Voter’s Words For Hillary Clinton: “Liar,” Dishonest,” “Untrustworthy”

Hillary Clinton has a bit of a public image problem, but it's not clear if that will hurt her politically.

Clinton, Gates, And Mullen Testify Before Senate Foreign Relations Cmte

The new Quinnipiac poll of the national Democratic field had good news for Hillary Clinton in its top-line number in that it continued to show her leading Bernie Sanders and the rest of the field by a comfortable margin. Hidden in the results, though, is other news that is potentially not so good for former Secretary of State:

“Crook,” “weak,” “joke” are just a few of the words that voters said when Quinnipiac University asked them the first word that pops into their heads when they think of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.

Quinnipiac asked 1,563 voters and reported only the words that were said at least five times.

So what do voters really think of the 2016 presidential frontrunners? Here are the answer

Hillary Clinton – ‘Liar’

Clinton can’t shake the reputation that she’s hiding something.

The word “liar” was mentioned 178 times in association with Hillary Clinton. Some of the other top words voters said to describe the former Secretary of State were “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” and “criminal.”

The two issues the GOP argues why Clinton’s unfit to hold office – “Benghazi” and “email” – topped the list as well. Also, her husband’s first name, Bill, came up 56 times by voters.

The poll shows Clinton is still leading among Democratic voters, but is down from 55 percent in late July to 45 percent today, with Bernie Sanders gaining on her. 34 percent of voters say Clinton is honest and trustworthy.

To be fair, the poll also showed that voters associate negative words with many of the other Presidential candidates as well. The words that came up most frequently in response to Jeb Bush, for example, include “family,” “weak,” “brother,” and “dynasty.” For Donald Trump, the words that poll respondents most frequently include “arrogant,” “blowhard,” “idiot,” and “clown.” Additionally, for all three candidates there were also positive attributes cited by poll respondents in response to the question. However, the results for Clinton seem especially concerning for her campaign given the direction that her poll numbers have been going this summer, especially considering that the same poll shows 51% of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of her while only 39% have a positive opinion.

For several months now, we have seen Clinton’s favorability numbers plummet while voters began expressing doubts about her trustworthiness. While it was always to be expected that she would see those numbers fall from the stratospheric level they were at when she was Secretary of State, the fact that they have slipped into negative territory is something that ought to be of concern to any political candidate. Clinton has also seen her poll numbers drop nationally, and most especially in New Hampshire, and while some of that was to be expected as the race for the Democratic nomination became competitive the fact that it is correlated with the drop in her favorability numbers likely isn’t coincidental, nor is the fact that all of this has coincided with the ongoing coverage of the issues surrounding Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State and her rather bad response to questions about that story.

None of this is to say that Clinton is doomed, of course, she continues to lead the Democratic field nationally, as well as in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. She has a massive fundraising advantage that none of the Democrats currently in the race can possibly match, and which even Vice-President Biden would struggle to match if he were to enter the race. She continues to lead her perspective Republican opponents in head-to-head matchup polls, and today NBC News reported that Clinton has secured the support of 440 Democratic superdelegates, which represents more than half of the superdelegates in the party and one-fifth of the number of overall delegates she will need to win the nomination.

Notwithstanding all of that, though, it seems clear that Clinton’s trustworthiness problem is one that the campaign will have to deal with going forward:

In an era of declining confidence in government, it’s not unusual that voters would find a politician less than honest. But the striking reality is that, for Clinton, a lack of trust is the first thing many think of.

“Anyone running for president — that is a pretty fundamental quality you need,” said Democratic pollster Fred Yang, who is also part of the bipartisan team that produces polls for NBC News and The Wall Street Journal.

Interviews with pollsters suggest Clinton has a long way to go to restore her standing among voters, but that it can be done. A perception of untrustworthiness can be difficult to overcome, especially when it’s so pervasive. But Clinton does have other strengths to build on, according to recent polls: Voters admire her leadership, and women believe she cares about them.

“The dichotomy is hard to figure out,” said Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The numbers show that people don’t think she’s particularly honest or trustworthy. But the numbers also show that she’s in charge, she’s a leader.”

(…)

Many Clinton supporters were struck by the defensive, legalistic tone she has taken in discussing the email controversy, leading many people to believe she had something to hide. Her shift this week from blaming Republican attacks for her problems, to taking responsibility herself, seemed a clear attempt to remedy that perception.

Nonetheless, one of the more troubling aspects of Clinton’s honesty-driven slide in the polls is her strikingly low numbers among white voters. Some Democrats had hoped Clinton’s candidacy could reverse Obama-era losses among whites, particularly white women. But crosstabs provided by Quinnipiac upon POLITICO’s request indicate Clinton faces steep challenges there, too.

Among all whites, only 26 percent said Clinton is honest and trustworthy. Just 3-in-10 white women said she is honest and trustworthy — including only 34 percent of white women with a college degree, a constituency crucial to repairing Democrats’ numbers among whites.

White Democrats lack confidence in Clinton: Only 3-in-5 consider her honest and trustworthy. Her ratings are woeful among white independents: Only 21percent said she’s honest.

