A Question of Trust?

I follow politics fairly closely, although in a way that is perhaps different than most of you. I don’t watch cable “news,” I listen to NPR occasionally and the only talk radio I listen to currently is the Stephanie Miller Show, although I do check out a few politically-oriented podcasts, as well. Most of the news I get comes from specific places and, these days, I carefully check every news story for veracity. Okay, I occasionally slip up, but for the most part I don’t say anything until I have checked to make sure that what I’m saying is pretty much true. I’ve been burned a few times and I really try to stick to facts.

So, imagine my amusement when the Washington Post ran a “story” on Sunday, asking if Hillary Clinton can “Overcome her trust problem?” (Source) This is how it starts:

Hillary Clinton’s weekend interview with the FBI stands as a perfect symbol of what is probably her biggest liability heading into the fall election: A lot of people say they don’t trust her.

Clinton sat for an interview of more than three hours as part of a Justice Department investigation into the privately owned email system she operated off the books when she was secretary of state. The timing — less than three weeks before she will claim the Democratic presidential nomination — is an attempt to make the best of a situation that would look bad for any candidate but is particularly damaging for Clinton.

(Side note: perhaps ironically, as I am writing this, I am being bombarded with “Breaking News” alerts telling me that the FBI has recommended no charges be brought against Hillary Cinton. Therefore, now that we have context, it is likely that is the reason the FBI spoke with her on Saturday.)

Most telling was the number of people all over social media and elsewhere, essentially agreeing that, yes indeed, Hillary Clinton does have a trust problem, by golly. Among them were a bunch of Bernie Stans, of course, and one Robert Reich, who, despite his lineage as a Clintonite from the very beginning, holds “messiah-in-waiting” status on the far left these days. His Facebook post started by declaring that Hillary has trust issues as if it was a stone cold fact, which is ridiculous. I mean, when she was First Lady, she was consistently among the most admired women in the world. She won her New York Senate seat twice by a wide margin. She has run for President twice; the first time, she barely lost the nomination to a transcendent candidate and the second time, she won the nomination in a walk against a candidate seen by the far left as a messiah-like figure. She got 57% of the votes in primaries where people actually voted and she pretty much had it locked up by March 1, when the Democratic base – People of Color, immigrants and women – voted for her in such overwhelming numbers that Sanders had no chance. Is that not a demonstration of trust? I mean, the people in our society with the most at stake in this election voted for her overwhelmingly; why would they vote for someone they don’t trust, at least on some level, in such great numbers? They had several choices, including Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, both of whom are trustworthy; if they didn’t trust Hillary, they didn’t have to vote for her.

When any media outlet claims anything negative about any candidate for political office, take it with a grain of salt. Every news outlet and every editor has a vested interest in a close race, so they will say anything they can to make it closer than it is. That will be especially true this year, as the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be between someone who is eminently qualified for the presidency against someone who is barely qualified to breathe air. They will have to try to tear her down. But to do it will require significant double-talk. For example, look at this section from the Post article, in which the writer, Anne Gearan, tries to justify her assertion that Clinton has a trust problem. Read it closely:

In an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll in late June, 69 percent of respondents said they were concerned that Clinton has a record or reputation as untrustworthy. A CBS News poll in June found 62 percent saying Clinton is not honest and trustworthy, while 33 percent said she is. Her ratings on this were similar to Trump’s (63 percent not honest, 32 percent honest). But on a separate measure of being forthcoming, 33 percent of registered voters said Clinton says what she believes while 62 percent said she does not. By contrast, 56 percent said Trump says what he believes.

People are far more likely to say Clinton is well prepared for the job, while rating Trump as unsuited for the White House, said pollster Peter D. Hart, who oversaw the latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. Where she falls down is on the more nuanced question of character and trust, he said.

This is somewhat familiar territory for Clinton, who overcame discomfort over her hands-on role as first lady in the 1990s and mistrust of her motives in the 2000 Senate campaign.

