Bill and Hillary's secret

Posted: Dec 27, 2002 12:00 AM
This year, the left has gone cuckoo over the vast right-wing conspiracy. Some have accused Republicans of having sabotaged Sen. Paul Wellstone's plane. More mainstream liberals believe President Bush knew that Sept. 11 would occur, but let it happen in order to justify attacking Afghanistan and building an oil pipeline. Left-wingers across the board have accused Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and other conservative media of waging a concerted campaign to spur violence against liberals. But there is one conspiracy the American left has either missed or ignored. It is the only conspiracy that could truly undermine the agenda of the Democrats over the next six years. That conspiracy seems to be the brainchild of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Their plan seems simple enough. With Hillary as the leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, the field must be made clear -- which means that the Clintons are praying for a Bush win in 2004 and Republican gains in the House and Senate. Then, when Bush's two terms are up, Hillary can resurrect the party and win the day for the Democrats. The Clintons are shrewd politicians. They know that if the political pendulum swings far to the right over the next six years, it will inevitably swing back to the left in 2008. With the midterm elections in November going Republican and the pendulum swinging right, the Clintons can make their move now. The plan would be to undercut the left, push the pendulum even further right, and hope for a swing all the way back to Hillary in six years. Take, for instance, Al Gore's decision not to run in 2004. With his popularity plummeting, Gore's withdrawal signaled the rise of a new guard within the Democratic Party: John Kerry, John Edwards, Howard Dean and Joseph Lieberman. These fresh faces were seen by party insiders as candidates who could energize the base -- but if they run in 2004, they'll be peaking far too early. Just about every political pundit in Washington sees 2004 as a walk-away election for Bush. These new candidates were perceived as the liberal hopes in 2008, while Al Gore was designated the sacrificial lamb in 2004. So why would the political leaders of the Democratic National Committee be so happy about Gore dropping out? The Clintons pushed Al Gore out the door to give all the New Democrats the opportunity to wipe each other off the map in the 2004 election, opening the road to 2008. What about a comeback by Gore in 2008? For some strange reason, after he dropped out of the 2004 race, Gore was joking about 2016, not 2008, as the target date for his political revival ("Gore at peace with decision not to run,", Dec. 16, 2002). Indications seem to be that the Clintons pushed hard against a Gore in '04 campaign. Bill Clinton's statement about Gore dropping out had all the hallmarks of a Clinton hit: "He would have been a fine president had history taken a different course two years ago." But it didn't, the statement implies by exclusion -- so we'll drop him like a hot potato. Hillary also got in her shots. Appearing on Chris Matthews' "Hardball" on Nov. 20, Sen. Clinton refused five separate opportunities to endorse Al Gore's campaign; instead, she continued to evade Matthews' questions regarding a possible Gore candidacy. Another example of Clinton sabotage: the Trent Lott debacle. Democrats were set to gain major points in black and northern urban demographics. Then, the Clintons quashed Democratic hopes for a big political score. With one broad stroke, Hillary and Bill ripped away the Democratic facade of righteous indignation about Lott and revealed liberal anger to be nothing but political calculation. First, Bill said it was "pretty hypocritical" of Republicans to pressure Lott into resigning his leadership role, since Lott "just embarrassed them by saying in Washington what they do on the back roads every day." Simultaneously, Hillary echoed him, saying that Republicans were hypocrites since all Lott did "was state publicly what many of them have stated privately over many years in the back roads and back streets of the South." It was a brutally unsubtle political move, one far too rough for the politically adept Clintons. It's very unlikely this was a stumble -- its effect fits right into the Clintons' plan. They squelched Democratic gains, knowing that if the Democratic Party evened the tables too early, 2008 might be too late for Hillary. The Clintons value power above all; policy and party must take a back seat. It is their ruthless desire for power that could make Bill and Hillary secret allies of the Republicans until 2008.