Young white voters are also a big challenge: Just 22 percent said Clinton is honest and trustworthy, versus 73 percent who said she isn’t.

Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, won 44 percent of white voters in his 1996 reelection campaign, according to exit polls, en route to capturing 49 percent of the vote overall in a three-way race with then-Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.) and independent Ross Perot. By 2012, when Obama bested Mitt Romney, the Democrat’s share of the white vote had tumbled to 39 percent.\

Trustworthiness is an important quality in a political candidate, especially in a Presidential candidate where voters are generally voting for someone based less on their positions on specific policy issues and more on their general impression of the candidate’s qualities as a leader. A candidate that voter’s don’t trust is going to have to tough time convincing marginal voters to support them, at least in the abstract. At the same, though, it’s worth remembering that these campaigns are not run in a vacuum. Clinton is coming to this with two decades of national political baggage. To a large degree, most Americans seem to have made her mind up about her long ago and the fact that her favorability numbers are so low isn’t all that unusual since she was in roughly the same position eight years ago and nearly won the Democratic nomination. While she still has those same problems this time around, she doesn’t face nearly the same kind of opposition from the rest of the Democratic field that she did in 2008. Bernie Sanders may be doing well in New Hampshire, but there’s no evidence he can mount a real national campaign and it seems unlikely that Democrats would nominate someone like him. Vice-President Biden, meanwhile, seems to be garnering attention right now mostly because he is pondering getting into the race, but it’s hard to see how he becomes a serious contender for the nomination. As for the General Election, we’re simply too far out to make any predictions in that regard, but the likelihood of Republicans shooting themselves in the foot even if Clinton is the nominee shouldn’t be discounted.

Clinton’s credibility problems are a serious problem going forward, and they’re likely to dog her even if she does ultimately win the Presidency. It’s hardly a fatal flaw, though, and Republicans shouldn’t take solace in them.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Hillary Clinton, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Castanea says:

    None of the republicans could muster joy over Romney but he was one economic hiccup more and one “47 %”-gaffe less from the oval office.

    Clinton’s issue will be getting enough reliably democratic white groups turning out while still maintaining an edge among Latinos. She’s also started pointing out the anti-abortion extremism of GOP candidates to make this a “boys vs. girls” election.

    The media and the GOP is going to spend a lot of time depicting her as the “callous chily b***h from Washington” anyway. If she isn’t found culpable in the email issue, it will be forgotten in eight months.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    I think the same thing applies to all politicians which is a problem. Trump although his campaign is for the most part substance and policy free comes across as honest. I’m saying this is accurate _ it is an ego driven effort. Bernie Sanders weather you agree with him or not is sincere.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    1) David Ignatius is the official mainstream media voice of the intelligence community and has a column out dismissing the email “scandal.” Fox News can rant all they like, but it’s a long time from now to November 2016, and if the intel community says “meh” it’s likely to end up being “meh.”

    2) If Biden stays out – and it’s looking that way right now – Hillary is essentially unopposed. Sanders is just this season’s Gene McCarthy, the college kid candidate. Once she has the nom we aren’t looking at her as a stand-alone, but in contrast to the GOP candidate. I’m pretty confident the only guy left who can match her is Kasich.

    3) She’s playing rope-a-dope. Trump is busy destroying the GOP and there’s no reason to distract from that.

    4) Bill is still out there, thus far untapped.

    5) Ditto Obama.

    So, Hillary has blacks, Latinos, gays and women as her base. What does Trump have? Enraged white yahoos? Jeb has white folks who drink decaf and eat dinner at 4:30. Walker’s got the Koch Brothers. Rubio. . . I don’t know, bottled water distributors?

    Who has anything like the hand Hillary was dealt? I’d say she’s holding at least a pair of queens and an ace. No one else even has a pair of deuces at this point.

  4. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds: It should’t be this easy. At this point, barring some really significant new event, Hillary has the nomination and very likely the Presidency. Being able to say that 14 months out from the election bothers me. I mean, it’s one thing to say it about an incumbent President, because we know they’re going to get the nomination. There’s no need for a primary in that case because we all know the President’s positions and his record.

    But having nobody worth mentioning as competition for Hillary just doesn’t seem healthy. A real primary process is a necessary shake-out for a candidate’s positions and proposals. Even knowing Hillary’s record as a senator and Secretary of State doesn’t really suffice, at least not for me.

  5. Scott says:

    @Castanea:

    If she isn’t found culpable in the email issue, it will be forgotten in eight months.

    Even if the issue goes away, the “feelings” will remain. The right wing media remain Masters in pounding a candidate down. Thanks, Karl Rove.

  6. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    She’s playing rope-a-dope

    I’m not that optimistic. At some point, Hillary has to provide loudly, repeatedly a positive reason to vote for her. I just hope she’s not tainted permanently by the right wing and can provide that reason.

