This is a widely acknowledged fact among people who pay attention and aren't on her payroll. Nearly 20 years ago,
Younger folks probably have little to no memory of the lies Safire had in mind, though some might have heard about
Suffice it to say that she's been honing her craft for decades. And that's turning into a problem for her, perhaps her biggest problem.
After ducking the press for months, Clinton sat down for an interview with
The most discussed deception came in an exchange about her emails. Clinton declared emphatically that, "You know, you're starting with so many assumptions that are -- I've never had a subpoena. ... Let's take a deep breath here."
Team Clinton says she was responding to a specific allegation that she deleted emails that were under subpoena. It's a legalistically plausible defense given Keilar's muddled question and Stakhanovite effort to avoid asking meaningful follow-ups.
Still, it was a classically Clintonian way of lying: Make a sweeping, definitive-sounding statement, and then when called on it, release a fog of technicalities.
Of course, the greatest example of this tactic was her husband's parsing of the word "is" when called out for saying things like "there is no improper relationship" with a
The rest of the
She proclaimed that she broke no rules by using a personal server and other email chicanery. The
Clinton even flatly denied that voters distrust her when polls clearly show Americans do, and -- as usual -- blamed all her problems on right-wing conspirators.
Reacting to the interview,
"We have to look at what politicians do generally in terms of fudging," Bernstein added. "It's endemic in the profession. She's become a kind of specialist at it."
He went on to explain that Clinton had to become a specialist because she's a victim of her husband's peccadilloes -- what Bernstein called the "peculiarity of the Clinton situation." Because Bill catted around, "She's been in a difficult position."
It was a strangely forgiving argument from a reporter who made his career by exposing presidential deceit. And while it's certainly true Bill put Hillary in some awkward predicaments, his philandering doesn't explain why she lied on issues ranging from her cattle futures windfall to her stealth server.
But Bernstein is right about one thing: Hillary is a specialist at lying. And that's a problem for her. Her husband was -- and is -- a prodigy at deceit, a renaissance man of lying. If football were a game of lies, he could play every position on offense and defense.
Mrs. Clinton, alas, is more like a veteran coach -- she's adept at telling others how to lie on her behalf. But she's not a natural liar herself, and it shows. At a time when the Democratic base craves authenticity (hence the mobs at Bernie Sanders rallies), Clinton seems utterly fabricated (hence her inability to get a capacity crowd at her announcement speech last month in