November 28, 2007

"A bureaucratic fiefdom... 500 officials... a 1,300-page plan.... sensitive to scrutiny... documents... locked away... 'We will demonize'..."

Stephen Braun, in the L.A. Times, looks into the proposition that Hillary Clinton's experience as First Lady is a legitimate credential for the presidency:
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.

She kept them busy with news clippings that she covered with scrawled questions and filed in a cardboard carton in her office. That sounds strangely small time. What exactly was the task at hand? (Was it something like those scrawled notes Dick Cheney wrote on that New York Times op-ed written by Joe Wilson?)
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 is the one effort at management that is available for us to examine... to the extent that she will allow us to examine it. A bureaucratic fiefdom... 500 officials... a 1,300-page plan.... sensitive to scrutiny... documents... locked away... "We will demonize"...

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.

69 comments:

Pogo said...

"l'Etat c'est moi."
"la GrĂ¢ce de Dieu."
~ Hillary XIV, 2015

"A Constitution should be short and obscure."
"A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets."
"I am the successor, not of Louis XVI, but of Charlemagne."
"I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up."
~ Hillary Bonaparte, President for Life 2018

J said...

"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"

Did they just lift this from one of their articles criticizing W and change the name?

MadisonMan said...

Hillary!'s Health Plan, Cheney's Energy Task force. Which is more secretive or sensitive to scrutiny?

j: Exactly.

The Drill SGT said...

Did they just lift this from one of their articles criticizing W and change the name?

I was thinking "N" (nixon) rather than "W"

rhhardin said...

insular White House

Britannia est insula. Europa non est insula. Italia paenae est insula. Italia est paenaeinsula.

That gets 8th graders interested in Latin, the theory of the fisrt lesson was, in 1955. The familiar English word order was put in to help.

Politics was left to the weekly paper Res Gestae.

None of it worked.

They should have given us the Latin for sword-sheathing in the first lesson, gladium in vaginam recondere.

SteveR said...

MM: Hillary!'s Health Plan, Cheney's Energy Task force. Which is more secretive or sensitive to scrutiny?

I would argue that a) Cheney's not running for anything using his "experience" as a qualifier and b) the Energy Task Force was taken up during an administration still in office. The latter is a minor point perhaps but if she's touting her first lady experience, let's see it.

MadisonMan said...

You could argue that, but would you be answering my question?

George said...

Ah, lingua latina! Bonus!

Interesting tidbit...

Everyone knows what "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" means...

but in those English lit. classes no one ever teaches the next line from Virgil...

"...mors et fugacem persequitur virum..."

A bit more delicious, yes?

TMink said...

Good catch Sarge, it is reminiscent of the Nixon Whitehouse.

Trey

Balfegor said...

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.

Other than the actual policy underlying Hillarycare, I think this is the clearest weakness that the Hillarycare fiasco reveals. But it's also a weakness that her experience as a Senator appears (perhaps superficially) to have ameliorated somewhat.

SteveR said...

Both are exactly the same, to answer your question and if Cheney was using his vice presidential experience to run for president in 2008, I'd say we should be discussing it.

Since HRC seems inclined to operate in secret, no one criticizing the Bush administration for operating in secret should let her off the hook, unless you are willing to admit that the ends justify the means.

Tim said...

"...then we must look at that experience and ask what kind of President she is prepared to be."

I think we all know the answer is "whatever it takes," but I realize those who think that "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." is a good thing will be pleased, at least initially.

former law student said...

Senatorial experience or no, Hillary's basic attitude is "My way or the highway," or "Hillary uber alles." She will use her positional power because she has no persuasive power. Those who do not admire dictators should vote for anyone else.

Trooper, I'm thinking of Hillary as Lucy Van Pelt.

Trooper York said...

Former law student, I did a whole series with Hillary as Lucy, George Bush as Charlie Brown, Pigpen as AL Gore, Schroeder as Bill Clinton, Peppermint Patty as Condi and it never took off.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jeff said...

