A week ago I did a post on Hillary Clinton being viewed even more favorably in a NYT/CBS poll, despite her many scandals — the corrupt non-profit Clinton Foundation that traded State Department favors for donations; her using a private email account to conduct official business when she was secretary of state; and the lies she told about Benghazi. (See “Hillary and Bill Clinton got millions in bribes from foreign ‘entities’ in exchange for State Dept favors” and “Destruction of Evidence: Hillary Clinton deleted half of emails from personal account used to conduct business as secretary of state“)
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has the explanation.
The poll asked respondents several questions about Clinton’s character. Here are the results:
- On whether Hillary is “honest and straightforward,” 50% of respondents said she wasn’t; only 25% said they believed she was honest.
- On whether Hillary is “effective” at “getting things done,” 44% thought she’s effective versus 34% who didn’t.
- On whether Hillary is “easygoing and likable,” 41% said yes; 37% said no.
- On whether Hillary has “high moral standards that set the proper moral tone for the country,” 43% said yes versus 39% said no.
Jonathan V. Last of The Weekly Standard points out how schizophrenic the poll results are. While as many as 50% say Hillary is not honest and straightforward, 41% nevertheless think she has “high moral standards.”
Last’s conclusion is:
There are only two possible conclusions from this: Either (1) Voters are idiots. Or (2) As a political commodity, Hillary Clinton’s appeal is based on something other than trustworthiness.
Whichever the case, the big lesson from the last few months is that it will be very difficult for a Republican to beat Hillary Clinton by getting voters to turn against her. The Clinton cake is so thoroughly baked that there’s no new evidence that’s going to make people decide that suddenly, after 20 years, the scales have fallen from their eyes and they realize she’s something other than what they think she is.
Instead, the Republican nominee is going to have to make a positive case for something better. It won’t be enough to try to disqualify Clinton. He or she is going to have to offer a more attractive alternative vision.
(And whatever you do, don’t think too hard about the fact that one out of every four Americans still thinks Clinton is “honest” and “straightforward.” It’s just too depressing.)
My conclusion is that since all the evidence points to Hillary Clinton not being “honest and straightforward” and therefore not having “high moral standards,” the fact that 1 out of every 4 Americans think she is “honest and straightforward” and 4 out of every 10 Americans think she has “high moral standards” can only be attributable to this:
An alarming percentage of Americans are either stupid or so morally corrupt themselves that they don’t find her malfeasance and corruption to be a matter of concern.
But America’s Founders knew well the importance of the moral character of both government and governed.
Ben Franklin said “Only a moral and virtuous people are capable of freedom; the more corrupt and vicious a society becomes, the more it has need of masters.” Noah Webster, in On the Education of Youth in America (1788), wrote, “The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”
Then there’s the wise French philosopher and diplomat Count Joseph Marie Maistre (1763-1821) who cynically but accurately observed, “Every nation has the government it deserves.”
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