Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review May 31, 2002 / 20 Sivan, 5762

Diana West

Diana West
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Hillary's war | If there ever was a time for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) to avoid a big rendezvous with destiny, it was earlier this month. But no. There she was, picking up a frothing static of media reports suggesting President Bush had prior, perhaps actionable, knowledge of Sept. 11. Vague murmurings of "gotcha" filled in the air, growing more insistent, if not more distinct. Something was going to happen, but what? Rather than demand more intelligence, or just sit out the next news-cycle, Clinton decided to launch a strike from the Senate floor at George W. Bush's approval ratings.

Oops, she missed. While the "What did the president know and when did he know it" crowd, including House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), has since retreated into sanctimonious protestations of good will and non-partisan intent, Clinton has just retreated. The very public point-gal behind Democratic efforts to finesse questions about intelligence failures into political mileage has piped down.

"I am only seeking answers," she said before she clammed up, parrying the thrust of Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer's pointed expression of displeasure at her call for multiple investigations into the pre-Sept. 11 White House. (But probably not so "pre" as to include the Clinton years.) "Nobody is more entitled to answers to some of these questions than the people of New York," she said. "We have a responsibility to ask."

Sure we do. But was Clinton only "seeking answers"? If so, she could have been more imaginative in her questioning, which aimed exclusively at President Bush -- not at the intelligence agencies that bottled up urgent information; the rules that outlawed vital surveillance of suspected terrorists; or the congressional committees that saw some of the same intelligence as the White House. Clinton took her grand Senate stand, armed with last Thursday's New York Post (headline: "Bush Knew") to turn up the heat on an expedient notion of malfeasance. "The President knew what?" she asked. "My constituents would like to know the answers to these questions. Not to blame the president or any American. But just to know."

Right. While eager to express the ennobling grief of New York, Clinton very obviously kept her sights on the president, and the Democratically delicious implication that he was actually hiding something. All in all, not a pretty sight.

At the same time, Clinton decided to reminisce about the Clinton White House, probably intending to pad her Bush-barbs with some old-time empathy: "I know some things about the unique challenges faced by the person who assumes the mantle of Commander in Chief ... " That statement reminded us about the administration that for eight years failed to respond to terrorist acts of war against the United States, from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 to the assault on the USS Cole in 2000. Even tightening airport security and immigration would have been nice. Too bad we weren't paying attention to national security, and not just the economy (stupid), all along.

Fear not. Clinton recently announced in a little-reported speech cited by that national security is now America's new, No. 1 national priority. Which just goes to show they don't call her the smartest woman on pumps for nothing.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


05/29/02: Have you forgotten we're at war?
05/24/02: An antiquated luxury of the past
05/21/02: From terrorists to tourists
05/19/02: Hate U.
05/07/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
05/03/02: Pioneering television
05/01/02: Western self-loathing numbs us to violence
04/29/02: It's the misconduct, stupid
04/24/02: Medal of diss-honor
04/17/02: Holy sanctuary or terrorist shield?
04/12/02: Egyptian clerics solicit martyrs for murder
04/09/02: Defining terrorism down
04/05/02: The Wilder life
04/02/02: Acting, equality and the Academy
03/31/02: Speeding to conclusions
03/25/02: Hard to remove blood (libel) stains
03/21/02: The tale of Nixon's tapes --- again
03/19/02: The Big Lie lives on
03/15/02: The tunnel vision of '9/11'
03/13/02: The American Auschwitz?
03/08/02: Hating the indoctrination of hate
03/05/02: Clinton and Enron: Old friends
03/01/02: Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does
02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West