Hillary Clinton is a lawyer, and a smart one at that. So she knows better than this statement she made about the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decision:

It’s very troubling that a salesclerk at Hobby Lobby who needs contraception, which is pretty expensive, is not going to get that service through her employer’s health care plan because her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception.

Politifact rates Clinton’s statement as Mostly False. The WaPo‘s fact-checker gave it 2 Pinocchios.

But although both articles say Clinton is dissembling to a certain extent, they both give Clinton’s statement a more generous interpretation than it deserves, with the WaPo even insinuating that her error might have been inadvertent.

Absurd; as I said, Clinton is a razor-sharp lawyer when she wants to be. She should have gotten the maximum number of Pinocchios and then some.

But I’m not writing this post to rail against Politifact or even the WaPo. I don’t expect them to do anything other than protect Hillary as much as they can get away with, and in fact I’m even surprised they criticized her at all.

I’m writing to point out how pernicious her statement was, how purposely and cleverly duplicitous, shameless demagoguery of the worst sort. And the women (or men) who might fall for it are ignorant and manipulable. But that’s the way it went in 2012, and that’s the way Democrats hope it will go in 2014 and 2016.

Politifact and the WaPo rightly point out that Hobby Lobby offers 16 of 20 kinds of contraception coverage, and they base their criticism of Hillary’s statement mainly on that. What they fail to mention is another purposeful (and IMHO even more pernicious) lie Hillary tells in that same sentence, one that I have yet to see anyone point out. It’s contained in her phrase “her employer doesn’t think she should be using contraception.”

This not only incorrectly insinuates that all types of contraception were at issue here (they were not), but it incorporates the larger lie that the case was about employers judging their employees negatively for using certain types of birth control. But that obscures the actual issue in the case, which was that Hobby Lobby did not want to be forced by the government to participate in paying for, and therefore being complicit in, the use of particular types of birth control that violated its own religious beliefs.

Nowhere did Hobby Lobby express any interest in judging whether its employees should be using those or any other forms of contraception. And it was very clear that even IUDs and the morning-after pill, the methods being questioned, would in fact end up being provided cost-free to Hobby Lobby’s employees. Hobby Lobby merely asked to not be required to foot the bill itself for something that violated the religious conscience and beliefs of its owners.

But Hillary Clinton knows that opposing religious freedom—which is what she is actually doing here—is nowhere near as popular a stance as fighting supposed attempts to stop women from having contraception. Although no one is actually attempting that in Hobby Lobby, it makes good copy for the fight against the War on Women on which she believes the success of her candidacy depends.

She will lie shamelessly to manipulate the women for whom she obviously has a great deal of contempt into believing that’s what’s going on.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]