WASHINGTON, May 22, 2015 — It is common for people to pay partial attention to the news for a few minutes each week and consider themselves knowledgeable about what is going on in the world. Thirty-second clips on Facebook of Jon Stewart giggling about John Boehner’s tan have replaced independent thought and the desire to actually read in-depth news stories.
This sad reality hit home in a major way this week when in two separate instances, Hillary Clinton’s supporters were unable to put a single sentence together regarding their opinions about her record.
A group of self-described Hillary supporters in Iowa was asked what Hillary accomplished that was significant during her time as secretary of state. The responses were shocking. One supporter, after a long sigh, admitted she couldn’t name anything “off the top of her head.” A young man opined that Hillary “isn’t perfect,” but she has “been around for a long time.”
Having been around a long time seems to now be the most important accomplishment needed on a resume to be President of the United States. Beyond that, the entire group of Iowa voters couldn’t name a single accomplishment by Hillary Clinton.
It’s not entirely their fault that they couldn’t think of a single success from her time as secretary of state. There weren’t any. Outside of the failed reset with Russia, the Benghazi debacle, China’s unchecked military advance, the bungled Arab Spring and violating White House rules by deleting all of her emails, there isn’t much worth comment. That shouldn’t keep her partisans from at least spinning an argument, regardless of how little they have to work with.
The question wasn’t about Hillary’s sorority contributions in college or her favorite Led Zeppelin song. The group was asked to name one significant accomplishment during her time in one of the most high profile jobs in the world. The inability to do that is astonishing from anyone who supports her candidacy to lead this country.
Left-wing media outlets have done their best to argue that it doesn’t matter whether Hillary’s supporters know her record. Susan Milligan, while speaking as a guest on “Hardball” with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, argued that it’s “not fair” to ask Clintonites to name a Clinton accomplishment. Matthews, hard-hitting, objective newsman that he is, agreed with Milligan: “Obama didn’t have a big accomplishment before he got elected” either.
Matthews should give a pass to Rand Paul supporters who can’t cite anything significant about the Kentucky senator’s record, then, or to Scott Walker voters who don’t know anything about his time as governor of Wisconsin, shouldn’t he? No. But more troubling is that Matthews’ justification for the embarrassing Clintonista ignorance was the equivalent of the grade-schooler’s “all the other kids are doing it” defense. President Obama didn’t accomplish anything before he was elected either, so who cares?
It is interesting that Matthews feels comfortable admitting that Obama probably didn’t have the necessary experience to be president; he certainly wasn’t singing that tune during the 2008 campaign.
The Washington Free Beacon reported in February that Hillary paid her female staffers less than her male staffers for the same work during her time as senator of New York. Caleb Bonham of the Centennial Institute took to the streets to ask a group of Hillary supporters how they felt about that. True to form, they had no idea it happened and no words to express their disappointment.
One person responded simply with “Woah.” Another Clinton supporter was at a loss for words, “I don’t even know what to say right now. I’m kind of shocked.” The majority of those who answered Bonham’s question had nothing to say, and many of them made it clear they were re-thinking their vote for Hillary.
There is no doubt that this kind of thing happens on both sides of the aisle. Millions of voters will only hear what they want to hear, and Democrats don’t have a monopoly on ignorance. They do, however, seem to have cornered the market on using ignorance to their advantage. Hillary Clinton’s campaign is a perfect example of that.
Wherever Hillary has gone—from her time on the Watergate investigation in the 70’s, to her time as Arkansas’ first lady and a lawyer with the Rose law firm, to the White House to the State Department to the Clinton Foundation—controversy has followed. America can and must expect better of its voters than to vote for candidates to lead the free world only on the basis of gender, race, and name recognition. Unfortunately, between what we should expect and what we get lies a vast and growing gulf.