Trooper, I think it was the Asian animation that did that in. The repeated backgrounds, etc. Talk to the SouthPark guys. Maybe redo the series.

MadisonMan said...

SteveR, the reverse is also true. If you are criticizing Hillary for secrecy, you should also be criticizing the slavish devotion to secrecy that surrounds the White House at present.

Much of the criticism here (My way or the highway) of Hillary can also be made of GWBush. Whatever happened to We're at War, Questioning is Treason? Or is that only valid when those with BBS say it? (That would be Bush Blinders Syndrome, the antithesis to BDS).

jeff said...

"We're at War, Questioning is Treason? "

Well, considering that statement only comes up from a BDS sufferer, I am not sure of your point. When did the administration ever say that? Something in context, please.

JohnAnnArbor said...

We're at War, Questioning is Treason?

Never heard anyone say that.

SGT Ted said...

I like the portrayal of ordinary Executive Priviledge used by many, many former Dem and Repub Presidents as a "slavish devotion to secrecy". It's so melodramatic and fits right in with the BDS displayed by mostly otherwise rational people.

The very same "slavish devotion to secrecy" was claimed by The Bubba constantly to avoid scrutiny. Hell, Bubba even tried to assert immunity from lawsuit discovery by claiming to be a serving member of the Armd Forces under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act, nevermind that the specific provision only applies to deployed servicemen. Anyone remember that?

I guess that it comes down to trust. I trust Bush more than I trust Hillary! or any Socialist Democrat Presidential Candidate with the handles of power, which does involve secrecy(duh).

The endless melodrama about the ever incipient "theocracy" or the "dark night of fascism" under Bush constantly on display by the lefties is quite humorous, given actual reality.

MadisonMan said...

“I wonder if they’re more interested in protecting the rights of terrorists than protecting the American people,” he said at a news conference. “They certainly don’t want to take the terrorists on and defeat them.”

I'll let you guess who I and they are.

Late that year, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said tactics used by critics of the USA Patriot Act "only aid terrorists" and "give ammunition to America's enemies."

You can now go Clintonian (WJ) and say that's not saying Questioning is Treason.

The perhaps schadenfraudic beauty of a Hillary! Presidency, if it occurs, will be the 180 those who favor a strong, secretive Executive Branch now will do.

EnigmatiCore said...

I don't really care about the secrecy debate here. I think it is right and proper for things to happen behind closed doors. Some things need to be aired in public, but many do not and should not.

We are better served not seeing sausage being made. Ingredients suffice (more or less).

The demonize part is what gets me. We all know it is true-- the Clintons have always been believers in casting their opponents as evil demons while bemoaning the politics of personal destruction. Is that what we want more of?

I don't. Give me a Rudy, or a Biden, or a Thompson, or even an Obama.

former law student said...

For all his many faults, W. knows how to delegate, and picked key personnel because they knew more than he did -- and he listened to them. I don't think either delegation or taking the advice of experts will happen in a HRC administration

jeff said...

"You can now go Clintonian (WJ) and say that's not saying Questioning is Treason."

Well, I could if I granted you the authority to determine clear meaning. Then if I disagreed with you, you could call it Clintonian. However, I do not, and I do not agree that those two statements (and how long on google did it take for you to find them?) are equal to "We're at War, Questioning is Treason?".

I see you ignored my request for context, so just throwing a couple of things out there, should both of those statements be in response to say, The NY times continually releasing secret information for instance, I would be hard pressed to disagree with them.

rastajenk said...

I've said this before in another venue, and I'll say it again here: The Clintons have a chance to set a record that will last as long as the Union does...Two impeachments from one family.

SteveR said...

MM: My only point is that if she's touting her first lady experience as a qualifier for the pres job (and she is) than we should be able to see what she did (and we are not).

There's no indication that either group violated any laws and so I don't have a problem with either being secretive. And her non- disclosure extends well beyond the Health Care group.

