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A legacy to forget

By Trevor Bothwell
web posted January 5, 2004

As we find ourselves mere months away from the 2004 presidential election, it will be interesting, if somewhat nauseating, to watch the machinations Sen. Hillary Clinton employs to position herself for the 2008 (or perhaps 2004?) election.

Hillary ClintonQuestioning the amount of time and money needed to rebuild Iraq, Ms. Clinton has already accused the Bush administration of "not [leveling] with the American people." Considering how willing her husband once was to "level" with us as he perjured himself during the Lewinsky trial, this jab should hold about as much water as a thimble.

But alas, the fix is in, and it seems the good senator is poised to recount the majestic days of her previous co-presidency (You'll forgive me for remembering her "We are the president!" slip, no?). What? You want more?

Addressing a Buffalo audience at the Hyatt following the massive blackout in August, Sen. Clinton criticized the Bush tax cuts and reductions to Clinton-era programs such as AmeriCorps and Head Start. While we can always count on a Democrat to sponsor the redistribution of our income -- even as Bush's tax cuts provide a direct boost to the economy -- a little honesty could have been in order. But as columnist Larry Elder has pointed out, President Bush "not only retained the [AmeriCorps] program, he expanded it."

During this same speech, Sen. Clinton said, "We are heading into an uncertain future because this is the most radical, reactionary administration we've ever had in Washington." Forgive me for pointing out the patently obvious, but confronting terrorists on their own turf was a radical idea to both Clintons during the ‘90s; and they most certainly would have perceived it to be "reactionary."

Since roughly half of America is apparently hopelessly unaware that Bill Clinton's failure to respond forcefully to attacks on Americans was in large part responsible for 9-11, this Clinton spin obviously still works in hotel conference rooms in our liberal cities. But if it makes me a "radical" or a "reactionary" to support the toppling of the Taliban, the liberation of Iraqis, and the capture of Saddam Hussein, then I suppose I'm guilty as charged.

Which is why there is no better time to read Rich Lowry's first book, Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years. Lowry offers a blow by blow account of the Clinton presidency, chronicling how Bill Clinton dishonestly took personal credit for creating a vibrant economy; how he willingly risked his presidency to satisfy his own sexual inclinations (but why he would risk it for little else); and, perhaps most important, how Clinton's indecisiveness and lack of moral clarity compromised not only our national security, but also the integrity of the office of the president.

While Legacy is an exciting examination of virtually every aspect of Clinton's terms, one of the book's most integral features concerns the Clinton attack against white males. As Lowry explains, "[T]he fight against white males was carried out through the administration's personnel policies, through its defense and extension of racial quotas, and, above all, through its battle against the traditional culture of the most powerful and respected ‘white male' institution in the country -- the military."

To be sure, Bill Clinton loathed the military. Despite his claims to effecting deficit reduction, Clinton's only significant contribution to a reduced deficit was his $29 billion cut in defense spending. Small wonder then the military loathed him right back. Perhaps the reason liberals were so indignant with Bush's Thanksgiving visit to Baghdad is because our troops no longer have to be reminded that taunting the Commander in Chief when he visits won't be tolerated.

Liberals can't stand the military, or doing anything as gauche as defending the honor of one's country. Hillary is a carbon copy of her husband, albeit perhaps even more dangerous. Whereas Bill made decisions by polling constantly, and at least went with the current tide of popular opinion, Hillary actually believes in the potential of her pernicious socialist views.

Sen. Clinton's current escapade from morning television show to hotel conference hall is a lucid indicator that she is already attempting to restore the failed legacy of her husband, only to serve up the same lousy helping of the old status quo, whenever she decides to run.

Trevor Bothwell is editor of The Right Report and is also a Townhall.com book reviewer. He thought he couldn't stand Bill Clinton during his first seven years -- then he had to go and get his wife elected to the Senate. Trevor can be contacted at bothwell@therightreport.com.

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