  7. bill says:

    roughly 25% of voters will vote for her regardless of anything- after all, her husband cheated on her.
    so she gets the scorned feminist vote and the typical black vote and she’s up to 30+% before anything starts. she still needs to pick up 15% of the retard vote- the ones who totally rely on sound bits, headlines, comedians, actors,etc. to get their political info.
    slightly off topic but i was working in an urban location for a while and had employees who didn’t know obama was half white and thought bush was the worst prez ever (couldn’t give a reason though)……these are hillary voterr- trump is reeling some of them in as well, maybe he can get a good enough chunk to crest the hill?

  8. grumpy realist says:

    I’d feel more comfortable if Hillary demonstrated the sort of charisma that her husband manifests.

    Because I think this is going to come down to a charisma vs. charisma contest, especially if The Donald bags the Republican nomination. And I’m not so sure about Hillary’s chances in that situation. She’s a woman, she reminds too many men of their nagging first wife, and she hasn’t carved out an area of expertise she can use to beat the opposite side over the head.

    Oh, I’ll vote for her, given the alternative–but she’s certainly not the nominee I would pick.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Scott:

    She is actually doing some of that but men aren’t going to hear it as clearly as women will. She’s talking about stuff that reads as small-bore to men, but will resonate with women and her other constituencies – minimum wage, student loans, environment, Obamacare, immigration reform, working class and small business tax cuts, Planned Parenthood, family leave, etc…

    It’s all moderate, middle-of-the-road, family stuff. She’s running as National Mom.

  10. Mark says:

    Doug is going to be soooo pissed off when she wins anyway because the alternative is the GOP.

  11. PJ says:

    The word “liar” was mentioned 178 times in association with Hillary Clinton. Some of the other top words voters said to describe the former Secretary of State were “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” and “criminal.”

    The two issues the GOP argues why Clinton’s unfit to hold office – “Benghazi” and “email” – topped the list as well. Also, her husband’s first name, Bill, came up 56 times by voters.

    So, 1563 voters were asked, lets say that roughly half of them are going to vote for the Republican, so 780 of them. I’m amazed that only 178 called her a liar considering the constant attacks on her by Fox News, etc.

    News at 11, Republicans dislike Clinton!

    I’m going to start to get worried when Democrats in droves are calling her a “liar” etc.

  12. rodney dill says:

    Technically not illegal.

  13. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: I hear you, Michael. I know that she has been laying out an entire platform. However, you and I are paying attention. 90% are not, and just getting impressions. And those are not positive. Remember back in 2008 when she got scared and started campaigning in PA and other places for real, people picked up on her personality as she wanted to portray and it punched through. Being in diners tossing back a beer got her a lot more mileage than a thoughtful position paper. That’s how Reagan did it, how George W did it. It is what Americans expect.

  14. stonetools says:

    So, the gazillionth post on Hillary- but not a single one addressing policy.
    Sounds like there no reason to vote against Hillary on policy issues, since Doug must be A-OK with all of policy positions. Right?

  15. mannning says:

    What an interesting situation! Clinton is clearly labeled a liar, and dishonest, but her poll numbers nationally do not show a precipitous drop. Do I infer that the majority of Dems out there delight in sending forth a candidate that lies and is dishonest to the general election? Apparently so. Is it better to elect a liar than to elect a Republican? Must be so! No wonder we are in such a mess.

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @mannning: better a liar rather than someone who is going to declare war on Iran the day he enters office, packs the Supreme court with forced-pregnancy types, and says Global Climate Change is a myth. How deep does the water have to get around your head before your side admits that GCC is REAL and not just a myth made up by a bunch of poncy scientists?

  17. PJ says:

    “The survey includes 666 Republicans”

    How appropriate.

  18. grumpy realist says:

    Speaking of liars…..

    I hope Bernie bangs the drum about things like this. We’re living in a world populated by a bunch of psychopaths called corporations.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @mannning:

    Is it better to elect a liar than to elect a Republican?

    A) Yes, clearly, on policy.
    B) False dichotomy. Are you truly so partisan or naive you don’t realize Trump, Bush, Walker, et al are lying like rugs? And about stuff way more consequential than this email thing?

  20. mannning says:

    @michael reynolds:

    David Ignatious did not address the issue of exposure of TS-SCI on Clinton’s unclassified email system, which means she exposed sources and methods as well as content. I must agree, however, that she may well be given a pass if no more TS or S material is found. I believe, however, the odds are that more will be found in the 30,000 or so emails yet to be released.But, then, we may not even know this if the coverup succeeds.

    She does have a large contingent of apologists, doesn’t she?

  21. Slugger says:

    I am troubled by HRC because she voted for the 2002 Iraq War resolution. At the time, I was skeptical about a war with Iraq, but I assumed that she had some information not available to the public leading her to vote with Bush. It would not have taken a huge act of courage to vote no unlike the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which was opposed by two senators. The Iraq thing had 22 no votes in the Senate. Since there was no arcane information and no compelling pressure to conform, her vote to start a war that killed several hundred thousand people, cost a couple of trillion dollars, left a country in shambles, and damaged America’s interests begs for a explanation. Stupidity, shortsightedness, and opportunism come to my mind.
    The “scandals” that have attended her since 1992 have a large amount of hot air inflating them in my view.
    However, I live on this earth, and it looks like she will be the nominee and be opposed by no one who will take a truthful, proAmerica, and thoughtful stance against the strain of macho militarism designed to appeal to seven year olds that characterizes the Republicans. My choices are limited.
    She is a liar? What should we call the bible-thumpers who believe in starting wars and sign execution warrants while wearing WWJD bracelets?
    Earth is a place where tough choices live.

