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I dunno if Hillary Clinton is evil, but she sure is dumb

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To her enemies and many of her supporters, the brief on Hillary Clinton is that she’s evil but smart. “Smart leadership for the 21st century,” declares her website. Cynical and calculating she may be, people say. Sure, she’s an opportunist. But she knows the American political system inside and out — so she’ll be able to work her Machiavellian magic as president. Hopefully, on our behalf.

In this case, conventional wisdom is 100 percent wrong. Hillary’s intentions may or may not be purely self-serving. But she’s far from the political genius she’s being portrayed.

She may or may not be evil. But she certainly isn’t smart.

Look at the former senator’s vote in favor of the Iraq War. An evil decision? Maybe. While the results were catastrophic, there’s no way to see into her soul. Maybe she wanted to liberate Iraqis from dictatorship. Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. We’ll never know what she was really thinking.

What we know for sure is that that vote was political suicide. It caused her to lose the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008. It hobbled her in her primary campaign against Bernie Sanders.

This is not one of those hindsight-is-20/20 things. During the run-up to the war in late 2002/early 2003, many smart people expected the war to go badly exactly the way that it did. Leftist opinion columnists and editorial cartoonists (cough cough) repeatedly scoffed at Vice President Dick Cheney’s claim that our invasion troops would be “welcomed as liberators.” Middle East experts correctly predicted the chaos, sectarian violence, regional destabilization and Islamist radicalization that would fill the power vacuum created by the overthrow of Saddam. Millions of citizens marched in the streets to oppose this optional war. It didn’t take a genius to see it coming — but she didn’t.

Only fools believed the Bush administration’s nonexistent evidence (c.f. random metal tubes) and ridiculous rationale for war (“what if Saddam somehow built a nuke, then made friends with his mortal enemies, then gave those terrorist enemies his nukes as a gift, and then what if they figured out some way to ship them to the U.S.?”). Neocon fools. Republican fools. Fools like Hillary Clinton.

Hillary’s apologists say she had no choice. That, in the face of bloodthirsty voters’ lust for vengeance post-9/11, she had to act tough. But that’s nonsense. Sen. Clinton represented liberal New York, where the war was unpopular from day one. She wouldn’t face re-election until 2006 or the presidential race until 2008 — three to five years after casting her vote. Just as the antiwar crowd predicted — yet Hillary was unable to — the Iraq War began going badly within months. By early 2005, most voters thought it was a mistake. A sharp politician would have anticipated that. A smart presidential aspirant, able to anticipate how things would play out in Mesopotamia, would have placed her chips on the antiwar side of the political betting table.

Then there’s her email scandal. What was she thinking? Can she think?

When Clinton took over the State Department in 2009, she was already planning to run for president in 2016. She and her husband have come under GOP attack throughout their careers. Given the sharp scrutiny she was sure to come under seven years hence, why didn’t she order her staff to follow the government rules concerning email to the letter? A savvy political insider would have gone by the book, erring on the side of conservatism, rather than use a private email server for classified government correspondence. She was a moron. Now she faces a possible indictment.

Incident after incident indicates that the Smart Hillary construct is as much of a fantasy as her supposed record of progressivism.

It’s been obvious for a while now that 2016 was shaping up as the Year of the Political Outsider. Both parties are relying on their base to win, rather than the swing voters who were so important during the Clinton 1990s. The tea party and Occupy Wall Street movements, and numerous polls, pointed to widespread disenchantment with the establishment. Yet Hillary acted like it was 1993, tacking center-right like the corporatist she is. She solicited the usual old big donors.

She even gave speeches to Goldman Sachs. In 2013!

Hillary radically underestimated the Bernie insurgency. Her messaging has been relentlessly tone deaf, as when her aging surrogates Madeleine Albright and Gloria Steinem insultingly explained to young female voters that they owed her their votes. Less than a year ago, Hillary was still pimping every job-killing “free trade” deal she heard about — even though they were unpopular with voters. Now Hillary is running out of money and losing momentum to a socialist who is eating her lunch in primary states she took for granted.

Time after time, over and over, Hillary proves she doesn’t get it. She’s not intuitive. She has no sense of what people are/must be thinking. She’s incurious, failing to feel shifts in opinion or circumstance. She’s stuck in the past. She wallows in her bubble. Which, when you consider that even the wealthy patrician FDR had a strong sense of what voters cared about, is frightening.

