Even though I keep coming back to Morris for his cunning political insight, I've for some reason or other never given his books an unqualified recommendation. No such reservations here. Rewriting History is well written, thoroughly researched, deeply interesting, precise, fair, and above all a lucid exploration of Hillary's personality and decades-long political evolution under her husband's tutelage, that will clear the haze for those who have been mystified by the motiviation of the Clintons.
This is not an insider-tells-all book in the traditional sense. There are few juicy tidbits here that haven't already been widely relished elsewhere. Rather, the book was written as a reaction to the persona Hillary constructed and that was recently buttressed by her autobiography, Living History. Her cultivation of this persona is so complete and calculated that to distinguish it from the real Hillary he calls it the HILLARY brand.
Based on his decades-long intimate experience working with the Clintons, Morris contributes an indispensible insight into someone who is, in some circles, seriously considered a potential future candidate for the presidency. Morris does not fall into the trap of treating Hillary as a clone of Bill, but drawing on comparisons with past presidents, he expounds both their strengths and weaknessess, and one of the great assets of this book is the honest and straightforward way he addresses both.
Hillary is passionate, uncompromising, incredibly disciplined, and manages with an iron rule that tolerates no dissent or disloyalty. Her ideology is rooted in early connections with ultra-Left wing causes, and she takes any disagreement with those preconceptions very personally. Not an intellectual herself, she is easily led by left-wing radicals. Asked once by Morris for a character flaw that could be used to soften her too perfect public persona, she replied that she “[couldn't] think of anything.” Like Ronald Reagan and George W Bush, she has a strong sense of good and evil in the world, but unlike them includes a very great many Americans in the ‘evil’ category.
Steeped in self-righteousness, she will employ absolutely any means to meet her ends. She illegally kept secret the meetings of her health care task force, used confidential FBI files and employed private detectives and physical intimidation to prevent Bill's many affairs from becoming public. She cold-bloodedly fired and smeared the White House travel office staff and denied credit to the ghostwriter of It Takes a Village. Unfortunately, the shield of motherhood and domesticity she hides behind whenever her actions are scrutinized would be unavailable to her as president.
Her deep sense of entitlement leads her to be mired in continual scandal, including (but not limited to) the Whitewater deal, Castle Grande/IDT, and her cattle futures trading. She had no qualms about using the resources of the White House for her personal Senate campaign, including pardons of fraudsters, drug dealers, and terrorists— all in return for donations and votes. She brazenly solicited gifts from wealthy donors, including, of course the unheard-of $8 million advance on her book, right up until the minute she began her term as senator.
Her yearning to be interesting yields some comical untruths. She claimed to have been named after mountain-climber Edmund Hillary (unknown until five years after her birth), made up a story about her daughter nearly being killed on 9/11 (Chelsea was nowhere near the WTC), and spun a tale about discrimination while playing high-school soccer (her school didn't offer that sport). The obsessive name-dropping seems designed to lend herself importance by association. She feigns love for New York, a state she knew nothing about.
On the one hand, HILLARY overplays her role in welfare reform and international politics just as she downplays her work for American Communist party lawyers and the Black Panthers. She denies any culpability in the Hillarycare fiasco. She denies that her husband's position played any role at all in her own success, even though she was herself at best a mediocre lawyer and politician.
HILLARY is a political brand calculated to appeal to her customer base, but offers no clarity about what kind of president Hillary would be. She takes credit for others' work and blames others for her failures. Morris concludes that a HILLARY presidency, characterized by paranoia and vindictiveness, would most closely resemble that of Nixon. Ironically, Hillary may finally have become what she detested most.
Taking Triangulation to the Net
Vote.com is ostentatiously a book about how the emergence of the Internet will change the political process. It seems that in referring to “Internet voting” Morris has conflated two ideas: informing and campaigning, and actual polling and voting. As to the former, it is undeniable that the Internet potentially has a major role to play in breaking the elite media stranglehold. Finally having uncensored access to right-wing viewpoints is, if you will, a breath of ‘fresh air’.