  22. mannning says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Deeper than the 1″ to 2″ ocean rise per 100 years good science projects.

    What a segue! From Clinton as a liar and dishonest… to GCC! You outdo yourself!

  23. mannning says:

    @gVOR08:

    You should back your statements up with facts.

  24. Tillman says:

    @grumpy realist:

    She’s a woman, she reminds too many men of their nagging first wife, and she hasn’t carved out an area of expertise she can use to beat the opposite side over the head.

    Y’know, I don’t like Clinton, but I’m fairly sure carving out an area of expertise against the current Republican field will not be that difficult.

    In terms of wonkdom/policy geekiness, the Clintons Bill and Hill are probably on par with each other.

  25. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist:

    She’s a woman, she reminds too many men of their nagging first wife,

    Which would make the GOP what? The aszhole ex-husband who is late with minimal child support payments, spends no time with his kids, and skips out on his responsibilities to start a new family?

    Honestly, that does sound like the confederate wing of the Republican Party that threatens to blow up the economy on a regular basis, and refuses to pay their own way.

    “What,Moshe needs more money? Again? What is she wasting it all on? Bridges, infrastructure and social security? She doesn’t need that crap…”

  26. Gustopher says:

    iPad autocorrect and fat fingers. “Moshe” should be ” she”. Also, edit button didn’t show up.

  27. al-Ameda says:

    So, out of 1563 voters polled …

    The word “liar” was mentioned 178 times in association with Hillary Clinton. Some of the other top words voters said to describe the former Secretary of State were “dishonest,” “untrustworthy,” and “criminal.”

    .. or, 11.3% characterized her as a ‘liar.’ Let me guess, all 178 were Republican or “Independent”?
    Wow, maybe this is a Newsbreak:
    Less than all polled Republicans thought Hillary was a ‘liar’?
    That actually is amazing.

  28. KM says:

    @Mikey:

    At this point, barring some really significant new event, Hillary has the nomination and very likely the Presidency. Being able to say that 14 months out from the election bothers me.

    It should bother you – it means that all the other choices are so unappealing you have a default. In a multi-party system, there should be no such thing as unopposed or virtually unimpeded paths to power. It’s not healthy or normal for someone to be the Heir Apparent in any type of democratic system.

    This, however, is not Hillary’s fault – it’s the fault of every other potential candidate. Right now their sole job is to be (or at the very least appear) as electable as possible and they are not succeeding. They have one job – make us like them enough we vote for them. If an entire field of competitors can’t make that happen enough that there even IS an Heir Apparent, they have nobody to blame but themselves. Why people are holding this against Hillary is mind-boggling; she’s the best of bad choices and that’s somehow a negative in her column?

    As I pointed out on other threads, if we don’t want to settle for Hillary then we need to run somebody better then Hillary. This person must exist statistically. The spot’s open so where’s the applicant? The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @mannning: Try more than three feet, sir.

    I also point out that increasing temperatures is not good for growing food, especially coupled with bee colony collapse. How do you expect to get around that?

  30. Bob @ Youngstown says:

    @mannning:

    You should back your statements up with facts.

    Might you try some of your own advice?

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Much ado about nothing. Show me a politician who has never lied and I’ll show you a rainbow farting magic pony.

  32. gVOR08 says:
  33. OzarkHillbilly says:
  34. michael reynolds says:

    @mannning:
    No, we don’t delight in it. But the racist, nativist, homophobic, reality-averse GOP leaves us absolutely no choice.

  35. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: Typical Reynolds response. When he has nothing to offer he resorts to name-calling and then emulates Hillary and lies. The Democratic Party establishment is the most racist group of people in the USA. They throw bones to the minorities and call it “equality”, they say they stand for religious freedom and then go about bashing Jews and Catholics. They say they support illegal immigrants and then turn around and exploit them with slave-like wages. They call themselves the “Party of the People” but are really colonialists who practice crony capitalism and suck up to the Moneycrats. Ahh, Reynolds, thy name is Hypocrite.

  36. John425 says:

    @michael reynolds: Lest I forget…if “all lives matter” then why do Democrats support Planned Parenthood’s killing of babies and harvesting spare parts?

