How Can You Tell If Hillary Clinton Is Lying? Her Lips Are Moving…

Hillary Clinton

Non-partisan, irony-obsessed, law professor  blogger Ann Althouse noted this quote today, from Hillary’s almost completely ignored speech on “American exceptionalism”:

“If there’s one core belief that has guided and inspired me every step of the way, it is this: The United States is an exceptional nation.”

“Why does everything sound like a lie?” Althouse asks. Then, in the comments to her post site, she finds the answer from a commenter called Rob: because it is a lie. He wrote:

Hillary chose her words carefully: “if there’s one core belief that has guided and inspired me every step of the way . . . .” In fact, there is not one core belief that has guided her–unless you count ambition as a core belief.

Ann’s response: “Rob, are you a lawyer? Good catch!”

Yes, it turns out, Rob is a lawyer; he went to law school with Hillary, in fact. And it is a good catch, too, one that Hillary and Bill and all of the politicians who use deceit as a primary language count on most listeners NOT catching. Hillary never said that she believes or is guided by the belief that “the United States is an exceptional nation.” She only said that if she were guided by a core belief, that would be it, but said it in a way that most people will hear to mean that she does believe in American exceptionalism. It’s like me saying that if there was one mass murdering dictator that I admired, it would be Mao. But there are no mass murdering dictators that I admire in the least, and I don’t admire Mao.

I don’t especially care if a candidate believes in American exceptionalism or not. I do care that a candidate uses words and crafts sentences to deceive trusting listeners.

Somebody might inadvertently utter a sentence like Clinton’s without trying to deceive and mislead. Hillary, however, like her husband, long ago lost any right to the benefit of the doubt in this realm.


Pointer: Ann Althouse

35 thoughts on “How Can You Tell If Hillary Clinton Is Lying? Her Lips Are Moving…

  1. It’s going to be interesting living in a nation in which you can’t trust utterance one that comes from the mouth of the chief executive.

      • I did not feel like that was the case from day one with Obama. I had at least some hope that he was going to try to keep up with his lofty rhetoric. With Hillary I know it’s going to be lies, lies and more lies from the moment she takes the oath of office. I don’t think she’ll pull a full Palpatine, but I think there’s a very strong chance there will be a lot of gaslighting, revision after the fact, and just plain shutuppery.

    • How Can You Tell If Hillary Clinton Is Lying? Her Lips Are Moving…. not even close and the right question is; How Can You Tell If Hillary Clinton ain’t Lying? When her hips are moving…

  2. hmmm, i’ve heard people use this type of speech often when making a point of what has guided them. even though i don’t like her, can it be that she really did mean it? (even though i don’t believe her?)

    like “if there’s one blog that talks politics that i really love and trust: it’s Jack Marshall’s ethics alarms.”

    that would mean “it’s the ONLY one i trust.” right?

    i think it’s just her using a figure of speech. i can’t call it intentionally trying to deceive even though i don’t trust her at all.

    • See, this is where I was standing until Jack put the doubt in my head. I try to take people at their word and at face value. Jack says she has lost this privilege. I understand that. In this case, though, I think I agree with you, carcarwhite.

      • OK, then answer this, both of you: Do you believe for a split second that the “core belief” that has more than any other, guided and inspired Hillary Clinton her whole career is that the United States is an exceptional nation? Yet we have never heard her express this core belief as a core belief before! Huh. How odd!

        I’ve heard her talk about children, social justice, women’s rights, but never about how the US is exceptional! This is why Althouse said, “Why does it seem like she’s lying”?

        See the problem? If it isn’t deceit, then it’s just a flat out lie. Do you believe it? Really? Really?

        When she decided to run for the Senate in New York, she said she was a lifetime Yankee fan, an obvious lie, and she was skewered for it. She learned—that’s something, at least–so now she would say, “If there is any baseball team I’ve followed my whole life, it’s the New York Yankees.”


    • As I said, when you are so constantly slippery in your rhetoric and so frequently fall back on “it depends on what is is” defenses as both Clintons do, the default setting is: she’s lying. For most people, you are right.

      • ok i understand now.

        btw, i don’t think trump lies as bad as she does. i think he just doesn’t think long enough before he speaks.

      • The problem with that, and what I’ve brought up in the past and got jumped all over, is that you don’t if she lied. But you’ll call this a lie because of “what she did i the past”. Then next time, you’ll point at this and say “see, she lied again”.

        Personally I think you’ve done some great articles on Clinton, but this one was really nit-picky and you don’t actually know if she lied, believes it, or whatever. But the (well earned) distaste of Clinton just automatically makes you declare this a lie, and will use this as a basis of claiming she doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt again in the future, even though you prove no lie. It’s a self-fulfilling and rolling “she lied in the past so she is lying now”. That’s the problem with “default setting” it. In fact, I’m not sure of the ethics of that.

        I think in this case it’s a figure of speech, and she may believe it. Lots of people think this country is exceptional, and it’s a core belief of theirs.

        • The point is that the phrasing is classic deceit. Do you get that? The point is that the Clintons use deceit all the time, and this is another statement phrased in a misleading way. The point is that Hillary lies even when she has no reason to. As I asked Patrice: does anyone in the world believe that the most important core beliefs of Hillary Clinton is American exceptionalism? Do you? Really? She doesn’t believe it herself, so she phrases it in words that every lawyer knows is literally true but misleading to those who expect transparency.

          This is your candidate. That’s not nitpicky or trivial.