“When she won election to the Senate, she had to overcome skepticism in the minds of some voters in certain parts in New York,” campaign press secretary Brian Fallon said in an interview. “She went on to impress everyone with her work ethic and her ability to reach across the aisle, and then managed to win reelection by an even wider margin in 2006. So we know that while the political season brings out all kinds of personal attacks and unfair questioning of her motives, the reality is, once in the job, she never fails to work her heart out and earn respect from even her critics.”

Again, read that carefully. Compare the first two paragraphs with the next two. On the one hand, she cites polls about one version of “trust.” Then she does a 180 and pivots to a different version of “trust.” First of all, POLLS? Who the hell trusts (there’s that word again!) a poll enough to declare who the public trusts, as if it was somehow fact? That’s like all of the stupid polls about Obamacare; yes, most people didn’t like it, but their reasons for not liking it varied greatly. Many people hated Obamacare because they were Republican and had no choice; they hated anything he did. Others hated it because they felt  it didn’t go far enough. Of course, you’re always going to end up with a majority on a yes or no question without context.

On a poll asking a question like, “Do you trust Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump – the only two people in the race with 100% name recognition, by the way – you are going to have at least 25-30% of respondents who will be compelled to say they don’t trust one or the other, no matter what. This year, you have the added feature of “Never Trump” and “Bernie or Bust” people, so of course those negative numbers will be high. Therefore, you will need a lot more than polls to support a claim that Hillary Clinton has a trust problem as a declarative sentence. We’re not electing a pastor or choosing a spouse or best friend. We are choosing the next President of theUnited  States.

So, look at the last two paragraphs above. Every candidate in the history of politics has faced a certain level of distrust. It is natural for voters to distrust politicians; they have to earn it. But it’s a different kind of trust. Put it this way; I wouldn’t trust the Bill Clinton of 20 years ago with a good looking female relative, but if he wants to help Hillary with economic policy, I’d trust him completely. Who wouldn’t, except a Bernie Stan? See the problem? “Do you trust (Candidate)?” is a ridiculous poll question because it doesn’t provide context to the trust in question. No, I probably wouldn’t trust Hillary Clinton to bake cookies for a church bake sale. But to run the country? Sure. And since the race is between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and I wouldn’t trust Donald Trump to run the country on my worst day, the answer is obvious.

People do trust Hillary Clinton. If they didn’t trust her, they wouldn’t vote for her. I mean, DUH.


A Question of Trust? — 17 Comments

  1. First off, as a former employee of governmental agencies, both State and Federal, I can attest to the fact that some of the crap that I witnessed was indeed questionable behavior, however, that behavior was never illegal. The information that is coming forth on this subject is not only disturbing, but especially worrisome is the fact that in order to skirt around laws that are in place to see exactly what our elected officials are doing, she went out of her way to make sure here actions were never recorded. That is illegal. That behavior alone is a tell. What exactly did she need to hide? If her actions are above board as you state, that she is a very “honest individual,” why did she do exactly the opposite? No, I am afraid the only gullible person in this conversation is the one willing to say and do whatever it takes to put this dishonest person in office. That person will have the power to not only avoid detection regarding that dishonest behavior, but also to continue to allow our world environment to be polluted with her “Commander in Chief” fracking policies. You do not hold her accountable for the “Three Strikes” law either. Do you know how many people have died for minor infractions that did not warrant life in prison? Yes, I happen to be a sister to a dead brother because of her and her husbands decisions to make this horrendous policy law. Your mental acuity is indeed impressive, but when it comes to this individual, you are just inept.

    • Wow. You’re not getting this.

      I worked in DC for years, in the “belly of the beast,” as it were. I worked for large law firms as a paralegal and I had access to a lot of sensitive information in that time. Hell; for a year, I worked on a team that had possession of and was analyzing employee records for people who worked for a major federal agency. As people entrusted with that kind of information, we don’t disclose any of it. Ever. Even a decade or more after the fact. I don’t put everything I know into a book. IOW, the guy who wrote the book about the Clintons completely lacks ethics. Completely. So, why are you choosing to trust HIM — someone you know nothing about — over Hillary, who is one of the two most-scrutinized politicians in history? How gullible are you?

