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While Obama could be criticized for embracing Nixon’s imperial presidency model, his personality could not be more different from his predecessor. Clinton however is the whole Nixonian package. On a policy level, her predilection for using executive and military power is even coupled with praise for (and from) Nixon’s secretary of State,Henry Kissinger. However, it is on a personality level that the comparison is so striking and so unnerving. Clinton, like Nixon, is known to be both secretive and evasive. She seems to have a compulsive resistance to simply acknowledging conflicting facts or changes in position. She only makes admissions against interest when there is no alternative to acknowledging the truth in a controversy.

Clinton’s history of changing positions and spinning facts is now legendary. Indeed, a video entitled “Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight” has become an Internet sensation with millions of viewers. Polls show Clinton with record lows for her perceived honesty and trustworthiness. (In fairness, Trump fares little better). Clinton seems entirely comfortable denying facially true facts. For example, she spent much of a year assuring the public that she was fully cooperating with investigators into her use of an unsecure server for her communications as secretary of State. Indeed, she used her claimed cooperation as the reason that she would not answer more questions. When the State Department Inspector General issued its highly critical report on the scandal, many were shocked to learn that Clinton not only refused to speak at all with investigators but so did her top aides. Where Clinton repeatedly said that her use was allowed by the State Department, the report said that the rule was clearly violated, she never received approval for such a security breach and that a personal server would never have been accepted.

Of course, politicians are not known for their allegiance to the truth, and Clinton may be a standout in that group, but she is hardly unique among her peers. However, that tendency is often checked by a staff that forces politicians to recognize reality and even the truth of controversy.

The problem is that Clinton has surrounded herself with aides who have demonstrated an unflagging loyalty and veneration. Take Huma Abedin, perhaps her most influential aide. Abedin described her first meeting on the “Call Your Girlfriend” podcast: “She walked by and she shook my hand and our eyes connected, and I just remember having this moment where I thought; ‘Wow, this is amazing. And … it just inspired me. You know, I still remember the look on her face. And it’s funny, and she would probably be so annoyed that I say this, but I remember thinking; ‘Oh my God, she’s so beautiful and she’s so little!'”

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