid things when someone points a camera at them. Biden’s gaffes tend to be funnier, giving him a goofball reputation that voters aren’t likely to be impressed by during a presidential run, and which masks what a vicious partisan he is. Hillary’s gaffes underscore her tone-deaf oblivion to the world outside her circle of sycophants, and her utter inability to connect with average Americans, which would be quite a handicap on the campaign trail.
For example, here’s Clinton on Sunday complaining that “the American political system is probably the most difficult, even brutal, in the world.”
Oh, I don’t know, Mrs. Clinton. I can think of some people in a variety of other countries who might argue their political systems are more brutal, if we could use a Ouija board to get in touch with them. Her idiocy is even more eye-popping when you consider she’s in the middle of a silly identity-politics discussion about the difficulty of women running for the White House. Shall we compare that “difficult” and “brutal” system to the countries where women aren’t even allowed to vote? Or the countries where nobody gets to vote?
This would have been a bizarre statement even if it had been made by a space alien who arrived on Earth just a few days ago, in a time of relative tranquility. For the former Secretary of Freaking State to make it, while Iraq burns in the background, is mind-blowing. (And it should be noted for the record that Clinton was as clueless on Iraq as Barack Obama.) The starship Enterprise doesn’t have deflector shields as strong as the ideological bubble surrounding Hillary Clinton.
This weekend also brought the release of “The Hillary Tapes” as the Washington Free Beacon called them: a series of interviews for an Esquire magazine profile that was never published. In these interviews, Clinton discusses her great legal triumph of getting an accused child rapist out of 30 years in the slammer. As the Free Beacon observes, this story “calls into question Clinton’s narrative of her early years as a devoted women and children’s advocate in Arkansas – a narrative the 2016 presidential frontrunner continues to promote on her current book tour.”
“It was a fascinating case, it was a very interesting case,” Clinton says in the recording. “This guy was accused of raping a 12-year-old. Course he claimed that he didn’t, and all this stuff.”
Describing the events almost a decade after they had occurred, Clinton’s struck a casual and complacent attitude toward her client and the trial for rape of a minor.
“I had him take a polygraph, which he passed – which forever destroyed my faith in polygraphs,” she added with a laugh.
Clinton can also be heard laughing at several points when discussing the crime lab’s accidental destruction of DNA evidence that tied Taylor to the crime.
Naturally, Clinton’s defenders rushed to point out that her client was entitled to the most vigorous defense she could muster, although it has also been noted that she may have behaved unethically during the mid-1908s interview by discussing the results of his polygraph and potential guilt (which she seems chillingly certain of, given that crack about how her faith in polygraphs was forever destroyed.)
Also unsurprisingly, the same people who thought Mitt Romney allegedly giving another lad an involuntary haircut four decades ago, or transporting his dog in a carrier on the roof of his car in the 80s, were the biggest stories in the world promptly declared Hillary Clinton’s experiences as a young lawyer “old news.” Given the importance of identity politics to Clinton’s campaign, I doubt these tapes are going to glide past without leaving a mark, especially when the women of today hear her laughing about the case. It’s not a game-over problem in and of itself, but as with the old Romney news that was assiduously deployed to influence public perception of his modern character, it will reinforce the sense of callous artificiality and imperial disconnect that accompanies Clinton through her growing trail of inconvenient statements.
Besides blind partisan loyalty and the unshakeable support of hard-core liberal feminists, the best thing Hillary has going for her is Democrat nostalgia for her husband. I think Bill Clinton’s reputation for political talent is somewhat overrated – he got into office on a once-in-a-century fluke, he was radioactive when he left, and what Democrats are really nostalgic for is the mythology that they once fielded a President who didn’t tank the U.S. economy, coupled with folk-hero appreciation for Slick Willie as the rascal who put one over on those prudish Republicans. But he definitely did have a gift for avoiding tin-eared gaffes, which his wife assuredly does not share. One of the reasons empathy has become the single most important measure of presidential character is that every other metric of character was abandoned for the benefit of Bill Clinton. Ironically, his wife has more trouble appearing empathetic to the Sainted Middle Class than any other major contender in living memory.
Also, Bill Clinton enjoyed the tail end of a small and slanted media landscape, which shifted in large measure because of the scorched-earth battle to keep him in office after the Lewinsky scandal broke. Hillary simply cannot rely upon the complete erasure of her mistakes. She makes too many of them, and her damage-control efforts aren’t the smooth, gliding moonwalks Bill was so good at performing.