In her immediate post-Benghazi appearance on the "Rachel Maddow Show," former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must have been feeling pretty good — like she could get away with anything.
Perhaps that's why she went on television and lied about her husband's reasons for signing the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 bill that established the traditional definition of marriage for all federal government purposes.
"There was enough political momentum to amend the Constitution of the United States of America," Clinton said, referring to the possible passage of a federal marriage amendment. DOMA, she argued, was "a defensive action," and "a line that was drawn that was to prevent going further."
There's just one problem with this explanation: It's a lie.
Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner studied thousands of pages of records from the Clinton White House and found no mention whatsoever of Clinton supporting DOMA on any such grounds. This is an explanation concocted after the fact, which both Bill and Hillary have been offering ever since the gay marriage bandwagon gained momentum and they feared not appearing to have been on it from the start.
Now, before you faint from the shock that Hillary Clinton would tell an untruth, consider what had happened earlier that very day. One of the useful details that came out in the recent congressional hearing marathon into Benghazi was conclusive proof that Clinton knew on day one that the Benghazi attack had nothing to do with the video she would later claim was the main cause.
It was revealed that Clinton said as much in a call with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil on the night of the attack: "We know the attack had nothing to do with the film," she said. "It was a planned attack, not a protest. ... Based on the information we saw today, we believe that the group that claimed responsibility for this was affiliated with al Qaeda."
And the following day, she emailed her daughter, Chelsea, to explain that "Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda-like group."
Later, most disgustingly, Clinton commiserated with the father of Tyrone Woods, the Navy SEAL killed in the Benghazi compound, and vowed: "We will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted."
It's worth stopping and considering again what she did. She looked into the eyes of a grieving father and told him a black lie about the reason for his son's death.
Standing in the presence of the caskets of all four Americans killed in Benghazi, Clinton commented on that attack and others in Egypt, Yemen and Tunisia, without drawing any distinction: "We've seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over a horrible Internet video that we had nothing to do with," she said.
Every lie has a reason. At that time, the scapegoating of a movie director was an attempt to avoid acknowledging something that made it plain that, contrary to President Obama's election campaign claim, al Qaeda was absolutely not "on the run."
The lie about DOMA is supposed to confuse the issue for progressive voters about why Clinton was so slow to switch her position on the issue of same-sex marriage. The lie about not sending or receiving classified information over her unsecured email — more emails containing classified information were released last Friday — was an effort to keep the public at bay until she can claim her emails are just old news.
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
The pattern here is clear enough, and has indeed been clear for years. Clinton is incapable of telling the truth if it might reflect badly on her. Everything is spun. The problem with this approach is that it becomes a nearly continuous exercise in covering one's own rear end by whatever implausible means are at hand.
It's not the kind of leadership this country needs for the next four or eight years.