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Feeding Us A False Hillary

Feeding Us A False Hillary

Photo credit: Tomohiro Ohusmi/Getty Images

This feature appears in the August ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

While Hillary roams the country making anti-gun speeches, some in the media are hard at work convincing us that she’s not all that bad.

You and I are supposed to forget that in the early autumn of 2015, Hillary Clinton said the U.S. Supreme Court got it “wrong on the Second Amendment.” 

Actually, we weren’t even supposed to hear her say this. Someone leaked an audio recording from a private fundraiser hosted in Greenwich Village in New York City. Better known as “the Village,” this is an upscale neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan known for being stuffed with wealthy liberal-progressives. It is a place where President Barack Obama and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Clinton have gone, again and again, to raise money for their campaigns. 

Clinton was at the home of John Zaccaro, who is the widower of the late Geraldine Ferraro. Ferraro was a congresswoman and, in 1984, the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee. Zaccaro is a New York City landlord and real estate tycoon who, in 1985, pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining bank financing in a real estate transaction. During the 1984 presidential campaign, Zaccaro refused to release his separately filed tax returns. Politics eventually forced him to make them public, but the issue took the twinkle off Ferraro’s rising stardom and stymied momentum for the Mondale-Ferraro ticket. They would, of course, lose to Ronald Reagan in a landslide over issues far more reaching than this. 

It is worth realizing where Clinton was and who she was with when she said the Supreme Court was “wrong,” as it opens a crack in a door. If we peer in we can see the wealthy donors, preferred journalists and image makers who are catered to by politicians like Clinton. 

On the recording you can hear these wealthy people applaud after she says, “I was proud when my husband took [the National Rifle Association] on, and we were able to ban assault weapons … And here again, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.”

But you’re supposed to forget that you heard this, according to the mainstream media and Clinton-supporting pundits. They say Clinton doesn’t really want to nominate U.S. Supreme Court justices who would reverse District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and thereby drain the life out of the Second Amendment. And they say you are a conspiracy theorist if you say as much. 

An article in The Washington Post  from May titled “Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to repeal the 2nd Amendment. But in 1991, George Will did,” is typical of how the media is trying to protect Clinton on the gun issue. It began by saying, “No stranger to exaggeration, well-coiffed billionaire Donald Trump told an audience at a National Rifle Association event that his likely general election opponent Hillary Clinton planned to ‘abolish the Second Amendment’ to the Constitution. There’s no truth to that claim, as has been noted repeatedly—and as Clinton herself had noted in a tweet.”

Yet just a few weeks later Clinton was asked about her view of the Second Amendment by George Stephanopoulos. Now, Stephanopoulos made his name as a communications director for the 1992 presidential campaign of Bill Clinton. Stephanopoulos then became White House communications director and then a “senior adviser for policy and strategy” before leaving the administration at the end of 1996. Stephanopoulos is now with ABC News, and is a co-anchor of “Good Morning America” and the host of ABC’s “Sunday Morning This Week.” 

Stephanopoulos asked Clinton about Trump’s assertion that she’d “abolish” the Second Amendment via Supreme Court picks. He asked, “Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right—that it’s not linked to service in a militia?” 

Clinton responded by saying she believes in a “nuanced reading” of our right to bear arms.

Stephanopoulos then countered, “And the Heller decision also says there can be some restrictions. But that’s not what I asked. I said, ‘Do you believe their conclusion that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right?’” “... and here again, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment.”

Clinton then avoided answering the question by discussing the right to bear arms as if it is a hypothetical, not a right we literally hold in our hands. “If it is a constitutional right,” she said, “then it—like every other constitutional right—is subject to reasonable regulations.” 

As Stephanopoulos pointed out, the majority opinion for the Heller decision took care to leave room for reasonable restrictions—even the First Amendment is subject to some restrictions, such as the famous “you can’t shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater if there isn’t a fire” exception. But by quickly alluding to this “reasonable regulation” topic, instead of answering the fundamental question about whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right, she was obviously trying to hide her true intentions. And she’s trying to hide the fact that she supports nearly every gun control initiative ever proposed; she wants to roll back every gun-rights victory we’ve had over the past several years; and opposes any and all expansion of firearm freedoms for law-abiding Americans. 

Clinton is a politician. Avoiding direct questions that might cost them votes, or rile up their opposition, is what most politicians do. The trouble here is Clinton isn’t the only one telling you not to believe what she said to that group of wealthy progressives at the New York City fundraiser. 

Many in the media also don’t want you to know what she would really do to gun rights—as that might also hurt their desires to restrict your Second Amendment-protected rights out of existence. 

Making The Image An editorial in the Baltimore Sun is a good example of what many in the mainstream media want you to believe. The editorial said, “Our view: Trump has it both ways on guns, yet NRA’s leadership doesn’t mind.” 