In a Democratic debate, she brags about her bromance with Henry Kissinger, telling liberals — who consider him a war criminal — that she relies on Nixon’s deviant mad bomber for foreign policy advice. At another debate, she conflates Bernie Sanders’ vote against the Wall Street bailout with a refusal to help the auto industry. Even in Michigan, no one is fooled. Does she think we’ve forgotten how gross that Bush-Obama bailout was?

After Nancy Reagan dies, she gives the Reagans credit for starting a “national conversation” about HIV/AIDS. The Reagans were disgusting homophobes, pleased as punch that gays were dying en masse. They refused to fund research to fight the disease. They started a national conversation about HIV/AIDS the way Hitler started a national conversation on Jews. Now she says she “misspoke,” that ultimate all-purpose meaningless verb.

Could this be similar to her amazing statement to a black voter that no one had ever asked her about her support for the 1994 Clinton crime bill, which sent millions of black people to prison for minor offenses? How is this possible? Did Hillary really not know about the Reagans’ antigay bigotry? Or was she lying but assumed no one would notice? Either way: idiotic.

Vote for Hillary if you want. But don’t vote for her because she’s smart.

She is many things.

Smart isn’t one of them.

Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

  • Paul Martin

    I wouldn’t say evil because that’s more a religious condemnation but a dimwit wanna be queen of America oh absolutely, she ain’t no Rhodes scholar like Bill and Trump will CRUCIFY her if and when they have final debates, he is saving the best for last!

  • Jack William

    Wow, nice and short about her entire political life. But missing the lying parts and need more on her and Bill’s dirty money.

    Oh, also missing the part where she is essentially above the law. There’s a bit more…

  • Tertium Antilles

    Another desperate attack on HRC from Bernie supporters that shows how detached from reality they really are.

    First, there is no way to know for sure what motivates her to vote for the Iraq War, but it definitely was not the WMD nonsense, which is just a fake excuse for an invasion that was planned even before 9/11. My take is that she simply believed that using military force to replace Saddam Hussein with a pro-West regime in Iraq would serve the United States’s best interest and also according to the polls at the time, most Democrats supported the war. She simply voted with the common public sentiment at the time and she regretted her decision as a mistake after the Bush administration mishandled the war. Any predictions of the result of the war made before it began were merely biased rhetorics of anti-war crowd who would oppose the use of force no matter what and there were many ways in which the war could have turned out differently if it was handled correctly. Anyhow, her foreign policy credential is enough for Obama to make her his Secretary of State.

    Second, the e-mail scandal is another inflated nonsense made up by her enemies. Hillary did not break any laws and was simply doing what other secretaries of states had done in the past. There should really be no controversy here.

    Third, just because she received donations from Wall Street does not mean that she is not opposed to Wall Street reform. In addition, those money comes from individual contributors, many of whom are also liberals. If you look at her track record and her platform, she is as progressive as Obama is and will continue his policies.

    Also, the author of this article definitely needs a reality check. It should be obvious at this point that Sanders has no path to nomination. Stop lying to yourself. HRC will continue to win the upcoming major primaries and extend her delegate lead even further. Nitpicking her campaign with minor incidents and attacking her with lies will not stop Hillary from becoming president as Donald Trump is about to find out.

  • Alex

    Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

    So definitely a neutral third party.

  • GBR48

    That must be the third pro-Sanders, Clinton-bashing article I’ve seen on here by Ted Rall, ‘the author of “Bernie,” a biography of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’.

    This sort of thing really doesn’t do anything for the JT’s credibility.

    • Ron Lane

      I find Rall’s op-ed pieces infantile at best. And like you, I don’t understand why the Japan Times insists on publishing this tripe time and time again.

  • ronin4life

    I am pretty annoyed Trump and Hillary are front-runners considering the fact they are both huge jackasses.

    But at least its painfully obvious how much of a shitface Trump is to most people otherwise… Meanwhile Hillary and her husband go around committing major crimes like pedophile rape, perjury and all manner of corruption involving bribery, negligence and willful abuse of power and people CHOOSE to pretend these facts aren’t even remotely possible…

    We’re talking international favors for donations, including weapons sales, national security breaches, and even the potential for scandal cover ups. These aren’t at all exaggerated or made up ‘to make Hillary look bad’, these are on the record you cannot deny unless you are illiterate abuses, offenses and crimes.
    9_9