Diana West

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."


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).