The second point is a little stickier. Touting the power of Web polling sites (such as the one run by Morris himself, mentioned several times), it's not obvious why politicians should pay them particular attention compared to more traditional methods, particularly given that Web polls are notoriously unreliable, self-selecting, and open to abuse. As to actual voting on the Net, glossing over the serious inherent security and privacy issues, it's unclear why the act of voting for a presidential candidate through a Web site would do much to change politics— except to lower the barrier to electoral participation. But if we don't even trust someone to make the effort to cast his ballot on Election Day, can we trust him to take the trouble to inform himself?
Morris argues that as the Internet has cut out the middleman from stock transactions and travel bookings it will do the same in politics. But it's unclear who this might be, if not our elected representative, and it's completely unfeasible to take him out of the loop. No citizen has the time or interest to engage himself on every possible issue. The whole point of representative democracy is that we place our trust in a proxy. While the Internet may enable us to register our opinions with our representatives, we already have this power through telephone and mail.
Morris does have interesting ideas on the application of the Internet to campaigning, such as the use of political banner ads, pseudo-interactive multimedia sessions with the candidates (along the lines of early-generation adventure games), or the ‘Internet presidential debate’. Although banners will be less effective in modifying my own political beliefs since I disable them in my browser, I have to admit that there is something irresistible in the idea of Bush and Gore slugging it out in a chat room. He flatters us by saying that Internet campaigning will be better because we will reject ‘negative’ campaigning as less interesting. But it seems just a little optimistic to believe that the ‘alienated Internet generation’ will magically become engaged by all of this technology.
The book isn't too sharply focused, and ventures into unrelated forays that call on Morris' personal experience as a political campaign advisor. These include his thoughts on how Clinton shrunk the Presidency to fit the president, and on what he calls the ‘unimpeachment’. The attempts to interpret every recent development in politics to a devolution of power from the mass media to the Internet seem a little strained. Without index or footnotes, this book seems somewhat cobbled together.
Morris may be right in that traditional campaigning will expand to include this new medium. But as to actual voting, lowering the presidential election to the level of voting on OJ's acquittal would do much damage to the solemnity of the occasion.
At Any Cost
Jihad! or, You Don't Have to Get Snippy About This
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris asked the media not to prematurely declare the winner in her state, expected to be extremely close and key to the election. But with a mere 0.07% sample of voters and the polls still open, they gleefully handed it and the election to Gore. While polls soon showed Bush actually leading, they waited a full six hours to reverse that call. In fact, networks measurably called states for Gore dramatically faster all across the nation. Tom Brokaw was even caught rooting for Gore on air, unsurprising since journalists themselves vote Democrat twelve-to-one. Yale University Law School estimated that the premature calls depressed Republican voter turnout and cost Bush 10,000 votes in Florida alone. Finishing by a shockingly close 1784 votes, Democratic bias arguably cost Bush the popular vote and almost cost him the presidency.
At Any Cost is a thrilling account of the subsequent wrangling that enthralled the nation. Realizing that recounts alone rarely reverse election outcomes, victory would have to come from the courts. Team Gore deployed its full arsenal on the electoral process and nearly plunged the nation into constitutional crisis, initiating a barrage of stalling tactics designed to cast illegitimacy on the electoral process itself.
A telemarketing firm hired on the evening of the election asked voters to attest they had been confused by the Palm Beach County butterfly ballots. Since Bush and Gore's names were equally close to Buchanan's, the implication was that Democratic voters were somehow more easily confused. It was also not explained why the ballot (designed by the Democratic elections supervisor) was not found confusing when published in newspapers before the election. Clinton Secretary of State Warren Christopher simply declared the butterfly ballot “illegal.” The first confused voter to file suit in court was a Democratic Party operative previously convicted of Medicare fraud.
One county performed an illegal secret recount that mysteriously produced ten times as many new votes for Gore. Another found an astounding twelve times more. Nonetheless, Bush still maintained a razor-thin lead at the end of the recount.
Although not entitled by State law, Gore demanded a third count, restricted to four Democratic counties. Unsure of its legality, the four counties proceeded haphazardly and did not finish before the November 14 deadline. Since State law either required or permitted (depending on your reading) the Secretary of State to invalidate late results, the Democratic smear machine went into full gear against Harris' clothing and make-up. Badly backfiring, they instead evoked an enormous popular outpouring of support.
