WASHINGTON -- This week, it was reported in the authoritative Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, that Don Van Natta Jr. and Jeff Gerth included some unsavory news about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in "Her Way," their recent book about her. Hillary, during the 1992 presidential campaign, "listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics." Washington observers appeared shocked. Mein Gott, where have they been all these years? The Clintons have engaged in brute behavior for decades, much of it a matter of record. The Hill's report moves me to list seven issues every American should know about the Clintons before 2008. Journalists should be particularly interested, as well as Democrats intent on avoiding a repeat of the Clinton 1990s.
1. Every Clinton scandal of the 1990s had a precedent in the Clinton governorship of the 1980s in Arkansas. Just as the Clintons abused the presidential pardon power when they left the White House and took property that was not their own, so did they abuse the pardon power and pilfer from the governor's mansion upon leaving it in 1981. Just as they have been caught taking money from the shadowy Norman Hsu this year and from other dubious Asian figures in the 1990s, so too were their 1980s campaigns marked by financial irregularities. The first Asian donors entered their political lives in 1986, with the Chinese-Indonesian Riady family. In 2001, the Riadys paid more than $8 million in Federal Election Commission fines for their munificence in the 1990s. Hsu's donations are of a piece with what might be called the Clintons' "Chop Suey Connection." The Clintons dismiss all this as old news, but that is only because they are what law enforcement officials call repeat offenders.
Even Hillary's health care fiasco of 1993-94 had a precedent in her statewide education reform in Arkansas that left Arkansas still at the bottom of the heap in national education ratings.