The Baltimore Sun’s editors then said: 

“In endorsing Donald Trump for president, the leadership of the National Rifle Association has surely completed its full and complete divorce from reality. Both believe that somebody—in this case, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—is after their guns and seeks to ‘abolish the Second Amendment.’ 

“Even taking Mrs. Clinton at her most fiery pro-gun control moments, she has said nothing of the kind. Rather, like the vast majority of Americans, she has mostly expressed support for closing loopholes that allow prospective gun buyers to avoid criminal background checks. Keeping guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill and convicted felons isn’t exactly a fringe point of view; it generally receives a 70 percent to 90 percent endorsement in opinion polls.” 

Um, so her “most fiery pro-gun control moments” don’t include when she said the Supreme Court got it “wrong on the Second Amendment”? These media elites think gun owners aren’t bright enough to grasp what would happen to gun rights if the Heller decision were to be revisited by a Supreme Court dominated by justices who think the Second Amendment doesn’t protect an individual right?

Many other media outlets are also claiming that Clinton doesn’t really want to abolish the Second Amendment, but that she only wants “reasonable” restrictions. The Huffington Post, for example, ran a story that said, “Trump may choose not to believe what Clinton says, but the fact is there is no evidence that Clinton wants to ‘take your guns away’ or ‘abolish the Second Amendment.’” 

The reason for these media reports telling us there is nothing to see here, is the Clinton campaign needs to remake her image. To get to the left of Bernie Sanders in a tough primary fight, her rhetoric on guns became much tougher than it had been when she fought Barack Obama, and lost, in her 2008 bid. Now, as she begins to pivot for the general election, she needs to remake her image. She can’t afford to rile up gun owners. She knows what happened to Al Gore when he did that in 2000. This is the machine, and it is now working to make Hillary Clinton appear to be a benevolent person who doesn’t want to touch your gun rights, but only wants to enhance “gun safety.”

Of course, the Clintons have attempted to remake their image many times before. 

In 1992, before Bill Clinton won a primary fight to be the Democratic nominee, the late Michael Kelly said in an article in The New York Times that “the political professionals working to make Bill Clinton president realized they had a potentially fatal problem: At least 40 percent of the voters did not much like Mr. Clinton. They saw him as a ‘wishy-washy,’ fast-talking career politician who did not ‘talk straight.’ They liked Hillary Clinton even less, regarding her as ‘being in the race for herself,’ as ‘going for the power,’ and as a wife intent on ‘running the show.’” 

So the Clinton organization polling expert Stan Greenberg, chief strategist James Carville, and media consultant Frank Greer wrote a confidential memorandum titled “General Election Project—Interim Report” that was later obtained by the media. The memo outlined how to create a new public image for both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton. They wanted to recast Bill as “an honest, plain-folks idealist” and Hillary as “his warm and loving wife.” Kelly said that in 14 single-spaced pages it gave specific suggestions such as that Bill Clinton “appear on a television talk show to play the saxophone” and that “he make fun of himself for having said he had tried marijuana but not inhaled.” 

This is what campaigns do, but many overlook how comprehensive the repackaging can be. There is a long list of Washington insiders who care for and shape the image of a politician like Hillary Clinton. They are pollsters, pundits, campaign strategists, reporters and columnists with political leanings they can trust (and who keep that trust by going along with the narrative), as well as advisors and more. Together they follow a script, such as the “General Election Project—Interim Report” Bill Clinton’s team once used. 

These people often live in the same neighborhoods inside the Beltway that circles Washington, D.C. They talk to each other more than anyone else. They often marry each other. They move seamlessly from administration jobs (depending on the party in power) to being journalists, lobbyists, pundits and similar things. They all feed off of and revolve around “power” in Washington, D.C. They rarely step out of line by publicly attacking their own—their party’s leadership—as doing so could cast them out of this inner circle and wreck their livelihood and their standing in the insider community. They are all active players in the narrative, and they bring that to you in your newspapers and step right into your living room on cable news shows. 

This is the machine, and it is now working to make Hillary Clinton appear to be a benevolent person who doesn’t want to touch your gun rights, but only wants to enhance “gun safety.”   

The trouble for them is her anti-Second-Amendment-freedom positions are too obvious. Their claim is like the joke the actor Leslie Nielsen used to act out in those silly late 1980s and early 1990s “The Naked Gun” comedies, where he would stand in front of a building as fireworks exploded and tell bystanders, “Nothing to see here!” 

That was comedy. But what the media is attempting to do with Hillary Clinton’s anti-Second Amendment positions is anything but funny. The media—by clamoring to ensure gun owners that “No one is coming for your guns” or “Hillary can’t repeal the Second Amendment” or “We can protect the Second Amendment and still keep guns out of the hands of bad guys”—are simply trying to dupe America’s gun owners, who they see as yokels, fools and second-class citizens. 

The facts are clear: A Hillary Clinton presidency would end gun rights as we know them—no matter what the media elites want you to believe.

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