By David Bozeman
Trying to convince the electorate that Hillary and Bill Clinton are corrupt is as futile an effort as selling the public on VHS tapes. Everyone, even Democrats, know that the Clintons are, shall we say — ethically challenged. Too many just don’t care. Perhaps undecided voters can be swayed by the fact that the Clintons possess neither the character nor the class we typically expect from our national leaders.
Simply, never has so much duplicity been wasted on such cunning, cheap-jack important people wannabaes. Richard Nixon could at least claim that he loved his country. Bill and Hillary crave power for adulation, money and lots of stuff.
Democrats to this day titter at the supposed trailer-trash aura of Sarah Palin. Well, Sarah Palin, swilling a two-liter Mountain Dew, hawking NRA tote bags out of an El Camino at a Wasilla strip mall is still the dowager of Downton Abbey compared to Hillary Clinton and her low-rent aspirations. Consider the following:
The must-read book of this campaign is “The Final Days” by Barbara Olson (the one-time federal prosecutor was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks). Olson details the waning days of the Bill Clinton presidency — the pardons for sale, the shameless solicitation of money and gifts from Lear-jet liberals, and the pillaging of the White House on their way out the door. Mrs. Clinton, who claims that she and her husband were in dire financial straits upon leaving the White House in 2001, actually registered at numerous luxury retailers to furnish her new home. Furthermore, she was a US senator-elect and had just received an $8 million advance for her soon-to-be published memoirs.
Director Steven Spielberg gave her fine china worth almost $5,000, as did actor Ted Danson. Gifts from less famous donors included a glass sculpture worth $22,000, a $1,350 cashmere sweater, thousands of dollars’ worth of golf equipment, a single set of dinnerware worth almost $5000 — and the list goes on and on and on.
How does such wanton materialism, exhibited throughout the 90’s, jibe with the persona of two middle class intellects who forfeited wealth for public service? In the words of White House advisor George Stephanapolous (now an ABC News “journalist”), “We learned that maintaining a slightly regal aura in office is as effective as the populist touch during a campaign.” Always thinking of the little people.
Most infamously, the Clintons received gifts from Denise Rich, the ex-wife of tax cheat and international fugitive Marc Rich. Finally, not even liberals had the stomach to continue defending the Clintons. Margaret Carlson of Time noted that the gifts raised questions of a quid pro quo since President Clinton offered Marc Rich a pardon that was “utterly without justification.” The Rich pardon provoked universal outrage that triggered congressional hearings. “Pardongate,” as it came to be known, benefitted not just Rich but numerous other shady individuals and organizations.
Now all but forgotten, Bill Clinton granted controversial pardons to members of the Marxist Puerto Rican group Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN). The group, which sought to sever Puerto Rico’s ties with the U.S., was responsible for more than a hundred bombing attacks in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s, killing six and wounding dozens of others. Despite overwhelming opposition from law enforcement (including the FBI director and the attorney general) and numerous other high ranking government officials, Clinton granted clemency to fourteen FALN members in 1999. No one could ignore that the Clintons were trying to curry favor with New York’s large Puerto Rican population in anticipation of her Senate run. Such gutter-level pandering is an insult to the vast majority of law-abiding Puerto Ricans, but, alas, she won handily, banking, as always, on large dollar amounts and the short memories of the voting public.
And who can forget the looting of the White House? Clinton aide and confidant Dick Morris has laid bare the Clintons’ zealous pursuit of material wealth. Their cattle-futures trading and Whitewater investments were standard get-rich-quick schemes that profited from someone else’s losses. I thought she and Elizabeth Warren were above the more ruthless practices of capitalism. And remember, this is the family that donated used underwear for tax deductions.
Numerous gifts donated to the White House (and not the Clintons personally) were taken, though, admittedly, some items were returned. Still, no one can say with any certainty what the Clintons got away with. Again, even liberals found themselves speechless. Olson offers one of columnist George Will’s best quotes: “I love liberals. They put up with this guy through perjury, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice… He steals the toaster and they say, ‘That’s it. We’ve had it with this guy.’”
And let us not forget the White House vandalism. According to the General Accounting Office (as reported by The New York Times and other sources), staffers loyal to the Clintons committed acts of vandalism costing taxpayers over $10,000. Among other low-jinks, W’s were removed from keyboards, a jab at incoming president George W. Bush — get it? How’s that for a knee-slapper? Also, profane messages were left, and cables and phone lines were cut. Though not the work of Bill and Hillary personally, it speaks to a culture of klass with a capital K.
Between now and November much will be written to prove that the Clintons are either socialists or felons or both. Certainly there are compelling arguments for either case. But their overriding goal is their own advancement. Someone once said that two kinds of people enter politics: those who want to do important things and those who want to be important people. Bill and Hillary are not even snobs — they are posers.
Many great liberals fight for their cause with passion, integrity and intellect. Invite Bill and Hillary over for the evening and they might make an impassioned case. Just count the silverware before they leave.
David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicate writer.