Criticizing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in her October 19 podcast with David Plouffe, Hillary Clinton claimed that, while the 2020 DNC should be a little better prepared than in 2016, the Democrats were still going to be “outgunned, outspent and out-lied,” unless important changes were made.
What was needed, Clinton claimed, was a facsimile of the Obama Press operation’s Division of Calumny, Obfuscation, Euphemism and Sententia (COES)—often referred to by insiders as the Ministry of Truth--to be established within the DNC in order to coordinate the progressive war of ideas. Questioned by Plouffe on the ethics of competing to win a war of lies, half-truths and shady rhetorical devices, Clinton clarified that the lies of progressives were well intentioned and, in fact, corresponded with deeper truths even when they might seem at variance with facts to literal-minded conservatives.
Asked by Plouffe for examples of how this might work, Clinton cited her claim that she had won the 2016 election, even though she has not yet been allowed access to the Oval Office to carry out her presidential duties. Clinton claimed that while her contention might appear false on the surface, it was a kind of provocative truth-telling about the injustice—not to say even worse falsehood—perpetuated by the electoral college system. “David, you know that in the minds of millions of Americans, I am the rightful president of the United States.”
“And what about your recent attacks on fellow Democrats, Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein,” Plouffe wondered, “claiming they are Russian moles? Is this another example of this strategy at work?”
“Not to give everything away, David, but don’t be surprised if a new dossier—based on information out of Russia and MI6—makes an appearance soon.”
“OK, moving on,” Plouffe said, obviously not wanting to become bogged down in a discussion of a new Russian dossier, “What else is the new counter-lie group working on?”
“We are still at the beginning,” Clinton explained, “but our major focus is slinging random dirt on Trump—anything we can find, and we have literally everyone looking---and then countering his so-called great economic news. So, every time Trump cites some apparently positive economic statistic, we have arranged for Paul Krugman of the NYT and many others on CNN and MSNBC to instantly fire back with an artillery barrage of rebuttal.”
“Impressive,” Plouffe said, “but how is it possible to anticipate what Trump will say?”
“Oh, David, he always says exactly the same thing, so it will always be the same rebuttal. When Krugman predicted that Trump’s election would usher in the worst recession in American history, he was literally correct! We are right now in a bitter recession, and the whole nation is suffering deeply, except for the rich, with the worst recession of all time just over the horizon.”
“But I don’t think we are in a recession—at least technically,” Plouffe objected, sounding confused and a bit concerned.
“Well, that’s the challenge of the new Division, to show the people the deeper truth,” Clinton persisted. “We can’t permit other narratives to become established. Thankfully the press is on our side and so we have the numbers. Human anecdotes, rather than dry statistics, are the main weapon, since neither pesky logic nor context can overcome aroused sentiment. And we intend to aggressively exploit all the heart-rending photos of every random tragedy that occurs, laying fallen sparrows at Trump’s door. Forest fires, hurricanes, epidemics. You know how big a hit those kids in iron cages have already been.”
“Yes, but Republicans point out that it was the Obama Administration that built the cages and used them first.”
“No one remembers that, or cares, even if they do remember. We mean to tug hard on the tender heartstrings of Americans. And luckily there’s lots of cheap and effective drama to take advantage of. Political gold. The media saps can never get enough. And the instant outrage is win-win all around.”
“But won’t Trump and the Republicans just return the favor?”
“Of course they will. But there is a vast difference between our truths and Trump’s truthiness. Unemployment, wage growth, the stock market numbers and trends only seem solid if we treat them as facts; but when we call them “factoids,” they sound insignificant, insubstantial, made of flimsy Chinese plastic. So, whenever Trump bellows his claims of the greatest this and the greatest that--you know how he talks—we will shout back just as loud that it’s the worst this and the worst that. And then lay the sad pictures on top. Dead dogs and Kurds, hungry vegetarians, sleepless Dreamers, floods. Do you see? We are the party of empathy. We feel your pain. That’s how you get to the deeper truth that this world is not what it should be. That it could be better with us in charge.”
“Well, I think I see where you are going…” Plouffe said uncertainly. “But will that kind of argument work when the new Fox News series—I hear that they are calling it Three Decades of Clinton Lies--kicks off by raking over the Benghazi story where they say you denied responsibility for leaving the ambassador vulnerable when you were Secretary of State. How will the DNC’s new Division respond?”
“David, repeat after me. There is no such place as Benghazi, and even if there were, no events of interest to Democratic voters ever happened there. Ask any college student where Benghazi is, and you will see that I am right.”
“Yes…” Plouffe agreed. “I think I see now what the meaning of 'is' is. It becomes 'was' pretty quickly, and then, say what?”
“Contrary to the X-Files, beloved of deplorables, The Truth is not actually out there, David. It’s inside. There is no such thing as an objective truth that is always true. Rather, we must work diligently and progressively to establish useful truths. This is why no amount of progressive counter-lying can be considered unethical if it serves us to move the nation forward.”
“There is a kind of unexpected profundity here, Madam Secretary,” Plouffe said, momentarily starstruck.
“Hah!” Clinton laughed, “Like a silk purse from a sow’s ear; that’s the Sententia section doing what it does best.”