Unsolicited, the Florida Supreme Court (all nine justices Democratic nominees) declared an arbitrary new deadline of November 26. Two of the four counties completed that count, while Miami-Dade had already given up and acknowledged they wouldn't meet even the extended deadline. Palm Beach took Thanksgiving off and missed it by two hours. So in accordance with the Florida Supreme Court, Katherine Harris certified George W. Bush the winner by 537 votes.
Although Gore had promised to “abide by [its] result”, he sued the remaining two counties for a fourth count but was soundly rebuffed by Democratic Judge Sauls. Four days before the Federal deadline for sending electors to Washington, Gore filed suit again demanding that because officials had assisted 2,000 absentee ballot applications, 20,000 absentee ballots should be invalidated.
Bush had finally had enough. He asked the Federal Supreme Court to mandate a recount in all Florida counties (not just the ones cherry-picked by Gore), but holding also that it should not have extended the deadline set by Florida law. The Court unanimously agreed on the second point and overturned the State ruling.
The liberal-activist Florida Supreme Court then astoundingly ordered another recount in counties that had missed their own extended deadline, and a recount in all counties of only undervotes even though Florida law required counting all ballots. In some counties it was even impossible to separate the undervotes in time.
Two hours before the Federal deadline, the US Supreme Court finally ruled to put an end to the recount mess.
Democrats would later claim they had won the election through the popular vote— although it was rather curious position for the self-proclaimed ‘defenders of the Constitution’ to claim this new and completely un-Constitutional procedure. The party that so movingly called for “counting every vote” was pulling out all the stops to disqualify (mostly military) absentee ballots if the signature on the envelope missed a dotted ‘i’ or the envelope lacked a postmark. An investigation in twelve Florida counties found 445 votes cast by felons— extrapolating, that would have accounted statewide for 2,500 illegal votes for Gore.
In the 1960 election, Richard Nixon declined to force a recount in the election ‘assisted’ by Chicago machine Richard Daley. In 2000, the Gore campaign managed by his son William Daley had no such qualms. The court challenges to the California gubernatorial recall election hint at a disturbing trend by the Left to win elections in the courts. As Al Gore told his aides: “I'm not like George Bush. If he wins or loses, life goes on. I'll do anything to win.”
The Final Days
A Fine Line Between Acting Lawfully and Testifying Falsely
In the final days of their co-presidency, the Clintons flipped off the American people one last time. After two terms of lies, corruption, slander, and immorality that were their trademark, was another book about the Clintons really needed? If only to reveal their contempt for the nation and Constitution, if only to see that eventually even Democrats had had enough— yes, this book was tremendously necessary.
The Clinton presidency was like none other. The man who called late at night to proposition Cyd Dunlop in the hotel room where she stayed with her husband, who was forced to confess on national television to his affair with Gennifer Flowers, brought a New Republic editor to conclude that his persistent adulterizing revealed “a frightening lack of self-control.” Arkansas troopers admitted that they had procured more than a hundred women for Clinton.
One of those women refused to be cowed and became the bane of his presidency: Paula Corbin Jones would pay dearly at the hand of the savage Clinton slander machine. Eight years later, in return for immunity from prosecution, Clinton landed a sweetheart deal in which he admitted knowingly violating a judge's order to tell the truth. A federal court held him in contempt for making false statements in a federal proceeding, and Arkansas disbarred him for five years.
Upon leaving the White House, they rather unsubtly opened gift registries with luxury retailers, and Clinton acolytes took the hint. Expensive White House art was shipped to the Clinton Library, and furniture to their new upstate New York home. Terry McAuliffe financed that home and was rewarded with the leadership of the Democratic National Committee.
When Newt Gingrich accepted a $4.5 million book advance, Democrats howled in protest, so he returned the advance and settled symbolically for one dollar. When Mr and Mrs Clinton accepted $8 and $10 million respectively for their ghostwritten books, there was no outcry. Senator Hillary refused to have her deal vetted by the Ethics Committee.
Hillary is one tough [cookie]. Author Michael Tomasky: “With Hillary, there was something about the way she answered questions that only raised other questions.” In 1991 she reportedly chewed out an Arkansas state trooper: “Where is the [g-dm] [f-ing] flag? I want the [g-dm] [f-ing] flag up every [f-ing] morning at [f-ing] sunrise.” Did she really once claim her husband and daughters's used underwear as a tax deduction? She interned for Communist Party lawyer and Stalinist Robert Treuhaft and later admitted to a journalist that “I want to run something.”
