Op-ed: The insincere Clinton campaign

  • By Rich Lowry
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2016 5:43pm
  • Opinion

The website PolitiFact jumped all over Rudy Giuliani earlier this year when he said, “Hillary Clinton is for open borders.”

It spent about 700 words sifting through the evidence, and ended up rating the former New York City mayor’s claim “false.” Now we know that PolitiFact blew its call because it lacked access to the most important datum — Hillary Clinton’s real view.

For that, it would have had to be present at one of her paid speeches at a major financial institution, in this case the Brazilian bank Banco Itau. In May 2013, Clinton told her audience at the bank, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.” Ding, ding, ding — there’s the magic phrase, in Hillary’s own words.

The excerpt from Hillary’s speech comes courtesy of the massive WikiLeaks dump of pilfered emails — probably by Russian hackers — from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The hack is, to say the least, not the way to achieve sunshine in our politics or government, but it is illuminating insofar as it illustrates how progressives think and talk in private — i.e., about how you’d expect.

The frank advocacy of open borders is now so radioactive that even the open-borders editorial page of The Wall Street Journal will no longer associate itself with it (once upon a time, the paper routinely called for an open-borders amendment to the U.S. Constitution). Talk of open borders has consequentially retreated behind closed doors. In public, everyone so inclined favors “comprehensive immigration reform,” which always includes higher levels of legal immigration and fig-leaf enforcement measures, as a step toward the unmentionable — and almost certainly unachievable — goal.

A faux cosmopolitanism is a thread running through the WikiLeaks emails. If you think Clinton aides root for terrorist acts not to be committed by Muslims, lest political and policy complications ensue, you’re right.

Hillary aide Karen Finney sent John Podesta an email in December 2015 about the San Bernardino shooting. She wrote “damn,” and forwarded a tweet from MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes relating that one of the shooters was named Syed Farook. Podesta lamented that it wasn’t instead a journalist named Syed Farook reporting on a shooting by Chris Hayes, who has a much more convenient, Irish surname.

If you think Clinton aides sneer at conservative Catholics and consider them retrograde, you’re right.

John Halpin of the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress, formerly headed by Podesta, wrote his boss and Jennifer Palmieri in 2011 that conservatives are attracted to Catholicism for its “systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations.” Palmieri, now a spokeswoman for the Clinton campaign, chimed in that those on the right embrace Catholicism as “the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion.”

A certain highhandedness and bad faith pervades the entire Clinton campaign. Hillary Clinton was perfectly comfortable with the globe-trotting financiers throwing six-figure speaking fees at her, but then had to turn around and shovel boob bait for Bubba at her party’s inflamed left-wing activists, who hate those very financiers and their views on trade, among many other things.

The Clinton campaign’s predicament was captured in microcosm by spokesman Brian Fallon. In September 2015, he worried about an op-ed attacking the Keystone Pipeline that, he notes, had already been extensively edited and re-edited. As secretary of state, Clinton had, reasonably enough, indicated she’d likely support the pipeline, and now she was coming out against it. Will her newly aggressive opposition, Fallon wondered, “be greeted cynically and perhaps as part of some manufactured attempt to project sincerity?”

Yeah, probably — like much of what she says and does. Such was Clinton’s manifest weakness in March 2016 that a friendly liberal columnist sent a worried email to John Podesta. “Right now,” the columnist warned, “I am petrified that Hillary is almost totally dependent on Republicans nominating Trump.” Sounds right. It always pays to be lucky, rather than good — or sincere.

Rich Lowry can be reached via e-mail: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com.

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