The graveyard of Oval Office ambitions is littered with “gaffes” that reveal something about a candidate they’d rather not admit.
George H.W. Bush, who was dinged for lacking “vision,” never lived down the moment in 1992 when he read aloud a cue card that said, “Message: I care.”
The overly cerebral Michael Dukakis was done in by his own lack of outrage while sticking to policy after being asked a question that conjured the potential rape and murder of his wife.
Mitt Romney took the practice to new heights. He claimed in 2012 that “47 percent” of Americans would vote for President Obama “no matter what” because they “believe they are entitled” to government largesse. Many felt this was a little rich for an entitled scion of wealth to be saying. Romney sought to rebut suggestions he was sexist by noting he had asked as governor of Massachusetts for more resumes from females and had received “whole binders full of women.” He pronounced himself a “severe conservative,” revealing just what he thought of true conservatives.
Hillary Clinton had her moment of truth, so to speak, last Sunday.
“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” she said during a CNN town hall.
The utterance haunted her all last week. And that’s because everyone knows, basically, that it’s true.
Hillary’s energy plan points the United States towards an expensive, renewable-energy paradise. While she promises on her website not to leave coal industry workers to rot, she depends on “federal investments that help people to find good jobs without having to move and build a strong, diversified economic future.”
And everyone knows what that means: shovel-ready federally-supported jobs that, as President Obama once acknowledged, aren’t as shovel-ready as one would expect.
She can talk about trying to help displaced workers all she wants, but the bottom line is that Hillary is going to destroy those jobs, and they will not be coming back. This is all to make some microscopic contribution toward halting global — note the word “global” — warming.
Her statement gets at the callous indifference voters perceive of liberal planners toward real-world workers who don’t fit into their dreams of a future based on the best studies about a rational outcomes Harvard University can produce. Miners will indeed be out of business under Hillary’s presidency, and out of luck. The strategies for putting them back to work sooth the guilt of those who have put them out of work, not the workers themselves.
By Tuesday, she was forced to scribble out an apology to Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. His state is one of the nation’s largest mining states.
“Simply put, I was mistaken in my remarks,” she wrote. “I wanted to make the point that, as you know too well, while coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come, both in the US. and around the world, we have already seen a long-term decline in American coal jobs and a recent wave of bankruptcies as a result of a changing energy market, and we need to do more to support the workers and families facing these challenges.”
So instead of saying we will put a lot of coal miners out of business — she actually meant to say we already have put a lot of them out of business.
Perhaps she meant to say that. But she didn’t say that. She said something that is true, but which she would rather not have said, given that coal miners vote between training sessions on how to construct solar panels — and given that many in their communities and far beyond empathize with their plight.
Within the same week, Clinton claimed “we didn’t lose a single person” in Libya, a clear sign of her abnegation of responsibility for the Benghazi disaster. Again, the truth emerges: She really doesn’t think she or her policies as secretary of state had anything to do with it.
One of the great things about U.S. presidential campaigns, often mocked overseas, is their duration. Over months of fatiguing campaigning, the real person — and the truth — emerge.
And that is not going to be helpful to Hillary Clinton.
A version of this piece also appears on LifeZette.