She demonstrated her respect for New York taxpayers by renting her Manhattan offices at more than half a million dollars per year, more than double the amount paid by her co-Senator Charles Schumer. Bill billed the government $830,000 for the entire 56th floor of the Carnegie Hall Towers, almost three times more than any other president.
But most flagrant was the spasm of executive orders and pardons issued on the very last day of his presidency:
Seeminly unruffled during the preceding eight years of perfidy, this last orgy of abuse was too much even for fellow Democrats and liberals.
A DNC official: “Mr Clinton didn't just take the White House china; he took its soul and flushed it down the toilet.” Chief of Staff under Carter, Hamilton Jordan declared that if he had petitioned a pardon of a contributor to his library “he would […] probably have fired me on the spot.” New York Times columnist Bob Herbert: “With Mr Clinton at the controls, the party won the White House twice. But in the process it lost its bearings and maybe even its soul.” Dick Morris, who helped his 1996 reelection, opined that history would judge Clinton as “one of the most corrupt US presidents.”
And New Republic columnist Andrew Sullivan: “We asked for it. We elected him.”
My God— I Can Do It Again!
Upon accepting the offer to become Chief Investigative Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, David Schippers assembled a professional, hard-working, and highly ethical team to prepare impeachment proceedings against Clinton. A lifelong Chicago Democrat who worked for Robert Kennedy and voted for Clinton in both presidential elections, he nonetheless became thoroughly disenchanted with the “lies, cowardice, hypocrisy, cynicism, amorality, butt-covering” among House Democrats and the Senate.
The second American president to be impeached, Clinton claimed the vast right-wing conspiracy was circumventing the Constitution. In fact, the impeachment process was specifically designed by the Founding Fathers as part of our system of checks and balances, but the Senate leadership ensured its failure. Schippers wanted to follow the procedure used against President Nixon, but the likes of Senator Ted Stevens quickly clarified that this was no Watergate: “I don't care if you prove he raped a woman and shot her dead— you are not going to get [the] votes.” On whether the Senators would ignore their oath “to do equal and impartial justice,” he replies: “You're damn right they are.” One Democratic Congressman overheard as saying “My God, this is indefensible. The man is a perjurer, a liar, he's obstructing justice. How can we defend him?” nonetheless voted against impeachment. Among the rare voices of integrity was Democrat Joe Lieberman.
Schippers is a straight-talker and doesn't pull any punches. Countering noncooperation from Attorney-General Reno's Department of Justice, he promises an Obstruction of Congress charge. When Reno refused to supply reports from FBI Director Louis Freeh and DoJ prosecutor Charles LaBella, he plays severe hardball and eventually nearly succeeds. Tipped off that the White House is setting him up, and if he accepts the reports they will be immediately leaked, Schippers declines them— Clinton wins.
Contrary to received propaganda, Clinton's transgressions were not about sex. Even with all the stonewalling and intimidation, the Judiciary Committee gathered evidence to support 15 separate felonies, among which perjury, witness tampering, and suborning perjury. Because of constraints imposed on the inquiry, much was not even investigated: illegal foreign campaign contributions (Chinagate), illegal possession of secret FBI personnel files (Filegate), the firing and slandering of the travel office staff (Travelgate), selling of Commerce Department junkets for campaign contributions (Commercegate), and perjury over his tawdry adulterous affairs with Kathleen Willey, Dolly Kyle Browning, and Gennifer Flowers.
Clinton's rape (as Arkansas Attorney-General) of Juanita Broaddrick is simply heinous. When he appeared to have finished, he told his victim “My God, I can do it again!” and did. She kept quiet, and at a later fundraiser Hillary approached her and said “I've heard so much about you […]. We appreciate everything you do,” though she hadn't worked for their campaign. When Clinton's conquests were subpoenaed in the Paula Jones case, they were pressured into providing false depositions or threatened (sometimes grotesquely).
