Jonah Goldberg
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A lot of people in Washington apparently forgot how good Hillary Clinton is at not telling the truth.

Wednesday, in her testimony before both the Senate and, later, the House, Clinton brilliantly fudged, dodged and filibustered. Of course, she's a pro. Clinton was slow-walking depositions, lawyering up and shifting blame when many of her questioners were still civilians down on the farm.

Aided by a ridiculous format, she outfoxed most of the Republicans with ease.

Meanwhile, the Democrats, almost uniformly, seemed singularly interested in celebrating Mrs. Clinton as a global diva who somehow manages to carry the burden of her awesomeness with humility and grace. If smoking were still allowed in the Capitol, one could easily imagine her removing a cigarette from a gold case, tapping it nonchalantly on the witness table, and the entire Democratic caucus leaping over their desks for the chance to light it for her.

The most dramatic moment came early, when Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson tried to get Clinton to explain why the State Department blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in Benghazi on an impromptu protest over an anti-Muslim video. In a rehearsed moment of spontaneous outrage, Clinton yelled back, "With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided to kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?"

It is a measure of Clinton's cult-like status on the left and among much of the press that this passed for a satisfactory, never mind impressive, response. But it's also a tribute to Clinton's gift for mendacity that it worked so well.

Even among the administration's harshest critics, people seemed at a loss to fully explain what difference it makes whether the administration's spin was true or not. For many, the answer is simply that government officials shouldn't lie. That's a necessary criticism, but hardly sufficient.

But just to be clear, Clinton lied and is still lying. When asked about the claim that the attack was sparked by a protest over a video, she responded, "I did not say ... that it was about the video for Libya."

That's simply untrue. When she stood by the caskets of the four Americans killed in Libya, she directly blamed an "awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with." Afterward, she reportedly told the father of Tyrone Woods, the former Navy SEAL who was killed in the attack, "We will make sure the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted." Why tell the man that if the video had nothing to do with it?

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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