What a Difference, at This Point, a Year Makes
For a century, progressivism was evil’s most successful modern mask. On September 11, 2012, however, the movement’s current international figureheads, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, tripped, fell, and in the process, smashed the illusion. The mask is off, the evil is exposed. It is now apparent to anyone who wishes to see that the torch Obama is supposed to pass to Clinton is lighted with hellfire. But if no one does wish to see, then what difference, at this point, does it make? Plenty.
On September 11, 2012, Hillary Clinton was the model American elitist: college thesis on Saul Alinsky; Democrat attack dog lawyer climbing the Party ladder through aggressive ethics violations; advantageous marriage to one of those media-protected political juggernauts-cum-sexual predators that seem almost definitive of the modern Democrats; crowned a U.S. Senator without any relevant accomplishments, in a major non-home state seat cherry-picked for her convenience; and with a world class liar’s portfolio just to prove she’s “tough” and “ready for prime time.”
But then, on the evening of September 11, the devil that leftists keep so carefully hidden in their lamp, to be released only when they need to cash in a wish, escaped its vessel and started messing up the tidy world of controlled perceptions on which progressivism depends.
From the moment the urgent pleas for help began pouring in from Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s impregnable world of privilege and “inevitability” began to look all too – well, “human” would be the wrong word – let’s say all too untidy. The decisions made that night by the secretary of state and her historic skid-greaser (first black president, to be followed by first woman) – the actions deliberately not taken, the phone calls made and not made – exposed every illusion, dwarfed all previous lies, and sent the erstwhile attack dog scurrying into the corner.
In the wake of that fateful evening, Clinton’s carefully fabricated world was destroyed. The “vast right-wing conspiracy” she famously concocted as a rhetorical fig leaf for the historic first pubescent president was suddenly eclipsed for all-time by a real conspiracy in which she herself was a central player. Better yet, her real conspiracy entangled her in a twist of fate so perfect that it might provide a sixth proof of the existence of God to add to St. Thomas’ five. Allow me to explain.
During her 2008 campaign, Clinton told a story of having to run for cover under sniper fire upon arriving in Bosnia. Imagine her surprise – how dumb are these people? – when CBS News video of the event surfaced, showing her arriving safely, and being greeted by a girl carrying a letter. Far be it for me to claim with certainty that a girl with an envelope could not be misremembered as a man with a rifle – don’t we all sometimes confuse last year’s Thanksgiving dinner with a sniper attack? – but that is not how Clinton herself explained her little senior moment:
You know I have written about this and described it in many different settings and I did misspeak the other day. This has been a very long campaign. Occasionally, I am a human being like everybody else.
In other words, you all tell lies to gain personal advantage, so why shouldn’t Hillary be allowed to get away with one “occasionally.” Of course, she also said in that same response that this was the “first time in twelve years” that she had misrepresented her Bosnian adventure, which was another one of those “occasional” lies, as she had in fact been telling that sniper story repeatedly during her campaign. Oh well, what difference, at that point, did it make?
In September 2012, at the memorial service for the Benghazi victims, Clinton told Charles Woods, father of Tyrone, that the administration would “arrest and prosecute” the maker of a YouTube video about Mohammad that she knew had nothing to do with Woods’ death. In other words, she went to the memorial for a man whose death she might have helped to prevent – Woods died more than seven hours after Clinton and Obama committed to doing nothing about the attack at the consulate and the secret CIA annex – looked the man’s father in the eye and brazenly lied about the cause of his death.
In 2008, she invented facts about her involvement in glamorous violence, and was exposed by a video. Now, she invents a video story to protect herself from culpability regarding real, murderous violence, and is exposed by the facts. In the 2008 case, her exposure merely showed her to be a pathetic liar. In the 2012 reversal, she was exposed as something much more insidious and dangerous: a woman without conscience, compunction, or even the decency to avoid smearing a man’s funeral with her verbal dung. The reversal is almost Sophoclean in its perfection. There is, apparently, a just God – and He enjoys mocking fatuous liars.
In the months following the fateful, inhuman decisions of a year ago, Hillary Clinton, the archetypal Washington establishment woman (hardened leftist pretending to be pragmatic moderate), stonewalled the media and Congress for months, allowing stand-ins to speak in her stead for no apparent reason, citing official scheduling conflicts with the fall hearings, and then exploiting a concussion allegedly serious enough to restrict her to light duties at home for weeks to avoid answering Congress’ questions before having examined the Independent Advisory Review Board’s report on Benghazi.
When she did at last decide to grace Congress with her presence, she “acknowledged,” i.e., admitted in the face of phone records evidence, to having called the CIA’s David Petraeus before speaking with the president during the attack, in order to make sure their respective departments were “closely latched up together” – that is, to make sure they were committed to the same story. And, of course, it was at this hearing, in answer to questions concerning what she knew about the real motives behind the Benghazi attack, and when she knew it, that she delivered the famous line that ought to be her epitaph: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
Progressives try to dig their dear leaderette out of this one by objecting that she did not mean “What difference does it make that four Americans died?” That objection is correct. That is not what she meant. What she meant, and what she clearly said, taken in context, was that it no longer mattered what she knew and when she knew it. She was declaring that she had successfully run out the clock, thereby indirectly conceding the facts, but claiming a statute of limitations on their relevance.
The truths she tacitly granted with that declaration: that she knew from the outset that Benghazi was not about a video, she knew about CIA arms-dealing, she knew this had been a planned attack by a well-armed group, probably with inside information, and she knew that she and President Obama had deliberately chosen to abandon Americans to their fate and move directly into cover-up mode. She knew, further, that this cover-up, in which she would necessarily have been a key insider, involved the scripted and repeated condemnation of an “offensive” YouTube video, followed by a careful campaign of hiding from the single most immediate and obvious question surrounding the prolonged attack: What were you doing – what were you thinking – while your representatives were dying?