The White House coerced the INS to grant citizenship to aliens likely to vote Democratic by waiving normal security checks. Accounting firm KPMG established that over 250,000 aliens with certain or unverified arrest records obtained citizenship, and in a sample of 100 aliens with serious prior criminal records 20% now had FBI arrest records for serious crimes committed after obtaining citizenship.
The day before the debate and vote on the articles of impeachment, Clinton bombs Iraq.
Schippers reproduces some of the support and hate mail he received, and one poignant letter is worth quoting:
“I am writing to you because my friend Eddie saw you on TV and said you were moral and tough. My Dad is a lot like the President because he likes to have ladies sleep over when my Mom's away. I don't like that. I was wondering if you could help impeach my Dad?”
Behind the Oval Office
Snowing the Electorate Against All Odds
Clinton's use of television advertising in his 1996 reelection bid was unprecedented in American history. Political consultant Dick Morris was highly influential in managing this campaign, and retracing his collaboration with the Clintons back to the Arkansas gubernatorial campaigns, he peeks inside Clinton and his White House.
Morris was also the one who gave the American political world ‘triangulation’. If (as he insists too many times) triangulation is not really shaping of policy by polling but merely the shaping of presentation by polling, it would still be terribly disingenuous toward the voter. But I think even he realizes that cherry-picking other people's policies in order to win elections is not leadership.
In fact, a lack of leadership is indicative of the Clinton White House itself. According to Morris, Clinton suffers from a chronic inability to fire under- or misperforming members of his staff (inadvertently giving another clue as to who really was responsible for firing the travel office staff). He creates chaos and infighting, then drifts around waiting for someone to move in his direction whom he then supports. Morris describes a permanent near state of war between White House chief of staff Leon Panetta and deputies Harold Ickes and Erskine Bowles. Such is the manner that Clinton exerts control.
But then he isn't much of a team player— he even keeps Morris out of sight from his staff because he wanted him to himself. Later, paranoia erupts when Clinton accuses Morris of hogging Al Gore, and fearing abandonment by his boss, Gore accuses Clinton of the same.
Clinton spent an astounding $85 million in his reelection campaign. In the previous presidential election, both candidates spent less than half that amount. Obviously this war chest drained an enormous amount of time and energy from Clinton's other job as president. Quoting Clinton: “I can't think. I can't act. I can't do anything but go to fund-raisers and shake hands. You want me to issue executive orders; I can't focus on a thing but the next fund-raiser. Hillary can't, Al can't— we're all getting sick and crazy because of it.”
Interestingly, Clinton doesn't even watch television news— or read newspapers, with the exception of the New York Times and Washington Post op-ed pages.
Morris describes the reason for not supporting a cut in the capital gains tax. Their own experts had agreed with President Ronald Reagan's rationale that such a cut not only would not cost anything but would even raise revenue, but they still opposed it because it would make them look “too Republican.” So they screwed American workers for cosmetics' sake. He describes Clinton's strategy to pass a welfare reform bill to help his election, but then force changes in it after being locked into the White House. Morris has many good words for Trent Lott, but being a good Senator couldn't save him from being lambasted over an off-hand remark at Strom Thurmond's centenary.
Not much is mentioned about foreign affairs, but what is doesn't speak well for Clinton's grasp of it. On the victory of Prime Minister Netanyahu in the 1996 Israeli elections, Clinton flatly concludes that the “Israelis are not ready for peace,” forgetting that following countless terror attacks on its citizens after the disastrous Clinton-sponsored Israeli/Palestinian peace agreements, Israelis voted Netanyahu in office precisely because he was the only one who could credibly bring peace.
Sooner or later everyone strays into Hillary's dark side, and Morris commits the sin of recounting how she wanted a swimming pool in their taxpayer-funded Arkansas governor's mansion. It is fairly amusing to read the fawning and sycophantic groveling he had to endure to be restored in her favor.
Behind the White House is a fairly interesting read, though it suffers from sloppy editing. Are “honesty, honor, reliability” really adjectives in the Democratic lexicon? It has its share of political correctness: why does ‘Arab terrorists’ need quotes? Truman ‘lost’ China, but Clinton didn't want to lose Russia.
