Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Clinton has mastered the "art" of lying, but will it cost her? Probably not, since it is all "pathological" and can't be helped

According to a poll conducted by the Clinton News Network a few weeks ago, Hillary Clinton “surprised” by edging Donald Trump 41-39  as being the more “trustworthy.” Obviously one might question the veracity of this poll on several levels, and the “margin of error” makes the results little more than a pick-your-poison push.  While Trump’s “poison” has more to do with trusting his level of common sense and judgement (or lack thereof), with Clinton it is if she can be trusted at all—and that includes her common sense and judgment, questioned even by her aids and NSA personnel in recently released emails that revealed strong disagreement concerning Clinton’s undisciplined use of her unsecured Blackberry. It was claimed “in defense” of Clinton that she didn’t know how to send an email on a computer (secure or not), only on her Blackberry.  

Earlier this month Clinton offended many a sensibility by claiming that the FBI investigation into her private email server had “cleared” her of wrong-doing, turning the stomachs of even some of her staunch supporters at her mindless audacity.  “Director Comey,” she declared on Fox News, “said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.” Of course, Comey only said that there was not enough evidence to charge Clinton with “deliberately” intending to skirt espionage laws, and did imply that Clinton’s statements in the past were not “truthful.”

One can only react with bemused disgust to Clinton’s insistence that she does not lie. Her claim that classified information—including that of the highest nature—was only “retroactively” decided by others to be classified, was yet another head-scratching whopper.  And true to the Clinton game plan, she placed the “real” fault in others, in this case former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who vehemently denied Clinton’s claim that he had “advised” her on the use of private email; she had already been using a private email for State business a year before she contacted him, and furthermore he had no knowledge of her private server being used to store State Department business, which was clearly illegal and violated public records and espionage laws. 

The Atlantic Monthly’s Ron Fournier recently opined that it will be Clinton’s inability to stop lying that will give Trump his best shot at winning the presidency, and “That is why Clinton’s advisers, senior Democrats, and members of the liberal media need to stop covering for Clinton. Stop repeating her spin. Stop spreading her lies. Stop enabling her worse angels. It’s too late for Clinton to come clean, but honorable Democrats should at least insist that she stop muddying the water.” 

Why can’t Clinton stop lying? Is it “pathological”? What exactly defines a “pathological liar”? This issue was raised in a post by a presumably right-wing commentator named Kathryn Blackhurst, where she quoted a few “specialists” on the topic. “‘Pathological lying is characterized by a long history (maybe lifelong) of frequent and repeated lying for which no apparent psychological motive or external benefit can be discerned,’ Dr. Charles C. Dike wrote in a Psychiatric Times article titled Pathological Lying: Symptom or Disease? ‘While ordinary lies are goal-directed and are told to obtain external benefit or to avoid punishment, pathological lies often appear purposeless. In some cases, they might be self-incriminating or damaging, which makes the behavior even more incomprehensible.’"

That explanation might appear to "exonerate" Clinton, but a “Dr. N. G. Berrill, the executive director of The New York Center for Neuropsychology & Forensic Behavioral Science claimed that the personality structure of a pathological liar usually has two main components: a high degree of narcissism with a certain sense of entitlement, and an ‘anti-social’ component in which the liar does not feel obliged to adhere to rules or regulations. That seems the case with Clinton, who once said she endured sniper fire when landing in Bosnia (she was, in fact, greeted by little girls bearing flowers). 'There's no question that when politicians lie they know they're lying. There's no doubt about it,’ Berrill said. ‘And they're lying because lying is indebted — it's a structure or a symptom, if you will, of a larger personality disorder.’ Even though many people lie, exaggerate, and distort the truth at times, Berrill noted that when a politician pathologically lies, ‘they're really lying to essentially manipulate ... It's a conscious desire to manipulate and control.’"

Berrill went on to say that "What's really fascinating to me is that the politicians that lie — in a really bold and obvious way and not nuanced at all — they act as though they haven't been taped saying these things. So it seems to me that this is the most dangerous period in our history for lying and acting like a con-man or a sleazy politician because the chances are so great that you're gonna get caught…So the question is what is that one lie or that one behavior that tips the opinion in the other direction?"

So far that “one lie” hasn’t happened yet, and likely won’t, if Clinton’s enablers and apologists in the media have their way. Clinton is almost certainly a “pathological” liar; the problem is that Clinton has told so many lies that people have become inured to them—it is just a part of her personality that won’t ever go away, so we are just supposed to get “used” to it. Certainly others would prefer to believe that these accusations against Clinton have been “overblown,” usually from misogynistic or otherwise “sexist” impulses. But these “defenses” are getting, as they say, “old” and failing the credibility as well as the listenability test. The question ultimately is do we want someone in the White House with a serious, “pathological” psychological problem, if that is in fact what we are confronted with. 

We should have been asking ourselves this question during the primaries, when Democrats had a viable alternative. The media and the Democratic leadership made certain we didn’t have that discussion. But I suspect that even if we did, there are just too many people invested in Clinton's "entitlement" to the presidency that they believed that lying was "forced" upon her, because no one wants to hear the truth anyways.

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