In the LA Times today, Barton Swaim argues that in this year’s presidential election “we are faced with a choice between two pathologically dishonest candidates.” He runs through a few of Donald Trump’s seemingly bottomless supply of obvious lies, and then turns his attention to Hillary Clinton:
Clinton’s career offers a similarly dizzying array of bogus claims—(1) that she had known nothing about the firing of White House travel office employees in 1993, though she had orchestrated it; (2) that she deplaned in Bosnia under sniper fire; (3) that she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary, who climbed Everest when she was 5; (4) that she was a fierce critic of NAFTA “from the very beginning” when in fact she worked to get it passed; (5) that she “did not email any classified material to anyone,” though of course she did, many times.
This is the sign of a pathologically dishonest candidate? Swaim rather easily found five clear and consequential lies from Trump’s campaign this year, but not a single one from Hillary’s. He had to go back more than 20 years to put together this list, and even so he couldn’t manage to find five clear examples. #3 was a trivial recounting of a family story that apparently wasn’t true. #4 is modestly misleading, but not much more. (Hillary was privately skeptical of NAFTA from the beginning, and became more public about it after she was no longer part of her husband’s administration.) #5 is not a lie at all. It’s true—unless you count a bunch of emails that were retroactively classified only years after she sent them.
So that leaves #1 and #2. I’ll give Swaim both of them. That’s two lies between 1993 and 2008—about as many as Trump tells each day before lunch. If Hillary is really pathologically dishonest, surely Swaim could have pretty easily found more examples more recently? Frankly, if Hillary really does average one lie per decade, it might very well place her among the most honest politicians on the planet.