Dick Morris seems a generally honorable professional who is good at what he does, though I'm left to wonder whether this is good for the electorate or the country. In order to raise the astronomical amounts of cash needed for the marketing of what Morris calls the “first fully advertised presidency in US history,” Clinton by his own admission was incapacitated from his duties. As we now know, the methods used to raise the cash were illegal, sometimes damaging to our national security, and always reprehensible.
Clinton Kool-Aid and Gore Iced Tea
The earliest signal that the Department of Justice was to become just another tool to be subjugated to the Clintons' lust for power was the unprecendented mass firing of all 93 U.S. Attorneys. David Limbaugh analyzes how the Clinton White House abused Justice to further its political ends and escape responsbility for its misdeeds. Hillary Clinton similarly showed no compunctions in sacrificing the White House travel office staff that served previous administations loyally simply because she “needed the slots.” After two and a half years of slander that destroyed their professional careers, Bill Clinton felt their pain and moved on: the lessons learned from the political fall-out would serve them well in subsequent scandals.
They learned to deflect criticism through stonewalling, intimidation, smear, and slander, aided by the DoJ and abetted by the media's hyperselective reporting that overlooked eight years of rot. Little wonder that Democrats are worried by the morality of John Ashcroft, and the weakening of the liberal stranglehold on media through cable TV and talk radio (Clinton's Vice President is now planning to give us Gore TV).
They accused Billy Dale of financial misconduct when their own Arkansas World-Wide Travel cronies were wasting money. They accused Kenneth Starr of leaking information when the source was the White House itself. They accused Linda Tripp of vindictiveness while Hillary Clinton railroaded anyone who interfered with her ambitions. They accused Paula Jones of promiscuity when the philanderer-in-chief occupied the White House. They accused the Republican National Committee of soliciting foreign campaign contributions just as the Democrats were selling out our national security to any foreign interest with cash.
To stonewall any investiagations that did occur Clinton invoked more than a dozen times executive privilege that Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush used only about once a term. They tried to create ficticious new privileges that would have implicated the prestigious Secret Service in evasion of justice. DoJ helped to render ineffective the Office of Independent Counsel which was created expressely for the purpose of avoiding the conflict of interest when it investigates its own boss. Of course, in the grotesque and horrifying Democratic foreign campaign finance scandals, Janet Reno simply refused to establish any independent counsel at all even though its own task force chief LaBella and FBI director Freeh recommended it. For his efforts, LaBella got payback soon thereafter.
Limbaugh draws on different cases and scandals. In regard to Elián Gonzales, tobacco lawsuits, or the Waco Branch Davidians, the author really fails to convincingly demonstrate an inappropriate link from Justice to the White House, or even that Justice acted improperly in the first place. He much more effectively demonstrates how the Clintons abused Justice in scandals that originated in the White House itself.
In the end, Limbaugh has presented a plausible indictment of the Clinton's subversion of the Department of Justice: just one more once proud institution dragged through the mud in their hunger for power. In his failed election bid, Al Gore applied his experience to use the courts to circumvent the Constitution. Sometimes, though, Justice does prevail.
The Case Against Hillary Clinton
They're Never Going to Leave
In this delightful book, Peggy Noonan uses the speechwriting skills that she lent so effectively to the Reagan White House to hilarious effect by getting into the mind of our first co-president, the most powerful and unaccountable woman in the United States.
Though written before Hillary Clinton's election to the Senate, the book opens with an imagined account of a victory speech where she finally snubs the serial adulterer. But the rest of the book demonstrates her political unfitness to represent a state she has “no connection to, no history with, no previously demonstrated interest in.” Anticipating the charge usually leveled against anyone who doesn't stomach their prevarications as a ‘Clinton hater’, she quotes Christopher Hitchens: “I do not hate them, I have contempt for them.”
Of course, it doesn't hurt to have on your side an all-forgiving press that doesn't mind being played for a fool. The media were willingly complicit because they shared the Clinton's left-wing utopia of big federal and world government, and their distrust of working-class citizens to make decisions regarding their own lives. This distrust was reflected in the Hillarycare fiasco, where the courts were required to crack the obsessive secrecy surrounding her Task Force. In the end, the lack of public consultation produced a behemoth of unworkable complexity that was doomed from the beginning.