Newsweek

DaveG said...

If experience is all that important (and I'm not saying one way or the other whether it is or not) in determining who should be President, wouldn't it be wise to revisit the whole question of the two term limit?

Just sayin' is all.

Richard Dolan said...

It's not a serious criticism of any aspiring chief executive to say that, at some point, they insist on "my way or the highway." Debate and back-and-forth discussion are wonderful, but the duty of any chief executive is to make decisions and then take action to execute them. One of the most telling criticisms of Clinton as president was that he waffled endlessly, trying to please everyone while putting off any decisive action. That Hillary might be less inclined to that sort of thing does not strike me as a failing (she has lots of real ones, and it's sufficient to focus on them rather than fake ones). It's not that any particular decision should never be reconsidered. But to be at all effective, any chief executive knows that debate is not the end in itself. Particularly when dealing with an entrenched bureaucracy that wants to pursue its own policy preferences, any president has to be especially careful about accepting insubordination once a policy decision has been reached. To do so invites chaos, and will end up destroying any possibility of achieving whatever policies the president deems in the national interest. It comes down to judgment -- when to make a decision and move on, and when not to.

There is also not much to criticize in the desire of every executive to maintain a degree of confidentiality about his deliberations. Without it, everyone offering input becomes inhibited as does the executive in expressing any tentative conclusions or concerns. Hillary knew (as any sensible person would) from the get-go that her proposed health care reform recommendations would be highly controversial, and would be almost impossible to formulate if the deliberations were conducted in the glare of public scrutiny. That she took steps to protect those deliberations from such scrutiny at the time strikes me as another fake issue. Who wouldn't do likewise?

None of that changes whether you think ClintonCare (or Cheney's energy policy) was good or bad policy; or whether you support Hillary (I don't). Nor am I suggesting that either Congress or the courts lack power to require disclosure (in a proper case) of information that the Executive seeks to keep secret. But it's just silly to criticize Hillary for recognizing the importance of secrecy and trying to do what she could to maintain it (then or now).

What struck me as more of a concern was the poor judgment Hillary showed in failing to see that she had to get both Rostenkowski and Moynihan on board if her plan was to have any chance of moving forward, precisely because she was looking to impose enormous changes on the American economy. The idea of threatening Moynihan ("we will demonize ...") was self-defeating in that context.

The problem wasn't her desire to keep the deliberations of her health care committee secret or even her desire to control the ultimate shape of the policy that would result ("my way or the highway"). What she lacked was that "sense of where you are," that McPhee saw in Bill Bradley (playing basketball, not politics), and how best to adjust to it to achieve her goals.

C said...

Thanks, Ann. I hadn't seen the word "fiefdom" in quite some time...twice in one article! (Do you want to send him a thesaurus, or should I?)

jeff said...

"wouldn't it be wise to revisit the whole question of the two term limit?"

I've never liked it. If you are eligible to be president and have served as president and can get enough people to vote for you again, I see no reason not to have that option.

MadisonMan said...

how long on google did it take for you to find them?

About a minute. When Wisconsin's Senator Feingold voted against that horrible extension of Federal Power the USA (cough) PATRIOT (cough) act -- (acronyms should be banned when writing laws) -- he was roundly denounced. Some of the quotes I could recall, especially Ashcroft's.

jfm said...

Hillary Clinton = Richard Nixon without the charm.

jeff said...

"how long on google did it take for you to find them?

About a minute. When Wisconsin's Senator Feingold voted against that horrible extension of Federal Power the USA (cough) PATRIOT (cough) act -- (acronyms should be banned when writing laws) -- he was roundly denounced."

Then how about suppling some that support your original statement?

"he was roundly denounced" really doesn't do it.

former law student said...

her desire to control the ultimate shape of the policy that would result "my way or the highway"

Is that how you interpret "my way or the highway"? Believe me it's far closer to l'Etat c'est moi, than to any situation where input from other people is considered.

