This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Nancy Gibbs, editor of TIME, participated in a round-table discussion on candidates’ honesty—or lack thereof—and, as Peter Daou documented, invoked the tiresome trope about Hillary Clinton’s ineffective communication, despite the fact that she is winning.
But Gibbs didn’t stop there. She went on to say that Donald Trump’s constant contradictions—evidence of our Two Trumps theme—don’t undermine his credibility, but Hillary “changing positions” does undermine her credibility.
Nancy Gibbs, Editor of Time: He makes an interesting point that it’s okay to lie; you can’t temporize. That any number of people have pointed out things that Donald Trump is saying that just aren’t true. But when Hillary Clinton changes a position about the Keystone Pipeline or about TPP, it plays into the notion that you don’t know what she believes, that politicians will say anything to get elected, all of the arguments about inauthenticity and temporizing that this election season, at least, is putting a very high price.
Mika Brzezinski: So his lying is authentic and hers isn’t?
Gibbs: I think people—and you obviously have explored this a great deal—whether it’s Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, the candidates who are not talking in the way politicians traditionally have, who are saying things that you, quote/unquote, can’t say and survive, and yet they are, is changing the nature of the political dialogue so completely. I don’t know whether four years from now or eight years from now any of what we’re seeing and learning now will apply, but right now in this atmosphere, the way Hillary Clinton talks does not work in her favor when voters are looking for something that sounds very, very different.
This indefensible double-standard is emblematic of a media that largely refuses to hold accountable conservative male candidates for dissembling, contradictions, and outright lying while twisting themselves into intellectual pretzels to accuse a progressive female candidate of mendacity and inauthenticity.
There is a meaningful and easily observable difference between seesawing between positions on an issue in order to pander to different audiences and changing one’s position after learning new information and/or because one has been willing to listen to her constituents.
Consistency is anathema to progress.
To the absolute contrary of Gibbs’ assertion, when Hillary has changed her position to a more liberal stance, that is not indicative of her lack of authenticity, but instead evidence of her being an authentic progressive.
We are progressives. We want our candidates to progress.
And we would like them to be treated fairly.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)