On Friday night, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton submitted to an interview from her longtime friend and former speechwriter Lissa Muscataine in an appearance at George Washington University. When asked for her reflections on a week in which she drove the news cycle, Clinton grew introspective.
“I say in the book that maybe it’s just the wonderful wealth of experience that I now have,” she said. “Maybe it’s because I am totally done with, you know, being really careful about what to say because somebody might think this instead of that.”
“It just gets too exhausting and frustrating, and it just seemed a whole lot easier to just put it out there and [I] hope people get used to it,” she continued. “Whether you agree with it or not you know exactly where I come from, what I think, what I feel.”
Clinton went on to test out this new honesty vehicle by scolding the country for not being as forthright as she believes she has been for over a week now.
“There are so many big issues and I talk about some of them both internationally and nationally, and I don’t think we gain by either shouting matches or finger-pointing or biting one’s tongue,” she lamented. “I think we really need to have a very open straightforward conversation.”
“Maybe I’m trying to model that, I don’t know, but that’s how it feels to me,” Clinton concluded, “and it feels a little bit liberating, to be honest.”
Clinton may be confusing honesty and bluntness here. One of the most recent examples of Clinton’s newfound “honesty” came in the form of her asserting that she and her husband were “dead broke” and “struggled” when they departed from the White House in 2001.
This statement was so impeccably “honest” that it netted her a “mostly false” rating from the arch-conservative watchdog organization Politifact.
But Clinton was, as Politico’s Maggie Haberman observed, more likely referring to a testy exchange she had with NPR host Terry Gross this past week. In that interview, when asked about her recent evolution on the issue of same-sex marriage rights, Clinton accused Gross of being mendacious when the host said she was merely seeking a clarification about her change of heart by asking a series of follow-ups.
“No, I don’t think you are trying to clarify,” Clinton interjected defensively. “I think you are trying to say that I used to be opposed and now I am in favor and I did it for political reasons. And that’s just flat wrong.”
But her next sentence suggests that she is again confused about the definition of honesty. In this instance, Clinton was putting words in her interlocutor’s mouth and refuting an assertion which was never made. It’s a familiar tactic.
In fact, in the next breath, Clinton declared her intention to follow in President Barack Obama’s footsteps and continue his uncompromising war on straw men.
“Let me just state what I feel like I think you are implying and repudiate it,” Clinton told Gross.
In other words, allow me to summarize your position, even if it’s a position you do not hold, and submit a counterargument to my summary. That’s the kind of honesty and straight talk we’ve come accustomed to over the last six years.
It’s good to know the current level of “honesty” in the White House is what Americans should expect to continue if Clinton is elected to succeed the president in 2016.