The Bronx Blogger

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Hillary Clinton and the late Hugh Thompson

Hillary Clinton is the junior U.S. Senator from New York. She was elected to that position while serving as First Lady in President Bill Clinton's White House.

Senator Clinton gave a speech eight days ago at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University about foreign policy and the problems we face in the Middle East.

Here's a very interesting quote from her speech (29th paragraph out of 40):

I believe that we lost critical time in dealing with Iran because the White House chose to downplay the threats and to outsource the negotiations. I don't believe you face threats like Iran or North Korea by outsourcing it to others and standing on the sidelines.

Anyone who supports President Bush and has been paying attention to developments in Iraq and Iran will understand right away why this quote is so interesting. The quote is an excellent example of a very shrewd and unscrupulous tactic that Bill and Hillary Clinton have used before to great effect: state the precise opposite of what is really true and say it with a straight face before a polite (if not downright sympathetic) audience, and pretend that this is what you really believe.

The chutzpah that is required to pull this off is perfectly Orwellian: black is white, war is peace, bad is double-plus-good.

It is true that if you parse Senator Clinton's statement with a lawyerly eye, then it is possible that every word and phrase might be literally true. It is possible, for instance, that Clinton does believe, in hindsight, that we did indeed "lose critical time in dealing with Iran" because the White House chose to publicly downplay the threats and "outsource the negotiations".

What makes this observation so deceitful and such an inversion of the truth is what Senator Clinton leaves out.

She leaves out that it was the Senate Democratic leaders, herself included, who were counseling President Bush to "outsource the negotiations" to our European allies. She leaves out that publicly downplaying the threats was a crucial part of pursuing that diplomatic course. And she neglects to mention that the White House never internally downplayed the threats -- to the contrary, they took the threats as seriously as any administration possibly could.

Now if Senator Clinton were not a prominent and powerful political leader, it would not be very important that she is so dishonest. Politicians have been known to stretch the truth. If Senator Clinton happens to be a particularly shameless liar, she is just choosing to indulge in a vice that many politicians are probably secretly proud to be guilty of indulging in themselves.

But unfortunately, Senator Clinton is not just prominent and powerful, she is perhaps the current front-runner to win the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. And she is perhaps the single most influential person in the national Democratic party.

Her dishonesty is not merely the desperate maneuvering of a politician trying to stay one step ahead of current events. Her dishonesty is emblematic of a rotten core of unscrupulous opportunism that is widespread in the Democratic party (and which is common enough in the Republican party as well).

If one were to contemplate this state of affairs for any length of time, it could conceivably (easily?) lead to a depressing cynicism and pessimism about politics and human nature in general. So as an antidote to the ugly truth about Senator Clinton, it pays to take a look at someone who is a real leader, someone whose character led him to be a hero, and not a sad lying ambitious huckster.

Such a hero passed on recently. His name is Hugh Thompson, and he fought with distinction in the Vietnam War. That fact alone is enough to make him a hero, an anti-Hillary if you will. But his story is unusual and gripping in a way that even many war heros would find impressive.

You can read about it here: "Someone you need to meet".

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