Americans, Gallup tells us, admire Hillary Clinton more than any other woman in the world — again. This latest accolade marks the 17th time Gallup has found Clinton to be the Most Admired Woman (MAW?) since she became first lady nearly 20 years ago. Only Eleanor Roosevelt (13 MAWs) comes close. Only Mother Teresa (1995 and 1996) and Laura Bush (2001) have interrupted Clinton's winning streak, and even then, Clinton came in second.
And therein lies America's cosmic flaw. A country that could time and again embrace Hillary Clinton as its MAW has lost its mind or its memory or both.
Does the phrase "congenital liar" tinkle any bells? I know such non-admirable sentiments are thought to be in the worst of taste, if not also banishable offenses. Still, as conjured by the late New York Times columnist William Safire in 1996, the phrase described the then-first lady for her shameless prevarications. These included what sure looked like bribery ("cattle futures"), defrauding taxpayers ("Whitewater"), obstructing justice — or, rather, "finding" her Rose Law Firm billing records (under subpoena for two years) just days after the statute of limitations ran out — among other corrupt behaviors that must have slightly suppressed Hillary-admiration that same year. The phrase remains apt.
"I remember landing under sniper fire," Clinton declared on the presidential campaign trail in 2008, describing a 1996 trip to Bosnia. "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down (chuckles) to get into the vehicles to get to our base." It was a vivid but debunkable whopper, as CBS footage of the event proved. In reality, Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, made her ceremonial way into Bosnia through a warm throng marked by smiling faces and a kiss from a local girl — not bullets. Admirable?
On a more nationally significant level, Clinton recently supported President Obama's Big Lie that a movie trailer of "Innocence of Muslims" on YouTube "resulted" (her word) in the September attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya — a concerted falsehood for which neither Clinton nor Obama nor former CIA Director David Petraeus has yet answered. Even several days after intelligence agencies determined that a planned assault, not a video-driven protest, had taken place, Clinton went so far as to promise a grieving Charles Woods, father of slain former SEAL Tyrone Woods, that "we" were going to have the video maker "arrested and prosecuted."
Why was Clinton still perpetuating the false narrative that the exercise of free speech under the First Amendment, not Islamic jihad, had resulted in the attack? Was that admirable? Clinton has lately let it be known that she will voluntarily testify about Benghazi following her hospitalization for a blood clot, but I seriously doubt whether mere House members will risk asking this crucial question of the Most Admired Woman in America, especially now that she has risen from her sickbed. If they don't, they're not admirable, either.
Meanwhile, the video maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was indeed arrested and swiftly prosecuted, and is now serving one year in jail for "parole violations." His incarceration, however, is better understood as punishment for violating the Islamic ban on free speech about Islam. To be sure, one year is nothing compared to the death penalty an Egyptian court recently slapped on Nakoula and other Americans associated with the movie in absentia — and without a peep of protest from the Obama administration, including Clinton.
The fact is, Hillary Clinton has worked assiduously with the Islamic bloc nations, known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to promote Islamically correct speech codes through the so-called Istanbul Process. The goal of this process — and the goal of transnational Islam — is to implement Shariah speech codes via U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which seeks to criminalize "defamation" — free speech — about Islam. In leading this drive against free speech, Hillary Clinton is actually leading a drive against the First Amendment.
Most Americans don't know about the Istanbul Process, let alone how Islamic speech codes are unconstitutional, but it is this policy against free speech that may stand as Clinton's enduring legacy as secretary of state. It is of a piece with having presided over, first, the shredding of U.S. alliances with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and then supporting jihadist factions and organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, now implementing Islamic law across the Middle East. This, of course, is President Obama's policy, but Hillary Clinton has been an active team player.
Another aspect of this same foreign policy Clinton has spearheaded is the launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The forum's roster of 29 nations plus the European Union is stunning for its exclusion of Israel, a leading counterterrorism force as much as it is a leading terrorism victim. But not so, according to Islamic definitions. Knowingly or not, as a leader of this forum, one-third of whose members come from the Islamic bloc, Clinton has accepted the Arab League and OIC definitions of terrorism, which both deny the existence of Israeli victims (sometimes U.S. soldiers) and legitimize the terrorism of Hamas, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah.
How could this be? What influences have led Clinton to formulate or follow such policies? We don't know, although it is hard not to wonder about the input of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, a young woman with well-established familial and personal ties to Muslim Brotherhood figures and front groups (including a "charity" linked to al-Qaida and a group banned in Israel for ties to Hamas). Indeed, what may be most astounding and mysterious about Clinton's whole public tenure is how Abedin ever received the security clearance necessary to work so closely with the secretary of state.
Even broaching such a simple if burning national security question, as Rep. Michele Bachmann and others discovered last summer, is also a banishable offense. After all, Hillary Clinton is our MAW!
That's life. But it isn't admirable.
Email Diana West at email@example.com.