Trinity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

I've never liked it. If you are eligible to be president and have served as president and can get enough people to vote for you again, I see no reason not to have that option. [Emphasis added.]

Well, I do: because life would no longer be worth enduring.

Hell, I think the presidency should be limited to a six-year term, with the option to run again, but not consecutively.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: there has not been one, single solitary second-term presidency, in my lifetime (b. 1961), that has not devolved into a mess of one type or (/and) another. Not one. Not one!

Term limits: YUM!!!!!!!!!!

***

I am resigned, however, to the present state affairs, wishin' not bein' gettin'. Please God, let's at least not make it worse!

MadisonMan said...

Late that year, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said tactics used by critics of the USA Patriot Act "only aid terrorists" and "give ammunition to America's enemies."

(1) Said by someone in the administration

(2) Said about someone who was questioning critics of how the administration wanted to fight the GWOT.

It's unclear to me why you were unable to read this quote the first time I wrote it, at 11:11.

jeff said...

How coincidental! It is unclear how you missed my response at 11:37.

Let me quote the relevant part.

"I see you ignored my request for context, so just throwing a couple of things out there, should both of those statements be in response to say, The NY times continually releasing secret information for instance, I would be hard pressed to disagree with them."

Roux said...

Travelgate

Revenant said...

Well, Bush has been the Republican LBJ, so it is up to Hillary to be the Democratic Richard Nixon that succeeds him.

TMink said...

EC wrote: "The demonize part is what gets me."

Me too. I am so tired of this on both sides of the aisle.

Trey

Daryl said...

When do we get "Swift Vets" (i.e., people from the task force who want to talk about what a terrible job Hillary did)? I think that would be interesting.

"I served under Hillary--and she lied about her accomplishments."

The "demonize" line is the one that jumped out at me, as well. The others made an impression, but that's certainly the least subtle.

If Hillary can't get her way, she'll push and kick and scream and bite until she does. She'll make total war on anyone who stands in her way on anything. We don't need another power-mad Nixon in the White House.

jeff said...

"Well, Bush has been the Republican LBJ, so it is up to Hillary to be the Democratic Richard Nixon that succeeds him."

That's pretty good. Yeah, it fits doesn't it?

"EC wrote: "The demonize part is what gets me.
Me too. I am so tired of this on both sides of the aisle."

Me too. If only the people who disagree with me were not the embodiment of pure evil.

Simon said...

DaveG said...
"If experience is all that important (and I'm not saying one way or the other whether it is or not) in determining who should be President, wouldn't it be wise to revisit the whole question of the two term limit?"

I think that the exoconstitutional norm of Presidents serving only two terms was vitally important in the young republic, because it guarded against any tendancies towards authoritarianism that might have raised their heads. If it had remained purely exoconstitutional, I might agree with you that as the republic has matured, the menace that it guards against has acquired new guards, although I would hesitate to do away with it, since the new guards - the expectations, voice, and habits of mind of the people - are a little too sleepy to be trusted to man the gates without supervision. But practice having been formalized into an amendment, I think it should take a very strong argument to revisit that change, as I think all Constitutional change should be considered with great skepticism. It's done very well, and although one can really only say that two of the ratified amendments are failures, I'm skeptical of our ability to improve on it (or our ability to try without detracting from it).

jeff said...

"She'll make total war on anyone who stands in her way on anything. We don't need another power-mad Nixon in the White House."

I don't think she is really a power-mad Nixon. I don't think Nixon was a power-mad Nixon. What she is (and Nixon was) is someone who is pretty damn smart, but BECAUSE she knows she is smarter than most, she knows there is no reason to debate her plan, clearly it is the best one. (no matter what the issue is) I don't necessarily think either of them were/is after power just for the sake of power, but rather because both knew they were the best for the job. And I think both are ok with the ends justifying the means. But I don't think either of them were/are particularly evil. Perhaps both would have been better suited for a advisor's job, rather than leading.

jeff said...