  37. MarkedMan says:

    I realized the other day that the reason I want Hillary to win so much is she reminds of Mario Cuomo, for whose second gubernatorial campaign I stuffed envelopes and called phone lists. To this day the only political activism I’ve ever engaged in, other than being a blowhard on the intertubes and sending the random few dollars. “But wait!” you say. Hillary doesn’t have Mario’s stirring speaking ability. Yep. That’s not what reminds me of him. I got off my but and worked the phones for him because he ran his first campaign on fixing roads and bridges, an served his first term doing exactly that. His advisors and the NYC press told him no one cared about that stuff, or at least no one would vote based on it. But he said he didn’t care and that was what needed to be done and then laid out in painstaking detail exactly what he would do about it. I saw him field questions on road projects for a nearby town of maybe 5000 souls, way, way upstate, and he knew the details off the top of his head. They wanted a new bridge. “This is what it will cost”, he said, and named the number. “Now tell me, who do I take from to give you that money?” When he was elected, he got pretty much everything he asked for. No one in the legislature could argue that this stuff came out of nowhere. He had reeled it off at every speech.

    Hillary is cut from the same cloth. Complete wonk. And she keeps publishing detailed plans and talking about specifics. Why? The press doesn’t care. Doug doesn’t care. James doesn’t care. And 98% of the public doesn’t care. But she’s laying that groundwork.If she’s elected she can line up the Dems behind her and say, this is what I ran on and the voters in your state backed me. Fall in line. And she said it all in the Black Lives Matter video. She doesn’t believe you can change hearts. She believes you can change policies, you change incentives, and that’s how you move forward. And I may not be as cynical as her about the hearts, but I agree 100% about the changing policies and incentives.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    @John425: I doubt that Planned Parenthood advocates the killing of babies. Removal of a fetus, perhaps. But “fetus” does not equal “baby”, no matter how much you may want to state it as being so.

    Note that nor do we mandate that a parent be forced to donate blood or any of his/her organs to said parent’s child, even if the child dies from such a lack. So I fail to see why we should mandate that a woman be forced to incubate a fetus feeding off her bloodstream, even if the removal of such supply results in the demise of the fetus.

    Like normal, you forget the woman involved.

    Maybe if you pro-lifers worked a bit more on the technology for uterine replicators we could avoid this moral dilemma, hmmm?

  39. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @mannning: Look at the republicans you’re asking me to vote for and then get back to me about why they are better? Or is any republican better than any democrat?

  40. Steve V says:

    @mannning: Wow, I guess the only reasonable explanation is that Democrats are all terrible people.

  41. John425 says:

    @grumpy realist: You say: “Like normal, you forget the woman involved.”” You mean like the PP founder Margaret Sanger who deliberately positioned Planned Parenthood clinics in “poor” (read–black) neighborhoods so as to push her Eugenics beliefs.

    Sanger was a proponent of negative eugenics, which aims to improve human hereditary traits through social intervention by reducing the reproduction of those who were considered unfit.
    In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating.

    Angela Davis supported claims that Sanger intended to exterminate the black population.

    Hey, grumpyrealist—don’t ALL lives matter? Modern science can save a “fetus” as a viable birth in as few as 21-22 weeks, even though the Supreme Court notes in Roe v. Wade that viability is around 27-28 weeks. That shows how outdated the ruling is.

    So…where does “abortion” end and murder begins?

  42. grumpy realist says:

    @John425: As said, get the technology for those uterine replicators cracking, boyo. If you can dump a 21 week fetus in the NICU and have it survive, then jolly good, and I’m sure you’re willing to have your taxes raised to pay for all of that, right? (No, much better to force the woman to provide the gestating chamber, take all the risk, and best of all, do it for free.)

    If you dudes want forced gestation, why don’t you at least pay the woman for it? But how many forced-birthers have actually put their money where their mouths are and offered to pay a woman to not have an abortion and carry it to term? None. Zip. Nada.

  43. John425 says:

    @grumpy realist: Hey, you got your Obamacare passed, just transfer the decisions to the “death panels” and prepare the mother and baby for a “death with dignity” discussion.

    But…I wasn’t talking forced gestation, I was redefining “fetal viability”. So…now that we can support life at 21-22 weeks can we now turn around and prosecute PP staff for murdering the 27 week “fetuses-cum-babies”?

    Science has the bad habit of turning around and biting you on the arse.

  44. stonetools says:

    @John425:

    Are you willing to pay for the upbringing of these fetuses that you love so much? Then maybe you need to STFU until you are willing to put your money where your mouth is. Folks like you love these fetuses until ten seconds after the umbilical cord is cut, and then all of a sudden these children and their mothers are on their own.
    As for your appeal to science, is that a new thing for conservatives? Aren’t you the guys who are insisting that pregnancy begins at conception, which you define as a single moment, and reject the scientific and medical view that pregnancy begins at implantation?

    But…I wasn’t talking forced gestation, I was redefining “fetal viability”. So…now that we can support life at 21-22 weeks can we now turn around and prosecute PP staff for murdering the 27 week “fetuses-cum-babies”?

    Heh, good deflection. At least you understand that you are talking about forcing women who don’t want to be pregnant to carry a child to term. Are you OK with prosecuting the mothers who want to terminate their pregnancies with murder? Would you agree with Huckabee that 11 year olds who are raped by stepfathers should be forced to carry their rapist’s child to term?
    Because if those are positions Republicans want to take, then I predict Hillary’s “trust” problems won’t amount to a spit in a wind storm.Sly beats crazy every time.

