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Lynn Wenzel: Setting the record straight

Lynn Wenzel


Hanna Rosin, Atlantic “Among the Hillary Haters,” March 2015.

Jason Zinoman, The New York Times, “Hating Hillary Clinton: The Likability Trap,” October 10, 2016.

Newsmax, August 5, 2016.

The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2016.

David Smith, The Guardian, “Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice Used Private Accounts for Classified Emails,” February 4, 2016.

Josh Gerstein, Politico, “Colin Powell Relied on Personal Emails While Secretary of State,” March 3, 2015.

Steve Coll, The New Yorker, “The Fear Factor,” October 3, 2016.

Gail Collins, The New York Times, “Hillary Gossip Redux, June 23, 2016.

Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast.com, August, 2016.

The New York Times, “Hillary Clinton’s Historic Moment,” July 29, 2016.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/on-talk-circuit-george-bush-makes-millions-but-few-waves" target="_blank">class="Hyperlink">http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/on-talk-circuit-george-bush-makes-millions-but-few-waves

Todd Gitlin, Moyers & Company, “Why Isn’t Hillary Clinton 50, or Even 15, Points Ahead?” October 4, 2016.

Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, “Clinton’s Fibs vs Trump’s Huge Lies,” August 6, 2016

Lynn Stuart Parramore, Circuit, “These Ex-Politicians Have No Sense of Discretion or Proportion—and Can Care Less About Protecting their Legacies.”

Michael Arnovitz, The New York Times, “Thinking About Hillary—A Plea For Reason,” June 12, 2016.

Emily Bazelon, The New York Times, Working Mothers, October 4, 2016.

Brian Tashman, “Alex Jones: Flies Landing on Obama Prove He’s Satanic,” August 23, 2016.

Nicole Casta, Media Matters, “William Safire: Fir to Print?” November 15, 2004.

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Who is Hillary Clinton really? Jill Abramson, a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and former executive editor of the New York Times said, “As an editor, I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising , her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter, my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising. Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.”

So what happened? To begin, William Safire wrote a nasty essay about Clinton in 1996 entitled, “Blizzard of Lies.” In the piece he called her a “congenital liar,” insisting that she took bribes, evaded taxes, cheated bank regulators and was criminally defrauding the government of millions of dollars. Of course, there was no evidence for any of this, and Safire was eventually proven wrong. But the damage was done. Whitewater, Travelgate and Filegate were inserted into the brains of ordinary citizens, Clinton was branded a liar, and Republicans found their false political meme. They’ve been running with it ever since, with the aid of Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones and a myriad of wackadoodle conspiracy theorists.

Is she really a liar? Not according to Politifact. Clinton was named the most honest politician of all the 2015-16 candidates — a meager 2 percent of Clinton’s statements have earned the “pants on fire” accusation. Politico chronicled a week of Trump remarks and found one lie every five minutes. Fact-checkers have contradicted the uncorroborated claim that Clinton lied to the families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi. It just isn’t true.

In September, Clinton was accused of being anti-family. As a senator, Clinton sponsored bills to promote fair pay, and worked to secure better access to health care for Reservists and the National Guard. She spearheaded the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and has since attempted to expand it. She worked for the Children’s Defense Fund and co-founded Arkansas Advocacy for Children and Families. As Secretary of State, she worked to fight sex-trafficking and successfully convinced the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to stop rape and violence against women and children in conflict zones. You might say she lives her Christianity and is, in fact, a devout Methodist.

Let’s dig up the rest of the so-called dirt. Yes, Clinton used her personal email when she was Secretary of State. So did Colin Powell, so did Condoleezza Rice. So has John Kerry. Funny, they haven’t been threatened with indictment. Clinton has not been charged with any crime. And she has apologized for a mistake in judgment. Now let’s ruminate on General David Petraeus who gave his mistress a series of black books containing classified information regarding the identities of covert officers, war strategy, intelligence and discussions with the president. He lied about what he had done. And he committed adultery, a court-martial offense. Yet, today, Petraeus is the recipient of “fawning sentiments from conservatives,” who called the entire situation “silly.” Where are his Senate hearings?

Recently, a junkyard dog by the name of Gary Byrne, a former Secret Service officer, has written a supposed tell-all book about the Clintons. Byrne was actually a very low-ranking officer who never got near enough to the Clintons to see the things he claimed to see firsthand. His biggest assertion? Clinton threw a vase at her husband. How did he know? He saw some broken pottery in a garbage can. The Association of Former Agents of the U.S. Secret Service has issued a denunciation against Byrne.

Clinton has been attacked unmercifully for raising money by giving speeches while a private citizen, after her tenure as Secretary of State and before her run for President. Since 2009, George W. Bush has given more than 200 paid speeches, typically pocketing $100,000 to $175,000 per appearance, earning him tens of millions of dollars. While still on the presidential campaign trail in 2007, Rudy Giuliani disclosed he had earned $9.2 million in speaking fees in 13 months. Wouldn’t you like to read the content of their speeches?

Clinton has been called a feminazi and a harridan by the right and its media empire for 25 years. Why? She stepped out of the conventional First Lady role to try to reform medical care. She represented American feminism at the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Congress of Women. She dared to self-actualize, to strive, to endure. For this she has been labeled the devil, Satan and the female Antichrist. Then there are those who hate Clinton because of her voice, her tone, her smile, her laugh, her clothes. And because, to save her family, she opted to forgive her husband’s adultery.

I don’t have to remind anyone, do I, that men are never judged on those things. Or that if a Republican man with her awe-inspiring qualifications was running, they would already be carving statues of him for the Capitol rotunda.

As Hanna Rosin recently pointed out in the Atlantic, “No other American politicians …. have [endured] the creation of a permanent multi-million dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.” That whole sycophantic collection of avaricious hypocrites should be shunned for hate-filled sexism and undermining democracy.

In the meantime, I’m with her.

Lynn Wenzel, who lives in Grass Valley, is a member of The Union Editorial Board. Her opinion is her own and does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of The Union or its editorial board. Write to her at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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