      As for “accountability,” the misogyny that comes from blaming a former First Lady for things her husband did is breathtaking in the first place, but I love how people like you cherry pick to demonize her, as well. But the FACT is, she and former President Clinton are easily the most-investigated politicians in history, and they have been cleared more than anyone in history. No politician is 100% honest; they can’t be and be successful. But as politicians go, I’m not sure anyone else could have survived the scrutiny she has. I’m sorry for your brother; I have a friend who has been a ward of the California prison system for too long, as well. But the president has little to do with that, first of all, and Bill Clinton has apologized for the crime bill and Hillary has promised to back away from it, as well.

      It is just crazy to believe that Hillary in 2016 will be just like Bill in 1992. Anyone who thinks that is delusional.

      • I agree that we do not disclose what we witnessed as employees, but with that being said, he chose to break that silence, just as others that have enlightened the public to what the NSA, Fusion Centers, Wikileaks et. al. has become for the American Public privacy. Do you believe that those people were just disgruntled employees? Or instead, that they were giving the public important information in order to learn just how corrupt the system has become? These important voices are telling us what our government will not tell us. What our government is doing without our knowledge, and that it is not only dangerous behavior but very criminal in my opinion. Without these important revelations, how would we even comprehend such incredulous criminal actions by the very people we elect and put into office? I believe that when it comes to information, whether it is out of spite or truth, there is something to be gleaned from that information in order to make a formal opinion on who we want to represent us in Public Service. When you weigh the information with either the actual truth or what we others want us to perceive as truth, we usually find ourselves somewhere in the middle, and we are either dead wrong or dead right. I may be dead wrong, but there is just too many voices weighing in with credible evidence to dismiss these important concerns. I am so very sorry for your friend and that injustice. It must not stand, and again, why would we even consider putting someone in office that may or may not have the ability to continue to institutionalize our friends and family over minor criminal acts? I just don’t even want to consider that option. It has been too painful to watch them suffer at the hands of politicians that have no right to implement such cruel policies without doing the hard work, the Due Diligence such as finding out what those types of policy outcomes will be in the future. Why would I want to put the spouse of a former president in charge when their policies have caused so much destruction on the American family? NAFTA, repeal of Glass-Stegal, three strikes law, fracking, gun sales to foreign lands, assassinations of dictators, war…..I am sure there are many others that I have not mentioned but you get my drift. It is just too great of a chance in my opinion to allow that type of power in the hands of someone that has been and still is highly influenced by a former government employee. And that is what he is. Now if Rosalyn were to consider running for office, oh hell yes, I would not balk one bit. Her character traits are known and admired, not hidden or questionable.

  2. Milt, explain to me why a former Secret Service Agent has come out against the Clinton’s? If anyone has an inside track to this family and how they think, then it would be a former employee, don’t you think? I just watched him on CSPAN Book and he made a very enlightening comment that I am going to share with you here. How can you not be concerned about her character or the fact that she did not want to be investigated had she kept the normal SOP in place? I don’t understand your willingness to just assume that she is benign. Too much evidence is coming forward that in fact, she is very vindictive and somewhat unstable.

    • First of all, do you have any idea how many books have been written about the Clintons, all of which have been proven to be complete bullshit? Hell, David Brock wrote a few, before he finally figured out what was happening. A better question is, why are you gullible enough to believe a Secret Service agent who said he “witnessed” all of these horrible things? Secret Service take an oath and make a promise to not disclose anything they see, so anyone who writes a book like this is untrustworthy to begin with. But there have also been reports that he was very low level and couldn’t have seen most of the shit he claimed. Funny how you missed those.

      The FACT of the matter is, the Clintons have been investigated more than any politicians in history and all anyone has is a BJ. That’s it.