Simon, I agree with you about "I think it should take a very strong argument to revisit that change, as I think all Constitutional change should be considered with great skepticism. "
I wasn't around when the two term amendment was passed, but if I understand it correctly, it was done by pissed Republicans because of Roosevelt. How much thought went into that one? Then again, I wasn't born, so I could be wrong. One of many reasons Washington was the greatest president was his ability to leave office after two terms, after he declined to be king. I don't know if I would have wanted Roosevelt as president, but if the majority of my neighbors did, why not?

Simon said...

Jeff said...
"Simon, I agree with you about 'I think it should take a very strong argument to revisit that change, as I think all Constitutional change should be considered with great skepticism.' I wasn't around when the two term amendment was passed, but if I understand it correctly, it was done by pissed Republicans because of Roosevelt. How much thought went into that one?"

That's my understanding of the motivations for the 22d Amendment, too, but I'm inclined to think that "bad" motives (however defined) can produce good results, or at least, results that are good enough to not be vitiated by the motives that produced them. It seems to me that at least in the abstract, it's hard to imagine a stronger case for a Constitutional amendment than to repudiate the breach of an exoconstitutional practice by formalizing the practice into textual mandate, and that's exactly what happened with Roosevelt and the 22d Amendment.

tom swift said...

I don't believe that Hillary is anywhere near as smart as Nixon. She's only known today because she's married to some guy who used to be president. Without that, she'd be just another anonymous corporate lawyer for Standard Oil or Wal-Mart. The only big bureaucratic project she ever tried to tackle did a crash-'n-burn. Now if she'd been right - if she'd "demonized" her opponents and the bill had passed - that would have marked her as a weasel, but a successful political tactician. As it is, she's just marked as a weasel.

submandave said...

If her failed Hillarycare task force qualifies her to be President, maybe she should appoint John Delorean as Secretary of Treasury on the same principal.

DaveG said...

Well, like I said, I was just sayin', and wasn't really proposing a change.

And to further stir the pot, if the two term limit is good for the Presidential goose, why not for the Senatorial gander? I have to confess, there are a couple of, shall we say, very senior Senators that I believe long over stayed their welcome.

Revenant said...

I've we're going to mess around with the Senate, I'd much rather we simply go back to having them be appointed by the state legislatures instead of being directly elected.

jeff said...

"I don't believe that Hillary is anywhere near as smart as Nixon. She's only known today because she's married to some guy who used to be president."

Hey, I don't like the woman, but she is a very smart woman. You could just as easily say Bill would never had been Gov and two term President had he not been married to her.

I probably disagree with her on nearly every policy, but she ain't dumb.

JohnAnnArbor said...

maybe she should appoint John Delorean as Secretary of Treasury on the same principal.

He's dead, but maybe he can go back to the future.

Bill said...

One big, big advantage of John DeLorean being Secretary of the Treasury is that he's dead.

jeff said...

"One big, big advantage of John DeLorean being Secretary of the Treasury is that he's dead."

Maybe it would start a trend.

Department of Education-Richard M Nixon.

Revenant said...

Hey, I don't like the woman, but she is a very smart woman

What, exactly, is the evidence for this belief? Ok, she went to Yale. That makes her pretty smart, but lots and lots of people -- especially in the US government -- are Ivy Leaguers.

What has Hillary ever done that suggests a particularly high intelligence?

Simon said...

daveg said...
"Well, like I said, I was just sayin', and wasn't really proposing a change. And to further stir the pot, if the two term limit is good for the Presidential goose, why not for the Senatorial gander?"