  45. Tillman says:

    @John425:

    Hey, you got your Obamacare passed, just transfer the decisions to the “death panels” and prepare the mother and baby for a “death with dignity” discussion.

    I’m confused. Are we still talking about abortion? Why does an unborn baby have a seat at the table with the death panel? Who puts the phrase “death panels” in quotations? Dude, your imagery is all over the place.

  46. Pinky says:

    @PJ:

    I’m amazed that only 178 called her a liar considering the constant attacks on her by Fox News, etc.

    @al-Ameda:

    Let me guess, all 178 were Republican or “Independent”?

    You need to look closer at the survey. The #1 word that people came up with to describe Hillary was “liar”; the #2 word was “dishonest”; the #3 word was “untrustworthy”. There’s a theme there. Of the words chosen by 5 or more people, words along that line were chosen by 543. For the record:

    liar 178
    dishonest 123
    untrustworthy 93
    crook 21
    untruthful 19
    criminal 18
    deceitful 18
    email 14
    corrupt 12
    crooked 11
    phony 8
    cheat 7
    deceptive 7
    scandal 7
    sneaky 7

    The only close call on that list is “email”. I counted, in general, 295 with positive words, 594 with negative, and 164 arguably neutral.

    A study like this, while obviously not in-depth, can tell you a lot more than a typical approve/disprove or horse-race type poll.

    If you look over the Trump one, you’ll notice that most of the people chose really derogatory words. The three highest on his list were “arrogant”, “blowhard”, and “idiot”. The Trump list is actually pretty funny.

    I’m going to list all the Bush words that 20 or more people came up with, because I think they’re illuminating:

    Bush 136
    family 70
    honest 53
    weak 45
    brother 41
    dynasty 40
    experience 35
    George 28
    Florida 25
    politician 24
    republican 24
    moderate 21
    governor 20

    That’s so bloodless. There’s no passion on either side. That’s word association, not emotional response one way or the other. I mean, “Florida”? The candidate’s last name? The candidate’s brother’s first name? This survey points to a completely different problem for Bush than for Clinton.

  47. PJ says:

    @Pinky:
    And?
    Unless the pollster is going to release cross-tabs for first words based on party identification, then who cares? We all know that GOP/Fox News/etc is quite good at messaging.

    1053. That also means that there there are 510 missing, that’s only like 33%…

  48. Todd says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Because I think this is going to come down to a charisma vs. charisma contest, especially if The Donald bags the Republican nomination. And I’m not so sure about Hillary’s chances in that situation.

    I’m actually fairly worried that in that specific matchup we will be inaugurating President Trump in January 2017. Too many Democrats (and some others) seem to being making two very dangerous underestimations …

    1) That Hillary Clinton’s “character” issues won’t actually hurt her in the general election.

    2) That Donald Trump doesn’t have a very real chance of winning; both the nomination and the general election.

    If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, and the Republicans choose either Trump, Bush or Rubio, I think there are good odds that she loses (regardless of what currently polling averages might say at this snapshot in time).

  49. Todd says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Because I think this is going to come down to a charisma vs. charisma contest, especially if The Donald bags the Republican nomination. And I’m not so sure about Hillary’s chances in that situation.

    I’m actually fairly worried that in that specific matchup we will be inaugurating President Trump in January 2017. Too many Democrats (and some others) seem to being making two very dangerous underestimations …

    1) That Hillary Clinton’s “character” issues won’t actually hurt her in the general election.

    2) That Donald Trump doesn’t have a very real chance of winning; both the nomination and the general election.

    If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, and the Republicans choose either Trump, Bush or Rubio, I think there are good odds that she loses (regardless of what currently polling averages might say at this snapshot in time).

  50. Todd says:

    @Todd: Of those 3 (Trump, Rubio, Bush), Bush would probably be the worst candidate from a Republican perspective … i.e. Hillary Clinton’s best chance matchup.

  51. John425 says:

    @stonetools: What a dildo! As taxpayers we help support ALL children so it’s you that needs to STFU. Additionally, I have a science background and it doesn’t conflict with my moral revulsion with abortion and, no, I don’t condone children and rape victims being forced to term. Conservatism isn’t a monolithic, lock-step philosophy; we leave those attributes to Democrats. For forced application of unjust laws I suggest that you revisit the trampling on religious freedom that you Democrats have subjected the religious orders and hospitals to that object to your beliefs.

  52. John425 says:

    @Tillman: I believe it was Edmund Burke who pointed out that even the unborn have rights. In his time property rights and inheritance rights were the driving issues Who speaks for the infant today when the basic issue of the right to be born is dismissed as invalid?

  53. Tyrell says:

    Here is another word: fighter !

  54. anjin-san says:

    @John425:

    As taxpayers we help support ALL children

    If you think this help is anywhere near to being sufficient, I have a bridge or two to sell you.

    But keep telling yourself that if it gets you through the night.

  55. anjin-san says:

    @John425:

    the trampling on religious freedom

    Please detail how anyone in America has been prevented from practicing their religion.

