Clinton, Trump stand miles apart on honesty

Noah M. Horwitz

In 2008, Hillary Clinton told a story about landing in Bosnia “under sniper fire.” She was recalling a harrowing trek, one that supposedly should have shown her experience as a tough prospective commander-in-chief.

Except, she made it up.

Video was uncovered of Clinton landing at the airport in Bosnia, being greeted by children on the tarmac in a friendly ceremony. Rightfully so, Clinton was excoriated by both her intraparty rivals and those across the aisle.

Eight years later, the issue still dogs her. A 1990s comment, wherein Clinton referred to largely black gangs of minors as “super-predators,” still provokes umbrage. And then there are the blasted emails.

The public still salivates over the handful of venial prevarications that Clinton has made in the two and a half decades that mirror my own time walking the Earth. And it’s easy to do this, especially after being egged on by a feckless media obsessed with the malarkey-notion of equivalency, because the lies are enumerable.

Donald Trump’s lies are not. They are so massive, so countless and so confounding that they do not easily register in a person’s memory.

Clinton apologized for both of the aforementioned quips. She ‘fessed up, admitted her culpability and moved on. Trump has never shown any such contrition. He keeps repeating bunk. And there are two possible reasons he does so — either he is a pathological liar or he willfully believes tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories. Or both.

To recall just a few of these aforementioned innumerable mendacities, Trump is fond of telling a story of “thousands” of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after the 9/11 attacks. It was pure poppycock. He repeatedly lies about the “real” unemployment rate being well into the double digits. He made up a story about watching a nonexistent video of a ransom payment to Iran. He intimated that Ted Cruz’s father had knowledge of President Kennedy’s assassination.

And, more importantly, he lies about issues that affect his policies. No, Mexico is not sending crime and rapists to the United States. No, the Muslim Brotherhood does not have sleeper agents at the highest levels of the government.

Unlike Clinton, Trump has never admitted this untruthfulness. If the country makes the unholy choice to elect him, it will have gone from “I cannot tell a lie” to “I cannot admit a lie.” Such sophomoric bravado may have afforded Trump some success in the boardroom, but a serious inability to grasp reality may well have deleterious effects in the Situation Room.

The aforementioned feckless media insists on a narrative of false equivalency, so as to exacerbate the horse race of this election. Trump is a wannabe authoritarian, they say, but Clinton is a serial liar. And she’s corrupt!     

The undecided voters like to shrug their shoulders and point to this lousy equivalence as a way to wash their hands of any serious decision-making. And to do so is not to be a centrist, it’s not to be a pragmatist, it’s not to be an intellectual and it’s certainly not to be well-informed.

It’s being gullible enough to be fooled by a man who started a fake college to scam people. The lies Clinton has told certainly exist, but they are countable and confrontable. Trump’s lies are in a different league, on a different planet, and comparing the two as anything other than levels apart is dishonest in and of itself.