What is it with Hillary Clinton? What is it about this brilliant and accomplished woman—described by Barack Obama as possibly “more qualified” to be president than anyone in history—that makes so many people certain she is an incurable liar? More than anything else about Clinton—her occasional tin ear for politics, her seeming inability to connect with large crowds, her ultracautiousness—it is the trust issue that could yet cost her a general election she should otherwise win, given her opponent’s vulnerabilities.
Plainly put, Clinton herself has kept the issue alive over 25 years of public life, with long-winded, defensive, obfuscating answers to questions that—in politics, if not in law—cry out for a crisp yes-or-no reply.
Email-gate is only the latest step on this long, winding road. Consider just one brief, recent revelatory exchange with Charlie Rose, in which Rose noted (correctly) that FBI Director James Comey had called her “careless,” and Clinton replied with a flurry of nonresponsive words: “Well, I would hope that you like many others would also look at what he said when he testified before Congress, because when he did, he clarified much of what he had said in his press conference.”