New documents demonstrate Clinton’s political strategy
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 22:02
Recently, documents have emerged detailing conversations between Hillary Clinton and political science professor Diane Blair, one of her closest friends. The documents reveal Clinton’s thoughts on several events between the 1970s and 2000. The concerns she expresses show her to be an ambitious, calculating, and at times, ruthless political strategist. No doubt these documents are gaining the public’s attention because she is likely to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016 and many of her opponents intend to utilize the information contained in them. Regardless, it is important for every American citizen to learn more about the character and beliefs of someone who may be the next president of the United States.
The information garnering the most attention is Hillary Clinton’s response to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Recording Clinton’s description of the affair, Blair wrote, “It was a lapse, but she says to his credit, he tried to break it off, tried to pull away, tried to manage someone who was clearly a ‘narcissistic loony toon;’ but it was beyond control.” This passage is somewhat troubling, as it appears that Clinton saw the affair as a mistake not because it was morally wrong, but because it damaged their public image. She gives President Clinton credit for trying to manage Lewinsky and keep the affair quiet, while expressing frustration that Lewinsky could not be controlled. Her concern with political reputation, a trait that is increasingly common among elected officials, suggests a lack of honesty and integrity. She further claims that her husband did not abuse his position as President of the United States in beginning the affair, that it was not a power relationship. Though none doubt that the affair was consensual, it is incredibly naïve for Clinton to suggest that her husband’s powerful position played no role in an affair with a White House intern.
In reference to a conversation about Senator Bob Packwood, who was then the subject of several sexual assault allegations, Blair wrote, “HC [Hillary Clinton] tired of all those whiney women, and she needs him on health care.” This insensitivity toward potential victims of sexual assault is deeply disturbing. Blair also notes that the Clintons and their supporters had “really been trying to keep the women’s groups in line since Paula Jones filing.” In addition, Blair’s records contained a memo from 1992 titled “Possible Investigation Needs” which suggested ways to stop stories of then-Governor Clinton’s infidelities from coming to light. For example, it suggested that they expose Gennifer Flowers as a “fraud, liar, and possible criminal to stop this story.” In 1998, President Clinton admitted he had had an affair with Flowers. These instances of the Clintons attempting to control, silence, and discredit any who would harm their political reputations regardless of the veracity of their allegations illustrates a damnable and unprincipled ambition.
While attending dinner with the Clintons at the White House on February 23, 1993, the topic of health care reform came up. She writes, “At dinner, [Hillary] to [Bill] at length on the complexities of health care – thinks managed competition a crock; single-payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare.” It is important to note that Clinton had just been named to the president’s health care task force, which advocated a system of managed competition. Further, in a 2008 New York Times interview she claimed she “never seriously considered a single-payer system.” This evidence suggests Clinton’s public positions are not her honest beliefs, but the most politically expedient and most likely to receive public support.
When Justice Harry Blackmun resigned from the Supreme Court, one of those suggested to replace him was Judge Richard Arnold. While both Clintons had concerns with Arnold’s health, Hillary suggested that rejecting him would also teach a lesson to Walter Hussman, Jr., publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Hussman supported Arnold’s nomination, but had published articles critical of the Clintons. According to Blair, Clinton said, “Goddamn Hussman needs to know that it’s his own goddamn fault; that he can’t destroy everybody from Ark. and everything about the state and not pay the price for his precious Richard.” Clinton also stated, “He needs to get the message big-time, that Richard might have a chance next round if Hussman and his minions will lay off all this outrageous lies and innuendo.” This evidence of petty politics is unflattering to a potential presidential candidate. All these examples portray Hillary Clinton as a savvy, ruthless and ambitious political strategist. However, the lack of principle shown in many cases makes her likely presidential campaign concerning.