Exaggerations undermine credibility

Freedom New Mexico

Some consider it a cynical joke, but it may just be the beginning of wisdom to take as a default position the likelihood that anybody who would even dream of running for president is automatically disqualified for the job.

The combination of self-importance, ego, sense of entitlement and outsized perception of one’s own indispensability, which most candidates have in abundance, usually makes for a person whom few sensible people would trust in a position where the lives of so many are effectively in his or her hands.

If this is true of most politicians, of late it seems doubly true of Sen. Hillary Clinton. The palpable falsehoods Sen. Clinton has told about her trip to Tuzla, Bosnia, in 1996 stretch beyond the opportunistic to the downright bizarre.

The mainstream media have picked up on the tale Sen. Clinton, apparently seeking to demonstrate that she is experienced enough and macho enough to be commander in chief, has told more than once on the campaign trail.

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base,” she said about her Bosnia adventure in a recent speech.

Shouldn’t she have known better, in this era of YouTube? Of course, there would be TV footage of her disembarking from the plane in a leisurely, first-lady-like fashion, greeting the assembled dignitaries without the slightest hint of apprehension on anybody’s part, and listening as an 8-year-old girl recited a poem in English.

As the comedian Sinbad, who along with Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, and the singer Sheryl Crow, accompanied Clinton on the trip, put it, the “scariest” thing about it was wondering whether “we eat here or at the next place.”

Hillary’s campaign finally acknowledged that she “misspoke,” but the weird insistence on some kind of danger continued. She insisted the plane landed in the kind of steep corkscrew pattern used by military planes seeking to evade flak, but the pilot, retired Air Force Col. William “Goose” Changose, told a radio interviewer that he used no such maneuver and that “(n)ot only were there no bullets flying around, there wasn’t a bumblebee flying around.”

Then Clinton relied on a Washington Post story written at the time to claim she was the first first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt to visit a front-line war zone. Sorry. Pat Nixon visited Saigon in July 1969 and visited a field hospital via what the helicopter pilot said recently was “a combat mission.” Barbara Bush visited Saudi Arabia two months before the Persian Gulf War.