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Bill Clinton roughed up another woman last week, but the hype
surrounding the release of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s
long-awaited report on impeachable offenses obscured the incident.
This time, the woman was one of Hillary’s best friends — and a
Cabinet member to boot.
According to reports from inside Clinton’s first Cabinet meeting in
nearly eight months (that’s right, eight months — it’s worth repeating
for those of you who still believe Clinton has actually been “doing the
work of the country”) the president dressed down, rebuked and lowered
the boom on Donna Shalala, his secretary of Health and Human Services.
For what? For actually having the audacity to question him about his
lying, perjuring, adulterous and juvenile behavior — that’s what.
After listening patiently to his latest sniveling, insincere apology,
Shalala asked Clinton if he considered his policies and programs more
important than whether he provided moral leadership and an example of
honesty and integrity.
“I can’t believe that is what you’re telling us, that is what you
believe, that you don’t have an obligation to provide moral leadership,”
she said, according to one participant in the meeting. “She said
something like, ‘I don’t care about the lying, but I’m appalled at the
That’s when Clinton did what he does best — he belittled the
“He whacked her,” said the source. “He let her have it.”
He sputtered that if her logic had prevailed in 1960, Richard M.
Nixon would have been elected instead of John F. Kennedy. That shut up
Shalala and every other Cabinet member in the room.
I think this incident warrants a little more scrutiny, analysis and
contemplation. What does it mean? What does it say about Clinton, his
inner circle and his chief defenders?
First of all, let’s remember who Shalala is. She’s a true believer —
a total leftist ideologue, like her friend Hillary. Clinton, for all of
his faults — which are legion — is not. In fact, he does not really
believe in much of anything other than his own ambition and, well,
Having once been a dupe of the left myself, I understand where
Shalala was coming from. I’ve witnessed many such encounters among the
politically correct crowd going back to the ’60s. She was confronting
Clinton and explaining that he was, through his personal and sexual
recklessness, jeopardizing “the cause.” The cause, to the
Shalala-Hillary axis, is far more important than the man.
Shalala, keep in mind, is no pious prude. She’s a feminist. She
believes little kids should be given condoms in school and instructed in
the fine art of sexual intercourse. She defends teaching that
homosexuality is normal and acceptable as an alternative lifestyle. Like
Hillary, she thinks it takes a village to raise kids, not families.
But she also understands the sexual revolution she has advocated
throughout her adult life is not complete. There are a lot of rubes out
there in America who still believe in those antiquated, archaic notions
of fidelity and marriage. They need to be led down the road to hell
slowly, carefully, the Shalalas of the world believe. Like most
feminists, she’s also repulsed by images of powerful men using their
position to seek out sexual gratification from employees. When
Republicans do it, they call it “sexual harassment.”
This is where Shalala was coming from — not to mention, perhaps, the
sisterly kinship she shares with Hillary, who must be more than a little
humiliated by Bill’s compulsive, serial adultery.
But what about Clinton’s response? This has to be, at face value, one
of the oddest non sequiturs of his presidency. What does it mean?
Clinton isn’t involved in an election. Why the comparison with Kennedy
Though Clinton is no committed leftist, he’s a master at manipulating
the left — speaking the language of the left, appeasing the left as a
way to achieve his own personal goals of empowerment. He understands
that true believers like Shalala and Hillary see life as a constant
struggle toward the goal of global socialism. To such ardent social
engineers, the cause is waged every day — not just on election days.
What Clinton was saying, then, is: “If I go, the evil right-wingers
win. The progressive cause loses.”
He played the Nixon card. For left-wingers who lived through the
Nixon years, his ghost still represents a frightful apparition. They’ll
never stop knocking Nixon, or Reagan. And, of course, by comparing
himself with Kennedy, another sexually reckless president, Clinton put
everything in perspective for his inner circle.
It’s us vs. them, he explained. Time to pull together for the cause.
That’s how Clinton beat up Shalala. And it’s an insight into how he
plans to rally the troops for his own personal Armageddon.