The Case Against Hillary Clinton

The Case Against Hillary Clinton

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by Peggy Noonan
     
 

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As the long, scandal-ridden trial of the Clinton years comes to an end--and as the first lady mounts her own campaign for independent political office--it is time for a summation. What is the legacy of Clintonism? What is there in Hillary Clinton's background, talents, or record of achievement that qualifies her to represent New York in the U.S. Senate? And, most

Overview

As the long, scandal-ridden trial of the Clinton years comes to an end--and as the first lady mounts her own campaign for independent political office--it is time for a summation. What is the legacy of Clintonism? What is there in Hillary Clinton's background, talents, or record of achievement that qualifies her to represent New York in the U.S. Senate? And, most important, what will happen if Hillary should win this fall? Where will her ambition lead her next?

Peggy Noonan, one of our most astute political observers and a speechwriter for the Reagan White House, argues in this passionate and compelling book that everyone in the United States--not just New Yorkers--must look closely at Hillary and the implications of her Senate bid. The Case Against Hillary Clinton offers an eye-opening assessment of the scandals, and failures of the Clinton years, from Whitewater to health care to the Filegate and Travelgate affairs--casting a revealing light on the first lady's motives and behavior. It poses searching questions about the difference between the citizens of New York and the Clintons of Arkansas; between public service and lip service; between the whole truth and the shameless parade of evasion and spin the first couple has marshaled throughout their White House years. And finally, in these pages Noonan calls on us to consider the climate of deception and disgrace the Clintons have left in their wake--weakening our nation's moral standing and damaging our political process in ways that will take years to heal.

Never before has the character of a first lady been so integral to the fate of a presidential administration and no writer before Peggy Noonan has had the courage to offer so uncompromising an estimation of Hillary Clinton as the one contained in this book. The Case Against Hillary Clinton takes the measure of the woman, the candidate, the striving politician--and offers a convincing argument that her calculated bid for power will be the first truly important election of the new millennium.

I thought, seven years ago, that the Clintons might turn out to be inspiring. They had guts, came from nowhere, were bright and hard-driving; he was educated, credentialed, a political moderate but not a boring one; she appeared to be something new and interesting, a modern woman who operated with confidence in all the circles of the world.... Hillary could have been a strong and encouraging presence, maybe continuing to work in the world as a lawyer, as Cherie Blair has in Great Britain--a judge, working mother, and "first lady" who is everywhere a figure of respect.

What a presidency this would have been. What a legacy they would have left .

What did the Clintons do with their two administrations? They left behind a country more damaged, more removed from its old, rough idealism; a country whose children live in a coarser and more dangerous place; a country whose political life has been distorted and lowered.... And for this reason, for all of these reasons, Clintonism should not be allowed to continue.

And if it is not to continue, the next great battle may prove to be the decisive one, and that is the battle of New York.

-- From The Case Against Hillary Clinton

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062030276
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/07/2010
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
146,671
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I


There are moments when I am still amazed that a first lady of the United States is scaling down her role, in her words, to run for the U.S. Senate. I don't know why I'm surprised—we've all gotten used to the Clintons' dramas, to all the twists and turns on the hair-raising ride. But the idea that she would abandon her position, which is really a job, and an elevated one, and start hopping on government planes to come to my state and tell me what we need . . .

When, a year ago now, it became clear that she was going to run in New York I sat back in wonder, like everyone else.

I thought: For her to say to a state that she had no connection to, no history with, no previously demonstrated interest in—for her to say to a state whose greatest city she has used for seven years as her own personal cash machine, tying up traffic and inconveniencing millions as she trolls, relentlessly, for campaign money—for her to say to this place full of gifted residents that she deserves to be its. senator is an act of such mad boomer selfishness and narcissism that even from the Clintons it was a thing of utter and breathtaking gall.

And then there came the moment when I realized: They're never going to leave. Other presidents and first ladies do their work, leave their imprint, and make a graceful exit, departing the stage and attempting to become, if they were not already, wise, high-minded, and fair. But the Clintons—they'll stay until the last footlight fizzles and pops, and then we'll have to wrestle them to the floor of the stage.

I called afriend, a great liberal of the city, a Democrat of forty years, and caught her mid-sputter. "To think of all they've put us through—and now they won't even go away. Who are these people, and why do they think they are necessary to us?" Another, a journalist and Democrat, e-mailed from work when I asked her reaction. "This is how I feel: Lady, keep your hands off my state."

And they are Mrs. Clinton's base.

I was wonderfully angry those first few days, in the spring of '99. 1 asked everyone I bumped into what they thought, and no one assumed Mrs. Clinton's motives were elevated; there were no choruses of "She is concerned about us" or "She wants help." Conservatives said she was launching her candidacy to fill the vacuum in her life with our money and our freedom; liberals that she needs therapy after years with that brute, and New York makes a good couch; moderates assumed she needs a place to hang her hat while she ponders her next move.

 

But then I experienced what everyone experiences with a Clinton story. Within forty-eight hours I had absorbed the new reality and was calculating her prospects and imagining her strategy. It was now all . . . just a fact to me. Not an outrage, just a fact.

We have learned to absorb the Clintons and their many shocks; they have taught us to absorb the brazen, to factor it in and in time discount it. And I suspect they are fully aware of this, that they have learned a number of things in their life in politics, but one of the biggest is this: They can do anything. They are used to the tumbling rhythms of public acceptance: the gasps of shock, followed by the edgy discussion on Hardball followed by the earnest discussion on Wolf Blitzer followed by the enthusiastic discussion on Geraldo. The Clintons watch the news wheel turn, grinding down the pebbles in their path: Let 'em yell, let 'em send their anger into the air, where it dissipates. When they're done talking I'll still be here.

There is, always, something admirable in such human toughness. But never has the admirable been so fully wedded to the appalling, never in modern American political history has such tenacity and determination been marshaled to achieve such puny purpose: the mere continuance of Them. Would that they had marshaled their resources to help somebody or something else—their country, the poor, the national defense.

II

And of course she may well win. Republicans hope that in the rigors of the campaign her essential nature will emerge and, in the words of Grover Norquist, the soul of an East German border guard will pop out. They think her inner prison matron will escape and start disciplining the people on the rope line—No pictures here, buddy, can't you see the sign? But I've seen her work rooms large and small, seen her on the campaign trail, and she will be a pro, articulate, smooth, and smiling. Babies laugh in her arms.

She is a star, and New York likes stars. She will have the passionate support of the unions and interest groups, and New York has unions and interest groups in abundance. She has a human shield in the Secret Service, a twelve-foot cordon of safety, and won't be as exposed as other candidates. She'll raise a lot of money with ease, especially money outside New York, and won't even have to spend it like other candidates because she'll put every cost she can on the public dime. "Mrs. Clinton says she doesn't want to fly on a government plane, but the Secret Service insists." "Mrs. Clinton says she didn't want the pool, but the Secret Service insists." "Mrs. Clinton says she doesn't like the Chanel body moisturizer, but the Secret Service insists."

There are those who say she isn't tough enough, that she's used to being treated like a queen and handled with kid gloves; she won't know how to put a game face on. But a game face is what she's been wearing for years, and she is plenty tough enough. One example speaks for many: In the 1990 Arkansas gubernatorial campaign she humiliated her husband's . . .

Meet the Author

Peggy Noonan is the best-selling author of seven books on American politics, history, and culture. Her essays have appeared in Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and other publications. She lives in New York City.

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