  56. Robin Cohen says:

    @michael reynolds: Hillary doesn’t care about what is good for the country, only about what is best for Hillary. Bill is the same way about what works for him. We now know what the Clintons are really all about. The Country must do better than to give them the Presidency just because they exist and feel entitled.

  57. humanoid.panda says:

    I find it rather amazing how a guy like John245 is pro-life for the simple reason that liberals are pro-choice. I mean, seriously- does anyone think for a second that the guy actually cares about babies or fetuses or ethics or bio-sciences, outside the context of wanting to defeat the libtards?

  58. Tillman says:

    @John425: If we gave rights to the unborn, we’d have to be fair and give rights to the dead. Why should a man be deprived of legal rights simply because he has ceased to be?

    Man, mediums and unstuck-in-time mystics are going to make a fortune at depositions.

  59. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: The unborn are not pre-alive. A living being with human genetic code should be recognized as worthy of some protection.

  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Robin Cohen:

    The Country must do better than to give them (the Clintons) the Presidency just because they exist and feel entitled.

    ‘Cause that’s not at all how Jeb! Bush? feels?

  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Reminding folks yet again that it is impossible, absolutely and utterly impossible, to rationally discuss abortion with an abortion opponent (whose opposition is almost by definition going to be irrational and grounded in emotion).

    Giving them a stage by entertaining their opposition in the first place is a mistake. Simply say “ok”, smile at them congenially while saying nothing more in response, and then work like hell to prevent them from ever getting anything that they want passed into law.

  62. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: Good one! That’ll teach her for defending Bush…oh, wait, she wasn’t defending Bush. But that’ll teach the Republicans who are all blindly lining up for Bush…huh, they aren’t either. But at least the Democrats aren’t all lining up behind Clinton…oh, look at that, the majority of them are. But great line, making fun of Bush for having that exclamation point.

  63. Tillman says:

    @Pinky:

    The unborn are not pre-alive.

    As a religious matter, yes, they are pre-alive.

    then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. — Genesis 2:7, RSV

    And it’s important that religiously this is a very well-defined barrier, because scientifically what differentiates the living from the dead is a much more complex matter than it seems. Fortunately, arguments in favor of life beginning very early in pregnancy are usually science-based.

  64. Pinky says:

    @Tillman: You’re referring to the question of when they are ensouled, and that is a religious one. But the scientific question of whether or not a cell is alive is fairly straightforward.

  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Pinky:

    It’s also immaterial. Fetuses are not people in a legal sense. They have no rights save those which originate with the mother.

    You may not like that, but it is fact regardless.

  66. Pinky says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Someone earlier raised the scientific question; I’m just responding to it. As for the legal question, you’re right, they don’t have any rights. But I don’t think anyone is debating whether or not fetuses have legal rights. The question is whether they should, and the discernment of rights is a philosophical question.

  67. wr says:

    @Pinky: “But the scientific question of whether or not a cell is alive is fairly straightforward.”

    But the law doesn’t protect cells — it protects human beings. And the question here is at what point a mass of cells with the genetic information to develop into a human being becomes a human being for legal purposes.

  68. Pinky says:

    @wr: I think the question is when should it be considered a human being for legal purposes, not when is it. Science can inform our answer, as can legal history.

  69. Tillman says:

    The question is whether they should, and the discernment of rights is a philosophical question.

    Finally, we’ve reached my area of expertise.

  70. gVOR08 says:

    Any discussion of “when human life begins is purely a semantic argument about what you mean by life. Yes a single cell is alive. As were the sperm and the egg before they met. Which inescapably leads to Every Sperm is Sacred.

  71. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    But the scientific question of whether or not a cell is alive is fairly straightforward.

    That is also irrelevant. Every cell, every tissue, and every organ in our bodies are alive, yet none of them are granted the legal protections of personhood. No one suggests that our heart’s be given special dispensation. No one protests when heart transplants are performed and the living heart is removed and allowed to die outside of the body.
    The questions are about what does or should constitute personhood, the rights of the embryo then fetus (at that point a literal parasite), and the rights of the woman carrying the embryo or fetus.
    The ‘right to life’ crowd, at least the camp I think you belong to (Roman Catholic) argues that full personhood begins at conception. When pressed on this I haven’t encountered a single one who actually acts as though this is the literal truth. In that vein, here is a thought experiment for you:

    You are in an IVF clinic that is on fire. In the room is a crying infant in a bassinet and a rolling freezer with 100 frozen embryos. You only have time to save one and the other(s) will certainly perish. Which do you save?

  72. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08:
    @Grewgills:
    The sperm and egg have half a set of genetic code. If natural processes continue without them coming in contact, they’ll die. A cheek cell has a full set of genetic code. If scraped from the mouth, and natural processes continue, it’ll die, and there will be no loss of identity to the individual from whom it was scraped. A zygote has a full and distinct genetic code. If natural processes continue, it’s got a reasonable chance of becoming someone I’d pass on the street and think, “hey, look, it’s a person”. It also has a reasonable chance of failing to implant, or spontaneously aborting.