I've previously suggested Congressional term limits and a change in the operation of the Presidential term limit as part of a broader change aimed at undoing the damange of the other failed Amendment - the one that we have not yet undone. On the other hand, as noted above, I'm skeptical of amending a framework that does, after all, work; moreover, think Frank Easterbrook has raised a good point about the problem with term limits: the "yes minister" syndrome, where in order to compensate for the inexperience of the elected leadership, a permanent bureaucracy develops, whereafter the permanent staff - the ones who really run the country - pat the short-termers on the head and say "yes, minister" before going back to whatever it was they were going to do anyway. In all, I'd be inclined to say that at this point, I lean slightly but ambivalently against term limits, at least to the extent that the only way to enact them is a Constitutional amendment (which, so far as I can see, is clearly the case). My gut instinct is to do what I urged in the proposal linked above, and to be clear, it's not term limits that concern me but the how: amending the Constitution is playing with fire, and I think it should be done with great hesitation and caution if it has to be done at all. That being so, I'd happily throw the term limits component of the proposal to the wolves if that was the price of the component that undoes direct election of Senators.

Simon said...

Re Secretaries DeLorean and Nixon and posthumous appointment, didn't Congress recently - the last twenty years or so, I mean - create a new rank in the army and posthumously commission George Washington to it, for the purpose of ensuring that no soldier can possibly outrank General Washington?

Pogo said...

What has Hillary ever done that suggests a particularly high intelligence?

Does being best friends with benefits with Huma Abedin count?

jeff said...

Oh man, come on. I don't want to defend her about anything.



I guess it would be when I saw her testify about the health care crap back in the early 90's. She didn't use notes or aides whispering in her ear. It was a impressive example of her retaining all sorts of information and responding to questions all over the board with little wait time. You very rarely see that performance in government. OTOH when she got to testify over Whitewater, her impressive memory was gone so I guess that's a wash.

"What has Hillary ever done that suggests a particularly high intelligence?"
It's my hope she turns out to be a very intelligent under achiever.

I think she is intelligent but wrong on everything because she doesn't have the ability to look at a situation from any other perspective than her own.

Simon said...

Pogo, I've gotta tell ya, if it was one of them or the other...

TmjUtah said...

There are no management (nor leadership, nor moral) skills present in anyone who would use the power of the FBI to remove inconvenient employees in order to avoid being labeled as "mean spirited"...

I didn't vote for Clinton. But it was the travel office scandal that cemented my opinion he (they - as a political entity, they are one)was unfit for office.

I think Hillary may be gone before Iowa. She doesn't have a free pass from media; it will never be 1992 again. I keep a microwave popcorn close to hand just in case she melts down. Watching the media run THAT story is going to be five star entertainment of the "who knew?" variety.

jeff said...

"Does being best friends with benefits with Huma Abedin count?"

I finally saw a picture of her. So how are they keeping Bill away?

jeff said...

http://www.fightliberals.com/Inside-the-Book/Liberal-Insult-Generator.html

"godless stem-cell-sucking hippies"

"lying vegan-exalting socialists"


Oh hell. Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop demonizing the opposition.

Fen said...

She doesn't have a free pass from media

That may become true - she and Zogby are trading barbs over his poll that shows her losing to 5 of the GOP candidates.

Cedarford said...

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...

Great. This is the generic thing that could be said about any 1st Lady in the last 30 years. "She had a pass. No one could block her. She could go anywheres because her husband sanctioned it." No different than others from Betty Ford to Laura Bush.

Same could be said of some general's and CEO's wives but somehow they never figure in the sucession plans.

On the argument of her intelligence. Yes, she is certainly smart enough to be President, but anyone who is "very intelligent" like Hillary knows there is a gap between themselves and the truly brilliant as soon as they get into an elite college or professional field.
Bill Clinton is brilliant - he never studied much, missed 3 months of Yale Law, read a classmates notes over a weekend, took exams and got top grades. That is the difference between very smart and brilliant. Nixon was borderline brilliant. Hillary is very smart.

With all her fan base extolling her brain much like they did with Algore despite him flunking out of law and divinity school, or Kerry, who was just "above average" in smarts but elevated to act smarter than he was by breeding and prep school.............there are big problems with verifying both Hillary's smarts, her achievements on her own talents, and her executive experience.

