Taken together, these contradictions demolish Clinton’s claims that she has been transparent with her emails. The truth is that she has not been nearly as forthcoming as she would like the voters to believe.

There is no doubt that Clinton was poised and cool during most of the Benghazi hearing, while Republicans occasionally lost their tempers and sometimes lost the narrative thread. Given the length of the hearing, the casual viewer could be forgiven for missing some substantive points. The media, however, have no excuse. From laziness, partisanship, or both, journalists chose to track only style. Hillary Clinton was always bound to get an A+ from them.

Yet on the merits, the hearing should damage the central claims of Clinton’s presidential candidacy. Time and again the Republicans produced evidence showing that after she declared victory in Libya, Clinton lost interest. On top of that, she manifestly contradicted her past accounts of her email disclosure. 

All told, Clinton’s behavior represents some of the worst qualities of modern politicians. Her grandiose calls for regime change in Libya were not properly backed up with thorough work on the unglamorous details such as security for diplomats. She allowed cronyism to rear its ugly head, in the State Department of all places. And when called to account for this, she served up lawyerly statements designed to obfuscate rather than clarify. It is little wonder that, when so many Americans look at Clinton, they see what is wrong with our government.