    In a pinch, I’d save a baby over an embryo, or to put it differently, a developed person over an undeveloped. Here’s a thought experiment for you: if you were steering the runaway bus, and you had to hit either an unidentified person or a pregnant woman, which would you do?

  73. John425 says:

    @Tillman: You know, up until now, I thought you were a reasoned contributor to this blog. The dead actually do have rights such as passing on his will when it is probated. We also have laws prohibiting abusing the dead such as digging them up and dumping them somewhere else. Have you not heard of the phrase “respect for the dead”?

  74. John425 says:

    @humanoid.panda: That’s about the dumbest remark I’ve read this year. Do you reject the notion that “all lives matter” or are you supporting the idea of let’s kill off certain religious or ethnic groups because they don’t matter–to you?

    What’s next? Killing off those who disagree with your preferences for blue just because they prefer green?

  75. anjin-san says:

    @ John425

    Still waiting for you to provide details on how anyone in America is being prevented from practicing their religion…

  76. Tillman says:

    @John425:

    The dead actually do have rights such as passing on his will when it is probated. We also have laws prohibiting abusing the dead such as digging them up and dumping them somewhere else.

    Y’know, that is a good question. Do the dead have the right to enter into contracts? ’cause a last will is a contract for property transferal once you die, but I’m fairly sure you can’t make one (or legally sign it anyway) as a dead person. Though we do have some limited rights concerning corpses, this is true. I still maintain if you gave the unborn legal rights you’d have to give the dead something too because what they have is horseshit.

    Ancillary to this, I’m surprised there’s such a thing as people who believe in a hardcore right to honor whatever last wish someone else has.

  77. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    So you’d save an infant or child over a fetus, as would almost anyone. The question I put to you wasn’t whether you would save a single embryo over a single infant though, it was whether you would save a freezer with 100 or even 1000 embryos over that single infant. If you choose to save the infant, the obvious conclusion is that you think the infant is at least 100 (or 1000) times more person, for lack of a better phrase, than are the embryos.

  78. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: And I assume that you see the point to my question as well.

  79. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Your hypothetical presumes I know she is pregnant. That would mean either I know her or she is showing enough for me to tell immediately, which would put her well into the third trimester. Her being that far into the pregnancy muddies the waters more than a little, so I’ll leave that aside for the moment.
    If I had to choose between a healthy adult man and a pregnant woman, all things else being equal I’d save the pregnant woman. If the choice was between a pregnant woman and a child I don’t know what I would choose. If it were between a pregnant woman and a friend, then I would probably save my friend. If it were between a pregnant woman and two children or two of my friends I’d choose the two children or two friends.
    On the other hand if the choice was between any one person (with the possible exception of my wife or daughter) and 100 or 1000 other persons, the choice would be crystal clear. I would choose the 100 (or 1000) every time barring some very extreme extenuating circumstances.
    I have answered your question in good faith, now will you answer mine and consider what that means for your position on the personhood of an embryo or fetus? Would you choose the freezer or the baby?

  80. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: Fun fact: “Every Sperm Is Sacred” is also the Bosnian national anthem, just without the words.

    (I assume they both borrow heavily from the same source)

  81. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: Sorry, I thought I had answered it. My fault. I’d choose the already-born child. The number of frozen embryos wouldn’t enter into my calculation. Now, if I was assured that those embryos would be implanted and carried to term, I’m not sure how I’d choose, and afterwards I could easily be convinced that I’d made the wrong choice. I can tell you this, if there was only room for two in the fireproof shelter, I’d put the baby and the freezer inside and stay outside, but I wouldn’t require anyone else to do the same.

  82. al-Ameda says:

    @anjin-san:

    @John425: the trampling on religious freedom
    anjin-san: Please detail how anyone in America has been prevented from practicing their religion.

    As you may know, Rowan County Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis is being denied the right to turn the Rowan County offices into a place of worship. Evidently it’s not enough that she has numerous churches that she may avail herself of in practicing her faith, she wants the state and the Supreme Court to ‘establish’ her religion in the Rowan County offices.

    So yes, her religious freedom is being trampled – clearly, an outrage.

  83. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    Just to be clear, you do realize what that answer means as far as you believing embryos are persons, right?

  84. Pinky says:

    @Grewgills: I’m not sure why you’re seeing a contradiction. I can see the value of a life even while anticipating that it’s unlikely to have a chance to develop. And this is one of the reasons that the Catholic Church holds in vitro fertilization to be immoral, because it bypasses the natural process and creates these kind of “playing God” scenarios.

  85. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:
    The position of the catholic church is that personhood begins at conception. Each embryo in that hypothetical freezer is a human person equal in value to any other human person. When you choose to save the infant your choice says that you value the life of the single infant over the lives of 1000 embryos. If those 1000 embryos are each persons of equal value to every other person your decision is not the moral choice. Your choice is only moral if each of those embryos is less than a full person.
    To put a finer point on it, infants and children are also developing. There is no way you would make a similar calculus if you had to choose between 100 orphaned premature infants on life support or a single healthy 10 year old with a happy family.