Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton Talking Up the Danger on Her Bosnia Trip? I’m With Her on This One

Just imagine the fun that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are going to have with this one, though I won’t be surprised to see Fox News go easy on her.

Personally, I don’t hold this against Hillary Clinton, in the sense that I don’t think that she’s consciously fabulating. There are too many witnesses, too many records of a First Lady’s visit to make sense in lying about it. She has her stupid moments, lapses in judgment, but this is too much. What happened then?

Mrs. Clinton must be unaccustomed to the kind of imminent physical danger in war zones, and she must have had at least some apprehensions about flying in to recently war-torn Bosnia (though not so much that she wouldn’t bring her daughter along, for Christ’s sake). From the landing to her exit from the airport, subjectively, it could have been the greatest moment of anticipated physical danger in her life, whatever the actual situation turned out to be.

It is my personal experience that I misremember some of the most vivid moments of my life. Reality as I remember it is too often colored and distorted by the emotions, the joys and fears of the moment, the regrets and the triumphs. I imagine that this happens to the far more disciplined Mrs. Clinton as well. (Barack Obama has been caught off base in his first book; Roger Cohen, drawing on his own experience, made a similar case for him in a WaPo column.) It’s been twelve years since the event for her. Still., the damage is done; she has a reputation, and it’s working against her here. It’s too bad that nobody, including her daughter, bothered to stop her from embarrassing herself after the first slipup.


Bob McCarty Writes said...

The CBS Evening News story broadcast last night proves once and for all that Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton indeed continues to suffer from Partzheimer’s (a.k.a., Convenient Memory-Loss Syndrome) as first highlighted in a Bob McCarty Writes post one year ago this month and reiterated in posts March 27, 2007 and Sept. 12, 2007.

Now the question is “Why did it take CBS, the New York Times and others in the mainstream media so long to report on the former first lady’s affliction?”

P.S. I'm having as much fun with this as Stewart and Colbert!

Jun Okumura said...


Welcome to my blog. I’ll stick with my interpretation on this one, because the alternative is implausible. It was a scripted, orchestrated, official trip, with an entourage, including her daughter, and the media, complete with a camera crew. She couldn’t have thought that nobody else would remember what would have been a harrowing event if it had unfolded the way she described it. She should have said something like, gee, it’s weird because I remember it so vividly, but the facts don’t lie, maybe I was scared, I was certainly worried about my daughter… I don’t know, but she should have acknowledged her mistake and moved on. Instead, she lets her daughter go public and say - what else can she say? - that she stands by her mother’s account.

On the other hand, I can understand why you, or most other people who aren't commited supporters of hers for that matter, won’t give her the benefit of the doubt. There have been too many other instances where the Clintons have been caught dissembling and never owning up, or acting unethically and refusing to acknowledge responsibility. No, the media do not cut them any slack, but that bias is something that accreted over the years, and incidents like this revive the memories of that most unattractive aspect of those Clinton years. As public figures by choice, the Clintons themselves are responsible for this.

I think this - experience? what experience - has killed any chances that she had to get on the ticket as the Vice Presidential candidate by making a graceful exit. If she slogs on, she’ll also lose all hope of becoming Senate majority leader too.

If anyone needs a reminder, this is a Bloomberg report including her explanation of her “mistake”. This appears to be a more complete video clip of her initial attempt to talk her way out of the mess in a press conference.