For once, I am inclined to believe Hillary Clinton. The U.S. Secretary of State, suffering from a sick stomach, has reportedly fainted and bumped her head. As a result, her spokespeople have already announced that she will be unable to testify at the Benghazi hearings, although she was not due to appear until December 20, many days after the vaguely reported fainting spell.
Already, the internet is resounding with a chorus of “How convenient!” (See here and here, for example.) Many, upon hearing this news, are assuming that Clinton, who has been hedging for a month on whether to appear at the congressional hearings, has concocted yet another excuse to avoid facing the music on a scandal which, if pursued with integrity, would likely end her political career, to put it mildly.
I, on the contrary, would like to give Secretary Clinton the benefit of the doubt on this one. Though I have never participated in a cover-up involving the brutal murder and defilement of people under my direct employ, I can only imagine that if I had, and if I were being called on the carpet to answer questions about my role in events surrounding a seven-hour terrorist assault on my representatives in Libya, and the subsequent disinformation campaign being managed, in part, out of my office, I would be feeling sick to my stomach, too. I imagine I might even faint, as the day of reckoning approached.
The basic question here is whether Hillary Clinton has so completely dissolved her own moral core — the way her boss and fellow Alinskyite clearly has done — that she is incapable of feeling even the fear of self-revelation when she is called to account for her words and actions. In other words, is this week’s illness and fainting spell just a convenient excuse for avoiding her responsibilities, or might it be the pounding of a tell-tale heart?
Never having sat on my hands for several hours while receiving live reports and images of my employees being attacked by Ansar al-Sharia, I cannot say for certain how I would feel in her situation.
Never having received communications from men in distress pleading for rescue or support, and done nothing to respond to their cries for help, I can only speculate as to how I would feel if a committee — some of whose members are not my political allies — wanted to ask me what happened.
Never having offered an initial statement immediately following the murder of my ambassador in which I explicitly blamed his death on “heavily armed militants” and never mentioned any “spontaneous protest” in Libya, only to follow it up with subsequent statements cagily blaming an anti-Muhammad video and fudging on the spontaneous protest story, I have no idea how I would feel if I feared that someone might ask me about the sudden 180-degree turn in my account.
Never having spent three months, in cahoots with my boss and other liars, carefully avoiding, deferring, and obscuring the simplest inquiry of all — “At what time, exactly, did you first hear of the attack on your Libyan consulate, and by what sequence of reasoning did you all decide that a rescue attempt was uncalled for?” — how can I know how I would feel if I were concerned that I might finally be asked that question in a Congressional hearing?
Never having spent forty years climbing the political ladder, only to feel that it was about to collapse from under me at the very moment when people were saying that I was “inevitable” for 2016, I cannot deny that I might feel sick to my stomach, standing so close to the peak and yet looking into the abyss as Hillary Clinton must be doing today.
Never having spent decades pushing my leftist agenda from behind the camera while desperately, humiliatingly covering tracks for “the talent,” my sociopathic spouse — and then, having finally burst out from behind that demeaning mask, finding myself reduced to running interference again for yet another sociopath — I cannot deny that I, too, might be suffering from vertigo.
In sum, it seems entirely believable to me that Hillary Clinton is feeling sick these days. In her situation, who wouldn’t feel sick?
My question, however, is why this illness and minor injury, from which she is purported to be recovering happily at home, should be considered an acceptable excuse for not having to testify about a scandal in which she was a major player — a foreign policy disaster for which she has expressly declared herself the buck’s final destination.
Adults get sick. Some of them are prone to feeling nauseous or faint when faced with stressful situations for which they know they are unprepared. But adults typically do not use their personal discomforts as justifications for ducking out on their most important responsibilities and commitments.
Some years ago, my wife was given the unpleasant task of invigilating the final exam of a university freshman who was suffering from a terrible stomach flu, but who, having already purchased a ticket home for the following day, insisted on writing her exam while sitting on the floor of the women’s bathroom, resting her head against the cool tiles to calm herself between mad dashes to — well, you get the point.
Here, on the other hand, is the Secretary of State of the most powerful nation on the planet, called to testify before both Houses of Congress regarding a foreign policy debacle which resulted in the deaths of an important State Department official and three other Americans; here is the highest-ranking member of the president’s cabinet, the one who stood at his side when he made his September 12 Rose Garden address on Benghazi; here is the woman who, in a supposed act of statesmanship, claimed personal responsibility for the Benghazi security failure (though simultaneously casting off that responsibility by saying “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha”) — here she is, being excused from the most important day of her tenure as Secretary of State, in effect by means of a note from President O-Mama saying “Hillary isn’t feeling well today, and she won’t be feeling well next week either.”
While the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, was only too eager to accept this sick note from Mrs. Clinton, and happy to announce her replacement by two of her deputies, Kerry’s counterpart on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, played the role of rational adult:
We have been combing classified and unclassified documents and have tough questions about State Department threat assessments and decision-making on Benghazi. This requires a public appearance by the Secretary of State herself.
Yes, it does “require” such an appearance — if your interest is in exposing the truth about Benghazi, namely that “failure” is too kind a word for the administration’s actions before the attack, and “conscienceless” too kind for their conduct during and after it.
Hillary Clinton has made her reputation on being a tough, resilient woman. If she were really so tough, she would insist on appearing before Ros-Lehtinen’s committee, even if she had to testify from the bathroom floor.
The Benghazi scandal, as I have said before, makes Watergate — during which Clinton suffered her own first scandal, incidentally — look like cheating at tiddlywinks. Men died after a seven hour battle, and after their repeated pleas to Washington for help were rejected. In the wake of this horror, the Obama administration created a calculated cloud of conflicting half-stories in order to protect Obama’s re-election bid. The centerpiece of their cloud of lies was a fabrication about a “spontaneous” or “natural” protest that never occurred — and that they knew never occurred — a lie which, by emphasizing and repeatedly blaming a “disgusting” video about Muhammad, actually stoked real and deadly protests throughout the Middle East.
Hillary Clinton is the highest-ranking member of the administration scheduled to testify, and her prospective testimony would be most pertinent — not because of what she would say, but because of what others would then need to say, or unsay, to remain consistent with her story.
But she isn’t feeling well, and wants to stay home this week, so you should just forget the whole thing; goodness knows she’d like to forget it. (By the way, is this not the kind of fragility in the face of duty that ought to disqualify her as a presidential candidate?)
And if you are wise you will follow John Kerry’s advice and dismiss any ideas about offering her a rain check. After all, rescheduling her appearance for a future date is only likely to remind her of that urgent meeting she has to attend in Bora Bora, or the hair appointment she promised herself for Christmas, or poker night with the gals at Huma’s.