          • I get it. But I also think the saying is a classic expression, or way of saying things. Many people, not just politicians, use the same expression. What you’re claiming then is Clinton sat down, thought over what she was going to say, and purposefully picked out those exact words for the sole purpose of trying to be deceitful, and I don’t think that’s the case. I think it’s an expression, and I would say that probably IS part of her core belief. Why wouldn’t she, she has profited well on that belief. Her family is gained tremendously on that kind of thinking, america being a great place (certainly for people like her).

            I would say every single candidate, along with just about every executive, who ever existed, has used a similar expression at some point. Mostly in relaying a belief they have. It’s a nit-picky thing in this case. She’d done far worse things in what she has said. You could deconstruct almost any politicians statements into that. If you go in and pick out the exact words of most speeches, decide what you think they mean in your own minds, you will find the same statements, said in various ways. So basically everyone is a liar, all the time.

            Besides, you don’t know if she truly does believe it or not. In the little Clinton mind, that might be something she truly believes in. But you’ve unequivocally called it a lie, because she’s lied in the past, where sometimes her “lies in the past” were just you didn’t believe her because she has “lied in the past” (and yes, she has lied many times in the past). Once again, not sure of the ethics of that.

            (And she’s not even really my candidate, except Trump is such a disaster that I have to vote for her).

            • You’re the perfect mark, my friend. Lawyers, politicians, advocates,persuaders of all kinds choose their words exactly this carefully. This was a speech, not a chat. This is exactly what the Clintons count on. Thank you for the demonstration.

            • “What you’re claiming then is Clinton sat down, thought over what she was going to say, and purposefully picked out those exact words for the sole purpose of trying to be deceitful”
              I can see her doing just that, either for her own amusement or just to keep her skills honed. As far as “American Exceptionalism”? C’mon; with the disdain that she treats everyone who works for her with, especially blue collar types like cops and the military?

  3. A few weeks ago, my family and I vacationed in NYC and attended a taping of The Late Show starting Stephen Colbert. It was right after the FBI revealed its finding. Colbert did his opening routine and joked about the reaction to all of this. He said Republicans will be angry and say, “She ALWAYS LIES!” and Democrats will blow it off by saying, “She ALWAYS LIES”. Same thing, different meanings. I thought it was hilarious, but true.

    • Different meanings, as in “she always lies, and this means she can’t be trusted” and “she always lies, and we don’t care, as long as she mouths our favorite platitudes? Colbert is a Democratic flack: how can he make fun of that without essentially shrugging it off? It’s conscious enabling. It’s not funny that Democrats think like that. It’s damning.

  4. Well I certainly believe in American Exceptionalism and I sincerely hope that any candidate at the national or state level believes the same. We have taken on at least one war (the Korean War) where our national interests were not at state. I can’t think of one country in Europe, Asia, or Latin America could say the same. The only exception I can think of is Australia.

    • Wayne, our national interests, a main one being the containment of Communism at the time, was very much at stake in Korea, with both the Soviet Union actively supporting the North, and Mainland China supplying the goods from less than 100 miles away, Then China came in directly and it was two to two, up close and personal . . . except that the Americans had friends.

      The Korean War (affectionately known in the U.S. as a “police action”) was actually under the direction of the United Nations Command (UNC) who provided the core military and the strategy while the USA provided the high command for the UNC as well as the majority of the logistics, air and naval power, artillery and military infrastructure.

      The UN was rather a different body in those days and communism was a joint threat across most of the globe. Australia was one of the very first to contribute military personnel from all three services. Fighting units were sent too from Great Britain, Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Colombia, Ethiopia, South Africa, New Zealand, Turkey, Greece, Thailand, the Philippines and Luxembourg. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, India, and Italy contributed field ambulances and fully staffed military hospitals (those M*A*S*H* units so beloved of us all) to the cause. The British Commonwealth sent the next most numerous of the UN contingents. As well as air and naval units, the 1st British Commonwealth Division, where the Australian infantry battalions served, took part in the hardest-fought battles of the war.

      In its turn, by the way, South Korea committed its troops to Vietnam, leaving 5,000 dead after nine years of fighting, mostly on the front lines, despised by both sides: from the East for being traitors to their genetic (supposed) Asian cause; from the West for being “gooks” that American eyes could not distinguish from the enemy. Those who returned faced the condemnation, as well, of their own countrymen who had copied several years before the anti-war sentiment of much of the U.S. population.

      Exceptional as we are – and I trust after the next election will remain so – if we chose to declare a war and no other nation got involved, it could end in tragedy. At present we have defense alliances of one kind or another with 69 countries that, taken together, appear to be in an inextricable and conflicting tangle that needs to be unsnarled before the next conflict commences.

      • Containment of Communism did become U.S. policy after the Soviet Union took over Eastern Europe following WW2 and the Nationalists were decisively beaten by Mao and his Communist forces. The reason I state that the Korean War was not fought for our national interests was that at the start we had only a very small number of troops there (Task Force Smith) to help advise the South Korean Armed Forces initially. Although technically the war was a U.N. “Police Action”, the US Armed Forces that fought there swelled to over 300,000! The British contributed about 15,000 and the French, Australians, and Turks somewhat less. We did the heavy lifting and although Australian, British, French, and Turkish units fought bravely, the U.S. Armed Forces suffered the preponderance of casualties along with the South Koreans who obviously did have a national interest. South Korea at the time was basically an undeveloped country and primarily agricultural. There was little trade with the U.S. as there was basically nothing to import or export. So I state again, that we really had no national interests there.

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