Kathleen Parker, Washington Post - Questions about Hillary Clinton’s honesty did not start with Benghazi or with emails and a private server, but began ages ago with any number of fabricated — or at least exaggerated — stories. Many may remember what New York Times columnist William Safire wrote about Clinton in 1996:
“Americans of all political persuasions are coming to the sad realization that our First Lady — a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar,” he said. “Drip by drip, like Whitewater torture, the case is being made that she is compelled to mislead, and to ensnare her subordinates and friends in a web of deceit.”
There “they” go again?
Safire’s concerns at the time — Whitewater, Travelgate, “lost” records — may seem remote and trivial to some, but the drip-drip he identified didn’t stop with the White House years. Subsequent to the various “-gates” were, for example, the story of coming under fire on a tarmac in Bosnia or about her having been named for the explorer Edmund Hillary, the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, despite her having been born about six years before his history-making climb.
These are such trivial stories to invent that one wonders why she bothered. The answer can’t be easily divined except as Safire suggested. Or, is it that she is reflexively prone to dissemble? Would this be a matter of habit, or something else? An innate need to inflate one’s status — even when it isn’t needed?...
What difference, at this point, does any of it make? When it comes to public trust in a presidential candidate — everything.