In the ‘90s, Judicial Watch, an organization that seeks to hold Democrats and Republicans accountable to the law, pursued members of the Clinton administration. Larry Klayman, the organization’s founder, filed several lawsuits to expose alleged cover-ups in Commerce Department trade missions and the suicide of White House aide Vincent Foster. When George W. Bush became president, Klayman demonstrated that he could also go after Republicans. In 2002, he sued the Bush administration in an unsuccessful attempt to gain access to documents and information about Vice President Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force.
Now the self-described “public interest group” may have come up with its biggest find of all (so far). It has obtained records from the Clinton Presidential Library that reveal the internal workings and attitudes of people associated with Hillary Clinton’s National Taskforce on Health Care Reform. These documents penetrate Clinton’s carefully crafted personae, expose her true character and suggest what she and her Democratic allies would impose on the nation, if given the power. The documents could — and should — have an impact on her presidential candidacy.
According to Judicial Watch, a June 18, 1993 internal memorandum entitled “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials “P.S.,” acknowledges that critics were correct when they questioned whether the plan would work. “I can think of parallels in wartime,” wrote “P.S.”, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy. … Is the public really ready for this? ... None of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all…”
Had a majority Democratic Congress and a sophisticated “Harry and Louise” television campaign not stopped her, we would now know the answer to that question, with potential catastrophic results for America’s health care system.
Seeking to impose an unworkable plan on an unsuspecting public was bad enough, but the pain Hillarycare supporters were prepared to inflict on opponents demonstrates insensitivity in the extreme. A “confidential” memorandum written on May 26, 1993 by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, to Hillary Clinton was entitled “Health Care Reform Communications.” The Rockefeller memo suggests Hillary employ “classic opposition research” to attack critics who were excluded by the administration from Task Force deliberations and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists” to counter and overcome criticism. Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance (from the Clinton administration) on how to time and shape the (news) coverage.” Rockefeller seems to accept the notion asserted for years by conservatives that the mainstream media are biased in favor of Democrats and their policies. For many, this will not be a revelation.
A Feb. 5, 1993 Draft Memorandum from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux to Mrs. Clinton spells out the Office of Public Liaison’s plan for the health care reform campaign. It notes the development of an “interest group data base” detailing whether or not organizations “support(ed) us in the election.” The database would also track personal information about interest group leaders, such as their home phone numbers, addresses, “biographies, analysis of credibility in the media, and known relationships with Congress people.”
These memos (there are thousands of others still being withheld by the Clintons) are Orwellian, or Nixonian. They reveal what might be expected from communist or fascist dictatorships, not from U.S. government officials. That at least one higher-up (“P.S.”) didn’t believe the health care plan would work, did not stop the administration from pushing ahead with it. If opponents had not prevailed we might be standing in line for health care like they are in Canada and Britain.
That Hillary Clinton, Jay Rockefeller and some of their fellow liberal Democrats would plot to destroy the reputations of people who opposed them over a public policy matter tells voters all they need to know about her and about her team’s tactics and objectives should she become president.
It is to describe such attitudes and behavior that the word “hubris” was coined. It means, “Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance.” Hillary Clinton’s picture should go next to it.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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