      So, Debra, explain to me why you’re so intent on believing smears made against this family by someone who is dishonest and couldn’t have seen them, but NOT the thousands of people who have said Hillary is one of the most honest and real people they have ever met? BTW, did you know the word “gullible” rhymes with orange?

  3. “… I wouldn’t trust the Bill Clinton of 20 years ago with a good looking female relative, but if he wants to help Hillary with economic policy, I’d trust him completely. …”
    The rest of your post is excellent except for this line.
    Bill gave us NAFTA, which i keep being told that is/was wonderful. Nope, not for all the workers who lost jobs due to NAFTA allowing the plants to run away. Ditto for other main things Bill did.
    I am wondering how much, if any, Hillary has ‘evolved’ on these issues and then i hear her say she’s against the TPP (another evil 1% “trade pact”)…. and her supporters are refusing to allow a Democrat plank against the TPP.
    Prediction is, one way or another, the pact will be enacted. Almost immediately, you will see the XL pipeline installed, and shortly thereafter will see it leaking massively.
    Nope. If Hillary gets elected, Bill should bake cookies and stay the H3LL out of government. He’s not getting co-elected.
    For the record: i was/am a Bernie supporter and a “Never Trump” believer. I also hope Hillary gives me reason(s) to be pleasantly surprised, cynic and contrarian that i am.
    I’m going to be curious to see replies to this.

    • Here’s the first response…

      24.6 million new jobs in 8 years. (Worst case, NAFTA cost 700k jobs over 20 years.)

      Longest peacetime economic expansion in history.

      Largest expansion of the middle class since the 1950s.

      First expansion of the middle class in the black community.

      First unemployment rates below 4% since the 1960s.

      First expansion in real wages nationally since the late 1960s.

      Largest reduction in the poverty rate in the post-war era.

      IOW, you just spout whatever talking points your professional left handlers tell you to spew. you should read some of my posts from the past week. You just believe anything. That’s not progressive.

      • Hello Milt
        “…. IOW, you just spout whatever talking points your professional left handlers tell you to spew. …”
        Wow! I have no “professional” or other “handlers.” What i wrote is all my thoughts.
        FWIW: i’ve been reading a lot of your posts for the several months since i happened across your site. I quite agree with what you write, though, since my path of learning has been different, not all of them without some qualification. Hence my post.
        Your list of things is good for President Obama’s accomplishments.
        Do i need to point out that my concern is how Ms. Clinton will do, if elected? While the GOP loathed and did their best(worst?) to impede accomplishments by P. Obama, imho, they loathe even more Ms. Clinton. Only if the voters give the Congress (both chambers) back to the Democrats will things not go as they did while P. Obama held the office, or worst. The GOP has already had 8 years of practice misbehaving.
        And, argue how you will, though she says otherwise, the DNC’s platform committee has blocked a resolution to stop the TPP. Ms. Clinton was FOR the TPP before she now(?) is against it.
        I see nothing to make me believe the TPP won’t pass (with Ms. Clinton’s help) if she is elected. Hence my reservations and difficulty being enthusiastic about her nomination.

        Tone down the hostility as above. We mostly agree.

        • Hostility?

          You repeat left wing talking points with no basis in reality, I call you on it and you call it hostile? Please, stop.

          The TPP is a non-issue. The only reason anyone would ever think it was a major deal is if they are willfully ignorant. It’s readily available to read; there is nothing in there that would cause major tragedy to the economy. It’s funny; most of the complaints about it are based on the supposed disaster caused by NAFTA. Well, there are two problems with using NAFTA as a rationale for being against TPP:

          1. The assumption is that NAFTA caused a major exodus of jobs overseas, which is ridiculous. The latest analysis of NAFTA estimates a loss of 700,000 jobs in TWENTY YEARS. Is that ideal? Of course not. But during the same 20 years, more than 32 million net jobs were created.

          2. The other problem is, TPP actually addresses many of the actual problems that NAFTA did cause, including environmental and labor concerns.

