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Why Is This Politician Taken Seriously?

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m allergic to almost all politicians – and my allergy is non-partisan.  So on those occasions when I single out a politician for ridicule, I must not be interpreted as believing that he or she is uniquely scurrilous and contemptible.  With that preface….

Hillary Clinton is much-criticized for many things – pretty much all properly so.  I’m a bit surprised, though, by the relative rarity these days of critical mentions of her false claim, in 2008, that in 1996 on a trip as First Lady to Bosnia she had to dodge gunfire.  When her lie was exposed, she excused herself by having her 2008 campaign folk explain that she “misspoke.”

So here’s a simple mental experiment.  Suppose you’re on the board of a successful corporation and the President & CEO of that corporation is about to retire.  You, as a board member, must help select the outgoing president’s replacement.  A seemingly sane candidate comes in one day for an interview and he announces that he was once in the midst of sniper fire.  That candidate then explains the hectic efforts that he and his companions took to avoid being mowed down, giving you the impression that his life was then in serious jeopardy before his fortunate escape from the attack.  You’re impressed by the man’s adventure!  You soon learn, however, that the candidate’s tale is a lie.  There’s not a shred of relevant truth to it.  You call the candidate and inform him that you have it on solid authority that no such gunfire incident ever happened to him.  There’s a short pause.  He then replies, confidently, “Oh, yeah.  I misspoke.  Sorry about that!”

Do you need any further information about this candidate to immediately and unconditionally strike him off of the list of possible successors to the outgoing president?  Can this candidate possibly have any superior qualities that offset your certain knowledge that he is either a bald-faced liar or bat-poop nuts?  Surely not.

Let’s face it: no sane person misremembers being in the line of sniper fire when, in fact, that person never was in such a predicament.  That’s not the sort of non-event that a sane person comes to believe he or she actually endured.  How many of you, Cafe patrons, have ever recalled being in the line of sniper fire only to remember later that such a recollection is completely mistaken?


Now suppose that some of your colleagues on the board aren’t fazed by the discovery of this candidate’s phoniness or insanity.  Indeed, a couple of your board colleagues say “Sure, that little tale is unfortunate, but we must overlook it because his genitalia make him ideal for the job!”  Do you reassess your opinion of the candidate, or do you conclude that your colleagues either are up to something no good in their support of this candidate or are themselves also bat-poop bananas?  Surely the latter.

If you don’t like this just-concluded mental experiment, try this one: your 25-year-old daughter brings home her new fiancé.  The fiancé tells you that he was once in the midst of sniper fire and had to scurry to escape.  You then discover that it’s a lie.  How do you feel about your daughter’s future happiness?

Why is Hillary Clinton taken seriously by any serious person?


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