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Jewish World Review Oct. 20, 1999 /10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5760

David Corn

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What Is It About Hillary? -- CALL IT the Attack of the Blonde Republicans. In the next few months, Barbara Olson, Laura Ingraham and Peggy Noonan will be releasing books on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Olson, a former Capitol Hill aide who became an on-air Clinton-basher during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has written Hell To Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton, which is being published by Regnery, a conservative house that most recently brought us Pat Buchanan’s soft-on-Hitler-before-1941 tract.

Olson’s book jacket promises a depiction of “the real Hillary Clinton—a woman whose lust for power surpasses even that of her husband.” (Past law firm and congressional colleagues of Olson note that the author is a woman not unfamiliar with such lust.) Ingraham is crashing on The Hillary Trap: Looking for Power in All the Right Places, which she says is a portrait, not a biography, showing HRC as “a symbol of where women are today, of the conflicts that animate women’s lives on a professional and personal level.” Hillary as Everywoman? As if being the yuppie-helpmate to a scoundrel pol is emblematic of anything.

Noonan, the former Reagan and Bush speechwriter, is producing The Case Against Hillary Clinton. Noonan’s editor at the Judith Regan imprint of HarperCollins told The Washington Post, “It’s not a biography or journalistic piece, per se. She looks at the record and raises a lot of serious questions.” No answers? Haven’t all the serious questions about Lady Clinton already been raised?

Other Hillary books are growing within the computers of biographer/amateur shrink Gail Sheehy and former Watergate muckster Carl Bernstein. But the Olson, Ingraham and Noonan volumes are likely to continue the right’s vendetta against the First Victim. Regular readers know this column is not friendly turf for Hillary Clinton. My wish is that she and her costar in our national soap opera depart the stage in January 2001. Still, even as a non-apologist for Hillary, I cannot fathom the obsession and hatred that the conservatives have for the woman. In right-wing circles she is scorned as a closet commie who is the real power behind Clinton, an idealistic and ideological radical in the wings, waiting for the moment when she can grab power and impose Mao-like social engineering schemes upon the citizenry.

Where’s the evidence? She has been as pragmatic—to be polite about it—as her husband. When she had her chance to create a comprehensive health care plan, she devised a Rube Goldberg program designed foremost not to alienate or antagonize the business community. Can’t pass a plan in Congress if the business lobbyists are against it, her aides repeatedly told people throughout Washington. It didn’t work. No one could understand her proposal, and corporate America still shot her the finger. Hillary stood by her man as he signed the GOP’s welfare bill, broke with labor on NAFTA, did little regarding global warming and engaged in campaign fundraising that defied good taste and decency, as well as the spirit of campaign finance reform law. She reenlisted consultant Dick Morris—the anti-idealist—for the Clinton cause after the Republicans dethroned the Democrats in Congress in 1994. Her pre-White House endeavors at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, her involvement in the Whitewater deal and her suspicious $100,000-from-$1000 commodities deal illustrate she is no profit-averse lefty antipathetic to the market and free enterprise.

Even when the truth emerged about Bill’s internphilia, Hillary was not a gung ho defender. She not-too-subtly advertised her distance. So far, in her all-but-announced Senate campaign, she has separated herself from Bill by denouncing the clemency offer for the jailed Puerto Rican nationalists, by declaring her support for Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and by urging more federal funds for teaching hospitals in New York. These are not the positions of a wild-eyed, ideologically rigid leftist.

Hillary has shown as much flexibility as her partner. Yet many on the right still picture her as a closet revolutionary coming for your children. There is something about HRC that drives conservatives crazy—which is almost a reason to toss a contribution into her carpetbag.

JWR contributor David Corn, Washington Editor of The Nation, writes the "Loyal Opposition" column for The New York Press.

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