          So, don’t claim you’re not repeating professional eat talking points. There is no factual basis for being against TPP. None. I will admit that there are a few intellectual property problems in TPP, but overall, it’s pure fantasy to claim it will cause jobs to leave the country. That already happened, long before even NAFTA. Being against free trade agreements based on fantasy is based on ignorance. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

        • Again, WOW.

          You claim that the TPP is benign. You do this by citing things i didn’t mention.
          As i see it, no, it’s not benign. A major provision is that disputes are to be “settled” by a tribunal that doesn’t have to respect the wishes of the citizens of the country. This is effectively a coup against any law or regulation that country has that, in some way, reduces the profits a multi-national or corporation wishes to make. Effectively, you’ve just tossed out home rule of any sort.

          You are also using “talking points” others use. This neither makes them valid or invalid. The same holds true for the issues i am concerned about. You are attacking me instead of addressing the specific things i’ve said.

          NAFTA has caused exodus of jobs. That’s not debatable. The “… 32 million net jobs …” growth you’re claiming is not easily proven to be directly due to advantages of NAFTA and, perhaps more importantly, many, if not most, of those jobs are not paying at the same rate as the jobs taken away by NAFTA. Higher profits for the wealthy, lower pay for our fellow citizens. To me, that’s not a good trade off.

          For example:
          GM had factories producing transmissions made in unionized work places. They produced (better than) world class transmissions that were used in many top end cars, Rolls Royce, among others. Now, due in part to
          NAFTA, those transmissions are being made in Mexico and South Korea. Something the supporters of things like the TPP wish you to not pay attention to. NONE of the workers who used to make the transmissions have jobs that pay nearly as well as formerly.

          Yes, the TPP is not worker or environmentally friendly. The spills from the very likely forced built XL Pipeline installation will prove the environmental point. Blocking the XL means corporations won’t make profits and that can be overturned by the provisions of the TPP.

          Come outside your talking points box and stop being the same as those you rail against.

        • Again, you speak like someone who has never read the TPP and is only repeating what others have told him/her. For example, the disputes provision only applies in cases where individual states have conflicting statutes. Go read it and think for yourself. WOW indeed.

        • Btw, the Keystone pipeline held hearings for 2 years and I couldn’t get liberals to pay attention. KXL hasn’t been, won’t be built. Again, stop regurgitating bullshit.

  4. I totally agree with you. The polls are ridiculous! I can’t trust a man who is a bigot racist person. The fact that he mocked disabled reporter. I’m physically disabled and found hint very offensive. I don’t understand how people don’t see who this guy truly is and to run country? I can’t imagine the hell he would cause for us. Never Trump!

    • “… By contrast, 56 percent said Trump says what he believes. …”
      And that’s the exact problem. What Trump says IS what he believes at the time he says it. It’s also the things that he’s saying makes him unfit to hold any elected office.
      Putting the two poll questions together give people reason to believe that the two questions are connected and that is just wrong without additional questions and clarifications. For example: ask them if they approve of Trump’s spewings?
      Take care.

      • Pretty much. That he’s sincere just makes it worse, not better.
        A person who believes overt lies is also just an outright psychopath.
        And even as I’m typing it, I’m beginning to wonder if he might be clinically psychopathic.

        • I should clarify. I remember reading that psycopaths are compulsive liars and are quite good at it because they can compartmentalize their own lies well enough that they believe them, at least in the moment. As a result, they come across as sincere and even superficially charming. The downside to this is that they are quite delusional and have grandiose ideas about their own worth and lack any empathy whatsoever. Which is where the “superficial” part comes in. They’ll say anything the think you want to hear, even if they have to contradict themselves. And any pretense at morality or compassion is really just an act.
          Combine this with other things we know about Trump.
          He’s thin-skinned and sensitive to any perceived attack on him. He’s attention and thrill-seeking.
          He loves flouting social norms and completely lacks any inhibition.
          He’s known for frivolous law suits and poor business decisions. He casually disregards any long-term planning and probably figures that he doesn’t need it anyway.