This week, Hillary Clinton senior spokesperson Karen Finney gave a stunningly cynical “explanation” of Clinton’s changing views on same-sex marriage — a characterization that Finney rejected in an appearance on her former employer MSNBC. More on this in a moment, but first some context.
At the root of the matter is the fact that Clinton apparently will not, under any circumstances, use the word “change” to describe her shift from opposing same-sex marriage to supporting it, even though there’s no shame in admitting this fact.
Hence, we get maddening and testy exchanges like the one last year between Clinton and NPR’s Terry Gross:
Gross: Would you say your view evolved since the nineties, or that the American public evolved, allowing you to state your real view?
Clinton: I think I’m an American. [Laughs] I think that–I think we have all evolved, and it’s been one of the fastest, most sweeping transformations in that I’m aware of.
Gross: So you’re saying your opinion on gay marriage changed, as opposed to–
Clinton: You know, somebody is always first, Terry. Somebody is always out front and thank goodness they are, but that doesn’t mean that those who join later in being publicly supportive or even privately accepting that there needs to be change, are any less committed. You could not be having the sweep of marriage equality across our country if nobody changed their mind. And thank goodness so many of us have.
Gross: So that’s one for, you changed your mind.
Clinton: I have to say, I think you being very persistent, but you are playing with my words and playing with what is such an important issue.
Clinton endorsed same-sex marriage publicly for the first time in 2013, saying, “L.G.B.T. Americans are our colleagues, our teachers, our soldiers, our friends, our loved ones, and they are full and equal citizens and deserve the rights of citizenship. That includes marriage.” She announced this after having previously stated, “I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman.”
Any four year-old with a grasp of English will tell you that Clinton changed her mind on marriage equality, both in terms of her personal support for it as an ideal, and whether it’s a federal or a state issue. But once again, Team Hillary is here to tell us that we’re too dumb to understand what’s really going on.
Here’s Clinton spokesperson Karen Finney talking to Craig Melvin on MSNBC Monday:
Melvin: When you come back next time, I do want to talk about the timing of the same-sex marriage change of heart. Next time.
Finney: No change of heart. She was asked a different question than she’d been asked before.
The level of contempt for viewers displayed here would be insulting were it not so impressively bold. Whatever “question” Finney is referring to, Clinton’s statements about same-sex marriage over the years show she has clearly “evolved” on the issue, which is to say, she’s changed her mind.
But spinmaster Finney wasn’t done. Later in the day she made an appearance on Now With Alex Wagner, and the most charitable thing you say about it is that she has an almost meaningless definition of the word “consistent”:
Last week there was a question about where she was…. on marriage equality, which she’s had a consistent position onthat, despite the way it was reported. So when we’re asked the question…. as a spokesperson, we’re trying not to get ahead of her because she’s got her platform that she wants to roll out. So it’s not–I mean we’re not being not forthcoming.
Saying Clinton has had a “consistent position” on marriage equality is only true if it means either, A) she’s consistently supported marriage equality since 2013 after years of opposing it; or B) she’s consistently supported federal protection of marriage equality since last week after saying it should be left up to the states. In either case, the rank cynicism here is astounding, as is Finney’s blaming of the media simply for pointing out the truth. Furthermore, if Clinton’s position on same-sex marriage were “consistent,” there would be no need for spokespersons to worry that they’d “get ahead of her” because that position will — or should — have already been well-known.
It’s true politicians lie and play games with the truth all the time, but this nonsense is just downright insulting.