Nor does it hurt to install a staff with a steamroller mindset, utterly and blindingly loyal, unafraid to flatten anyone that gets in your way, chewing up anybody who is not willing to sacrifice their integrity to the cause. Hillary showed no compunction about destroying the lives of the White House travel office staff who had served loyally for decades. Hillary's staff illegally held hundreds of classified FBI files that could be used against Republican officials. Years of Clinton governorship and presidency taught that you can get away with absolutely anything if you deny, evade, prevaricate, attack, and smear.
And it certainly doesn't hurt that your husband barters his office for your campaign. The book goes into some detail about the Americans killed and injured by the FALN terrorists who were pardoned by Bill Clinton in return for campaign donations.
Peggy Noonan drives home the obscenity of their behavior by an ingenious application of fictional device. For instance, we see how the Clintons debased our own standards of governance when she transplants George and Barbara Bush into their roles. When she presents a hypothetical meeting of Hillary using her influence with the entertainment industry, we begin to comprehend the tragedy of a squandered presidency. The Clinton legacy is the pursuit of power for its own sake, having no perceptible loyalty or ideology, and having no other goal than to perpetuate itself.
Peggy Noonan with an endearing tone relates a story about the woman who channels Eleanor Roosevelt, and sadness at the lack of humility that should be the mark of a great leader. It is the story of a woman who sold her soul and our trust for a shot at power. “Then there came the moment when I realized: They're never going to leave.”
High Crimes and Misdemeanors
“High Crimes and Misdemeanors” are grounds, per Article II of our Constitution, that provide for the impeachment of civil officers of the government. In this age of moral relativism where “truth is lies”, Ann Coulter gives a much-needed background to the historical meaning of these words, from the days of the British monarchy where they originated, through their inclusion by the Founding Fathers, to the day when they were used to frame articles of impeachment against President Nixon.
The bulk of the book is dedicated to applying this standard to the catalog of misbehavior of the Clinton Administration. Written as it was when the question of removal from office was still open, the book has a passionate tone which in hindsight feels somewhat futile now that we know Congress was unable to live up to its responsiblity. Nonetheless, that tone demonstrates a certain credibility of someone who cares deeply about our government and the presidency.
And on reading this book, one cannot but feel saddened to realize how low the stature of the Presidency has sunk under that administration. Barely palatable even when spread out over its full eight years, the sheer quantity of muck concentrated in one volume is almost too much to swallow. Bill Clinton abused his positions as governor and president to procure and then pay off women at taxpayer's expense, and to cover it up lied countless times, perjured himself under oath, and suborned perjury of others. But all that is only the beginning.
In Travelgate, the White House travel office staff was fired at the behest of Mrs Clinton so that she could fill those “slots” with “her people”. Filegate had nine hundred FBI background files on Republican officials illegally in the possession of the White House. During Fostergate, White House officials obstructed an FBI investigation into the suicide of White House counsel Vincent Foster. In the Whitewater affair, taxpayers were defrauded of millions of dollars while the White House obstructed the investigation every step of the way and paid off the silence of indicted counsel. The White House was rented off like a common bed-and-breakfast and coffee house. The Clinton Administration used IRS audits as an instrument of threat and vengeance on its enemies. Perhaps worst of all, in what comes horrifyingly close to treason, the Administration permitted the release of CIA briefings and classified missile technology to China in return for staggering campaign contributions.
Since the book was written while Mr Clinton was still in office, it does not even mention the later scandals that plagued the last years of that administration, such as the eleventh-hour pardoning of fugitives and felons who made large contributions to the Democratic Party in Pardongate.
It is hard to say whether it is worse that this person served as our president, or his apologists' astounding insistence that the perfidy of his presidency somehow doesn't matter. It wasn't always like this. The Rodino report, which laid down the reasoning for proceedings against President Nixon, noted that “the scope of impeachment was not viewed narrowly” as a purely criminal matter but also considered maintaining the prestige and respect of the office. Fascinatingly, party to the Rodino hearings was none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Ann Coulter is a knowledgeable, deliciously sharp, and unquestionably intelligent writer— I would recommend any of her books, as well as the syndicated column which appears also on her Web site. High Crimes and Misdemeanors is well researched and annotated, and leaves me asking rhetorically about those eight dark years: what in the world were we thinking?
All pages under this domain © Copyright 1999-2004 by: Ben Hekster