Hillary and the truth

Posted: Oct 26, 2000 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON -- What struck your eye when Independent Counsel Robert Ray reported that Hillary Rodham Clinton, contrary to her vows to the public, played a key role in firing seven White House travel office employees back in 1993 and then gave "factually inaccurate" testimony to government investigators? The saga of the travel office firings fascinates me. Almost a year before the rest of the press recognized the injustice The American Spectator, of which I am happily editor in chief, reported that Hillary was behind the firings. The seven White House employees had been summarily thrust into the ranks of the unemployed. One, Billy Dale, had been prosecuted for embezzlement after being smeared by the FBI. All this cruel injustice was visited upon these otherwise ordinary citizens because, as a White House aide's memo quotes Hillary as telling him, "We need those people out. We need our people in." Stonewalling and otherwise obstructing legitimate inquiries, Hillary has lied about her role for seven years (all the while complaining about the inquiries' cost). Remember, she did not have to lie. There had never been anything illegal about replacing the employees. Yet she lied, possibly to escape responsibility for the brutal way the men were treated and the false charges that were made against them. In interviews in the Spectator they described how they were subject to tactics reminiscent of those of a police state. Dale's defense cost him much of his personal savings before the phony charges brought against him were dismissed by a jury in little more than two hours. It took these men years to put their lives back together. So, what struck my eye in reading the reports of the independent counsel's final judgment was not the validation of the Spectator's account of Hillary's role in Travelgate nor her breezy dismissal of Ray's findings. What struck me was the White House's continued defaming of its former employees, years after their exoneration. Instead of making some bland response exploiting Ray's decision not to prosecute Hillary, the White House excreted a statement saying Ray's report "confirms what we have long said: There were financial improprieties in the travel office," blah, blah, blah. Again, does this treatment of innocent private citizens not summon up thoughts of police-state tactics? Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and almost all the rest of the eminences in this incomparable administration have been accused of more lying than any administration in history. Many times they have been caught. Sometimes they have been charged and convicted, for instance with contempt of court, and duly fined. But rarely has it been noted that some of their lies have cost ordinary citizens their good names and even their jobs. Lying can be amusing. It can bring democratic process to confusion. But owing to the power of the federal government, some lies can trample civil rights. Where are the civil libertarians to defend the victims of the Clintons' lies? The only civil libertarians I have seen in action during the Clinton scandals have been those who wax eloquent on the Boy President's right to privacy in conducting sex education classes at the office. In its historic editorial of October 22, The New York Times admirably summed up Hillary's vices when it noted, "The investigative literature of Whitewater and related scandals is replete with evidence that Mrs. Clinton has a lamentable tendency to treat political opponents as enemies. She has clearly been less than truthful in her comments to investigators and too eager to follow President Clinton's method of peddling access for campaign donations. Her fondness for stonewalling in response to legitimate questions about financial or legislative matters contributed to the bad ethical reputation of the Clinton administration." Surprisingly, however, the editorial was not an endorsement of her opponent, but of her. Who says that Tammany Hall is dead? A bully, a liar, a corrupt fundraiser, a stonewaller, that is just the kind of politician New York Democrats of a certain, shall we say "moral toughness" went for in years gone by. In the continuing political career of Hillary it is only a matter of time before cartoonists begin to depict her with a cigar between her thick fingers and a silk top hat cocked back on her head. Hillary is a Tammany Hall pol through and through. And if she stomps on a few innocent citizens, so what? As she might have told the editorialists at the Times, Tammany's new organ, "We need those people out. We need our people in."