It was in answer to questions specifically touching upon her knowledge of all those things that she erupted, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” What difference does it make, in other words, whether the administration’s story resembled the truth? With that exasperated reply, Hillary Clinton – the model progressive elitist, and the likely standard-bearer of world progressivism’s next stage of devolution – revealed, above all else, that the devilish genie of leftist scheming had completely escaped her control. The question, and the tone in which she delivered it, was less an answer to Senator Ron Johnson, who was asking the questions, than a plea to that genie to get back in the lamp before causing any further disarray.
The Obama administration’s Middle East policy has unravelled through recent events in Libya, Egypt, and now Syria, to reveal itself as effectively an effort to destabilize “secular” rule in favor of popular Islamic uprisings, while supporting, legitimizing, and defending the Muslim Brotherhood and its interests in the region. When questions were raised by Michele Bachmann and a fewer other brave congressmen concerning MB influence in the U.S. government, the voices (particularly Republican voices) that rose to ridicule those congressmen most vociferously were the same ones now screaming their support for “action” on behalf of the (partly al Qaeda) rebels in Syria, the same ones demanding that the MB be included as an equal player in Egypt’s democratic process and questioning the legitimacy of President Morsi’s ouster. And who were the brave congressmen’s attackers leaping to defend? Huma Abedin, who, of course, just happens to be Hillary Clinton’s protégé.
A year ago, Hillary Clinton was perfectly positioned to be the next U.S. president: a radical leftist who could nevertheless be presented as a moderate shift in the aftermath of Obama; a compulsive liar in the name of her own careerism who always seemed to escape condemnation on the grounds that her lies were somehow evidence of her “humanity”; the tough woman who could be trusted to answer that 3AM phone call; and the best Democrat friend of the leading Republican progressives.
Now the mythology, twisted as it was, has been undone. Through her Benghazi performance, Clinton’s name will be forever bound up with the Obama presidency’s biggest scandal; her most recent battery of lies has been exposed as treacherous, conscienceless, and utterly self-interested; as many have noted, she has demonstrated all too perfectly what her answer to that 3AM phone call will be, at least when she regards her own political advantage as inconsistent with the concerns or lives of those calling for help; and her “moderate Republican” defenders are daily revealing themselves as toadying fellow travelers of the progressive elite, and useful idiots of radical Islam.
The jig is up on Hillary Clinton and the ruling establishment to whose throne she had become the heir apparent as of September 10, 2012. But I know what you are thinking: If the media continues to cover for that establishment, and the majority of the U.S. population continues to ignore all the facts available to them, then what difference, at this point, does it make?
I actually agree with that objection, and expect that the truth will make very little difference in electoral practice in the short run. If Hillary Clinton wishes to be president (sarcasm), she will likely become president. (Lord knows the Republican establishment won’t try to stop her.) But the events of the post-Benghazi era have changed the historical game. The progressives are out in the open now; they see that they are exposed, even if most people are choosing not to look.
Their motives have not changed: power lust, snobbish presumption, and that conscienceless desire for personal advantage and security at the expense of the well-being, even the lives, of other people that has only one correct name, the one Socrates assigned it more than 2400 years ago – the tyrannical soul. The difference is that now the pretenses have vanished. We cannot pretend, and more importantly they cannot pretend, that they are trying, however misguidedly, to help people, to improve society, or to foster equality. The genie is permanently loose, the big lie of American progressivism forever exposed. These people represent nothing but evil, self-promotion, and death. They don’t care about lives not their own. They regard themselves as a species above, and are therefore impervious to guilt and shame where human suffering is concerned. Truth has been their plaything, to be revealed or concealed as they judged useful to their advancement.
They will continue to mouth the words of progressive manipulation, as will their bootlickers in the media. But those words can no longer sustain the aura of doublethink and self-justification. American progressives are people who, like Clinton and Obama, were forced to make a choice this year, a choice between admitting they have lost the narrative, or simply carrying on with acknowledged lies. A choice between admitting to themselves that their actions have become unmoored from any semblance of human decency, or doubling down on a life lived according to sociopathic principles. A choice between defending their petty self-interest at all costs, or confessing their undeniable culpability. They chose evil.
America’s progressives have lost the tether of well-controlled lies and public perceptions that anchored their decisions in cool calculation. The underlying truth has not changed, but its uncontrolled release is irradiating the progressive psyche. There is a very big difference between believing your corrupt deeds are concealed, and knowing they are fully visible to anyone who bothers to look. Suddenly, keeping up appearances is no longer enough; distracting people from looking at what is no longer hidden becomes the overwhelming goal.
The progressives have entered a nightmare world of their own making, in which the respectable veneer – the well-creased pant leg – has given way to a relentless series of distractions aimed at preventing everyone from hearing that pounding American heart beneath the floorboards. Calculated corruption is giving way to madness. (Serendipitously, my friend William Meisler reminded me of this Greek maxim just this morning: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”)
In practice, this means their tactics will become more aggressive, and even less restrained. Benghazi and its aftermath are just a hint of what is to come. It will henceforth be “go for broke” time, all the time. The scandals, authoritarian lurches, manufactured crises and open breaches of faith with their oaths and their nation will become ever more intense and brazen. And there will be no joy in this unraveling for constitutionalists, who will be not onlookers, but victims.
The smooth, soporific drift into the abyss is officially over for America. From here on out, the ride gets very, very rough – that is what happens when progressivism’s wheels come off. Hold on.
(This article first appeared at American Thinker.)