Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An inside look at Hillary Clinton

If I were in Stephen Braun's shoes, I'd watch my step. The portrait he paints -- picked up by Glenn Reynolds and Ann Althouse, mentioned in passing yesterday by Hugh Hewitt -- is anything but flattering to the former First Lady. On the flip side, as Ms. Althouse observes, "If her experience as First Lady has prepared her for the presidency — and it is her argument that it does — then we must look at that experience and ask what kind of President she is prepared to be."

If Mr. Braun is accepted at his word, and there's nothing coming out saying that he is being disingenuous about this piece, then we will have in Hillary what he classifies as a "bureaucratic fiefdom":

Clinton's all-access pass into the West Wing gave her an intimate education in presidential decision-making that none of her opponents can claim. She observed at close range how big government works, and she learned painfully from her missteps how easily it bogs down...

She built an insular White House fiefdom known as Hillaryland, surrounding herself with a tightknit band of loyalists who skillfully advanced her causes, but who were also criticized for isolating her from political realities.

Hillaryland's denizens began to jokingly refer to themselves as "the Stepford Wives." Their unflinching devotion gained them wide berth in the West Wing.

Staffers were expected to work grueling hours and report back any development that involved the first lady. She kept them busy with news clippings that she covered with scrawled questions and filed in a cardboard carton in her office. ...

The first lady's management of the initiative to overhaul American healthcare remains her closest approximation of high-wire decision-making....

[U]nder her watch, the healthcare task force became a bureaucratic fiefdom. More than 500 officials churned out reports that funneled into a 1,300-page plan....

She appeared sensitive to scrutiny from the start. Just three days after her husband gave her authority over the healthcare plan, she was already considering limits on public access to the plan's records.

In a Jan. 28, 1993, memo, deputy counsel Vincent Foster advised the first lady and Ira Magaziner, who devised the complex healthcare process structure, that task-force records might be withheld from release under the Freedom of Information Act if the files remained "in the control of the president."

Her response is not known because many of her healthcare documents have not been released. The Clinton library in Little Rock has released scores of healthcare memos sent to the first lady. But none of her own memos or notes is available, and though some are now scheduled for release early next year, others may remain locked away until after the 2008 election.

Her doggedness was not matched by her coalition-building skills. Chicagoan Dan Rostenkowski, the gruff, powerful former House Ways and Means chairman, felt that congressional committees should lead the way. "None of the people in your think tank can vote," he recalls telling Clinton. "She wasn't persuaded."

She courted skeptical Senate Finance Chairman Daniel Patrick Moynihan, but undercut the stroking with threats. At a weekend retreat after the State of the Union address in 1993, she dismissed worries about meeting a 100-day deadline set by her husband for a healthcare bill. Asked what would happen if they were late, she said: "You don't understand. We will demonize those who are blocking this legislation and it will pass."...

This picture is not only unflattering, but it paints a bigger picture of a woman who seemed to get drunk on power, very early on. She literally took the idea of a "co-presidency" seriously, rather than playing the periphery role that first Ladies tend to accept. The First Ladies have had their "pet projects." We all remember Nancy Reagan's anti-drug stance, and the efforts she went through to remind kids to stay away from them. But no one recalls her direct involvement with the DEA in pushing the agenda. Likewise, Laura Bush, a former school teacher and librarian, emphasized the need for more involvement in children's education and women's issues, but like Mrs. Reagan, she didn't inject herself into the agenda of either project.

Hillary did. She believed to her core that she was part of her husband's presidency. She's looking forward to being there "again," and the nation will rue the day if it comes. She won't be the open candidate that so many of her followers believe she'll be. Given the picture Mr. Braun has put forth above, it will be a return to the politics of the previous Clinton White House.

Only what is approved will be revealed to the public, and her enemies will suffer at the hands of her lackeys. The attack machine will return. She will rule with the proverbial iron fist that so many were known to have witnessed starting in 1992, on Bill's campaign to become president. In short, she's anything but nice. She reminds us both of a power-hungry political operative of political machines from long ago. Her focus will be on passing her agenda -- anchored by her new version of HillaryCare -- that will make this nation suffer as it never has before.

People may disagree with what we're saying, but the record is there for all to see. She can't be trusted with power, let alone the sort of power she inherently craves. A Hillary Clinton presidency, while highly unlikely, would be a disaster for the nation. And given her earlier predilections for "control," she will put President Bush's critics to shame with how secretive, controlling, and manipulating her presidency would likely be.

Publius II


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