Dick Morris and  Eileen McGann

Polls suggest that the leading attribute attracting voters to Hillary's presidential candidacy is her "experience," a virtue which contrasts, presumably, with the lack of it in Senator Barack Obama, her chief rival. But a close examination of her record as first lady and as New York Senator suggests that her experience is largely in the avoidance of death by scandal. Were it to be captured in a television series, it would certainly not rise to the level of "Commander In Chief" and probably not even to that of "West Wing." It would find its televised metaphor in the reality series "Survivor."

Consider what her experience has been. She burst forth on the national stage with two tasks in her husband’s administration: The selection of the nation’s first female Attorney General and the design and adoption of a comprehensive program of health care reform. Her efforts to designate an Attorney General hamstrung the new Administration for months as two nominees, in succession, had to withdraw their names from consideration. Finally, at the eleventh hour, she urged her husband to appoint Florida’s Janet Reno, a selection Bill Clinton would come to describe as “my worst mistake.”

In the bargain, she suggested the appointment of Lani Guanier as head of the civil rights division, a job she was shortly forced to relinquish when her radical views became known, another embarrassment for the new Administration. Her other selections for the Justice Department, the White House staff and the Treasury were her three law partners: Web Hubbell, Vince Foster, and William Kennedy, appointments which culminated in one imprisonment, one suicide, and one forced resignation.

Her other assignment, health care reform, collapsed in such a debacle that it cost her party control of both houses of Congress, a fate from which it took twelve years to recover.

Beyond these initial tasks, her main focus in the Administration was scandal defense. From Jennifer Flowers to Whitewater to the FBI file affair to the travel office firings to her Commodities Market winnings to the missing Rose Law Firm billing records to the Paula Jones scandal, she orchestrated the Administration's defense against scandal allegations. In the process, she almost got herself indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice.


Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Dick Morris, a former political adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill Clinton, is the author of 2010: Take Back America. To get all of Dick Morris’s and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by email, go to www.dickmorris.com
 


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