1. She passed Yale Law with her diligent hard work, but failed the DC Bar exam and barely passed the Arkansas one.
2. Her history of early appointments to Commissions and NGO Boards came from feminist backers who were taken with her activism for a variety of liberal causes. She did not get on them from her standout achievements in her early 20s - and later, she kept the ball rolling by pointing out those early appointments as achievements to get on more boards.
3. Her jobs at Arkansas Fayetteville teaching law came through Bill getting hired and wanting a trailing spouse deal that included Hillary. Her job at Rose Law came from Bill's being in high office, with her supposed to get Rose more business from the State using her connections (how Arkansas worked in the past). And how she made full partner at Rose in 2 years without ever stepping in Court.
4. During her time at Fayetteville Law School and Rose...she left little in the way of any paper trail testifying to her brilliant accomplishments. Her academic papers were from the first few years leaving Yale on Child Advocacy, her litigation record is nearly non-existent.
5. Her time as 1st Lady of Arkansas were apparantly devoted to trying to rein Bubba in, and trying to get on as many prestigious Boards as a Governor's wife with clout could get on.
6. The White House years might have some documentation on her executive accomplishments. Others who have been there say the key deciders and policymakers leave a huge paper trail of memos they were on the routing list for, White House secretary's recorded lists of who was at the Deputies and the Principals meetings where major decisions like bombing Bosnia or letting China into the WTO or NAFTA Treaty were hashed out.
If Hillary is telling the truth about her Co-Presidency, all the verification is on the paperwork now under lock and key. (And no, I wouldn't take the word of Clintonistas eager to be back in power or Bubba eager to get around the 22nd Amendment - on her being "right there with Bill and the Principals" on all his major decisions.)
4. She has done well as a Senator, but so have other women that inherited there husband's seat with nothing other than "I know how he would have voted" as a recommendation. The Legislative branch is not at all about management and executive decision-making. Legislatures are great places for people that operate on their gut hunches instead of trying to lead thousands or millions of people..You can have no executive ability and still be a brilliant Senator or Board of Ed member.

J said...

"Ok, she went to Yale. That makes her pretty smart, but lots and lots of people -- especially in the US government -- are Ivy Leaguers"

I learned this lesson at a very, very high cost, so you don't have to: The fact that someone attended an IL university and graduated, even with honors, is no guarantee they aren't dumber than a bag of rocks. It is, in my experience, generally a guarantee that they have an exceptionally good memory. But memory is the ability to retain knowledge; intelligence or "smartness", is the ability to apply it.

David said...

Late that year, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said tactics used by critics of the USA Patriot Act "only aid terrorists" and "give ammunition to America's enemies."

This is a common accusation from the left, but somehow the original source is never linked and the quote is never put in context. Here is the source and here is the context:

In all these ways and more, the Department of Justice has sought to prevent terrorism with reason, careful balance and excruciating attention to detail. Some of our critics, I regret to say, have shown less affection for detail. Their bold declarations of so-called fact have quickly dissolved, upon inspection, into vague conjecture. Charges of "kangaroo courts" and "shredding the Constitution" give new meaning to the term, "the fog of war."

Since lives and liberties depend upon clarity, not obfuscation, and reason, not hyperbole, let me take this opportunity today to be clear: Each action taken by the Department of Justice, as well as the war crimes commissions considered by the President and the Department of Defense, is carefully drawn to target a narrow class of individuals -- terrorists. Our legal powers are targeted at terrorists. Our investigation is focused on terrorists. Our prevention strategy targets the terrorist threat.

Since 1983, the United States government has defined terrorists as those who perpetrate premeditated, politically motivated violence against noncombatant targets. My message to America this morning, then, is this: If you fit this definition of a terrorist, fear the United States, for you will lose your liberty.

We need honest, reasoned debate; not fearmongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.

Fen said...

Ann: 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.

Scrutinzing her experience as First Lady because she's made that the centerpiece of her campaign = swiftboating. :)