Frank Rich: Hillary’s St. Patrick’s Day Massacre

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In January, after Senator Clinton first inserted the threat of “sniper fire” into her stump speech, Elizabeth Sullivan of The Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote that the story couldn’t be true because by the time of the first lady’s visit in March 1996, “the war was over.” Meredith Vieira asked Mrs. Clinton on the “Today” show why, if she was on the front lines, she took along a U.S.O. performer like Sinbad. Earlier this month, a week before Mrs. Clinton fatefully rearmed those snipers one time too many, Sinbad himself spoke up to The Washington Post: “I think the only ‘red phone’ moment was: Do we eat here or at the next place?”

Yet Mrs. Clinton was undeterred. She dismissed Sinbad as a “comedian” and recycled her fiction once more on St. Patrick’s Day. When Michael Dobbs fact-checked it for The Post last weekend and proclaimed it worthy of “four Pinocchios,” her campaign pushed back. The Clinton camp enforcer Howard Wolfson phoned in to “Morning Joe” on MSNBC Monday and truculently quoted a sheaf of news stories that he said supported her account. Only later that day, a full week after her speech, did he start to retreat, suggesting it was “possible” she “misspoke” in the “most recent instance” of her retelling of her excellent Bosnia adventure.

Since Mrs. Clinton had told a similar story in previous instances, this was misleading at best. It was also dishonest to characterize what she had done as misspeaking — or as a result of sleep deprivation, as the candidate herself would soon assert. The Bosnia anecdote was part of her prepared remarks, scripted and vetted with her staff. Not that it mattered anymore. The self-inflicted damage had been done. The debate about Barack Obama’s relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was almost smothered in the rubble of Mrs. Clinton’s Bosnian bridge too far.

Which brings us back to our question: Why would so smart a candidate play political Russian roulette with virtually all the bullet chambers loaded?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsUS Presidential Election 2008* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted March 31, 2008 at 6:07 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Philip Snyder wrote:

Copmbining this with the “10% of Americans think Obama is a Muslim” post above makes me wish we could vote for “none of the above” and if > 40% of the people vote for “none of the above” we have to have a do-over with none of the people on the ballot this time eligible for next time.

It seems that democracy is the worst form of government.

Except for all the others, that is.

Of course, we could fix the system by voting for me, Phil Snyder, for Benevolent Dictator, 2008 smile.

Phil Snyder

March 31, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
2. Dee in Iowa wrote:

Phil Snyder       x         there you have my vote….

March 31, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

Well, as far as I am concerned neither is better than the other.  On the other hand this is continuing evidence of the Clintons’ serial lying.

March 31, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
4. Chris Hathaway wrote:

Reading through this article I didn’t once see the word “lie”.

March 31, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
5. TomRightmyer wrote:

The short answer is that the Clintons have gotten so used to lies that they think no one cares about the truth.  It may be in the New York water. I see a similar attitude among some of the leadership of the General Convention.

March 31, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
6. Laocoon wrote:

#4, a good observation.

March 31, 11:27 pm | [comment link]
7. Ed the Roman wrote:

Mark Steyn said it best: you can’t cast Margaret Dumont as Groucho Marx.

April 1, 1:50 am | [comment link]
8. Tar Heel wrote:

Husband Bill is a charming, lovable twister of the truth.  His wife not so charming.  Bill could get away with his act, because most of the time his folksy manner and twinkling eyes conveyed the fact that he knew he was lying, and so did everyone else.  No big deal.  The only time he got into real trouble was when he dropped the folksy, pointed the finger at us and told us he did “not have sex with that woman.”  We still knew he was lying, but he was trying to convince us otherwise.

Hillary has little of Bill’s charm, and is being held to a higher standard of truth because of it.

April 1, 10:14 am | [comment link]
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