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There’s one positive thing about the Clinton presidency.
He really hasn’t done much governing.
Oh, he plays golf. He attends fund-raisers. He travels to
foreign countries. He dispatches troops to every corner of
the world to serve as global policemen. He makes speeches.
He signs executive orders, issues presidential decision
directives. He makes proclamations. He reads polls. And, of
course, he hustles women — constantly. But for a guy who
frquently talks about “getting back to work for the country,”
he really doesn’t do much — at least not in the traditional
sense of the presidency.
Earlier this month we learned that he hadn’t convened a
Cabinet meeting for the previous seven months. That’s
right. Seven months.
I was shocked. I’m still amazed that not one press outlet in
the country saw that as significantly newsworthy. No
stories have been filed about his absentee presidency. But
that’s exactly what it is. He truly is dysfunctional in more
ways than one.
Can you imagine if President Reagan had gone seven
months without holding a Cabinet meeting? We know he
held them regularly because of all the stories about him
dozing off during the sessions.
How can a president carry out an agenda without regular
meetings with Cabinet-level department heads? These are
the people who are charged with taking the directives from
their leader and executing them. Clinton spends far more
time with his lawyers, fighting off impeachment threats
and lawsuits, than with his top-level officials.
Former Central Intelligence Agency Director James
Woolsey recently told the London Telegraph that, during
his two years in the administration, he managed to secure
only two conversations with Clinton. Two conversations —
not meetings. So, this style of management — or
non-management — is nothing new for Clinton. This is the
way he has carried out his responsibilities from day one.
Again, for this we should be grateful. Because if Clinton
were an effective administrator, we would all be in much
deeper trouble today than we are — and we are in plenty as
Think about it. Clinton had far more “meetings” with his
intern, Monica Lewinsky, than he did with his CIA
director. Once again, while it’s shameful, disgusting,
immoral, disgraceful and embarrassing, in a way, it’s also
fortunate. Can you imagine the kind of mischief this
president could create for our nation had he met more
frequently with his CIA chief? His FBI director? His Health
and Human Services secretary? His Education secretary?
It’s frightening to think about.
Nevertheless, without the accountability those Cabinet
meetings require, Clinton’s department heads are left to
make policy, create regulations, enforce laws and generally
terrorize the population on their own initiative. This is not
good, either. And it’s one more reason — as if we needed
one — that Clinton has to go.
Evidently, Clinton doesn’t trust his Cabinet. He prefers to
meet with members individually rather than collectively.
It’s no wonder. When the Cabinet did convene earlier this
month, the public was treated to a blow-by-blow description
of a confrontation he had with Donna Shalala.
But that’s one of the healthy aspects of Cabinet meetings.
The more people involved in governing the country, the
more likelihood there is that the American people will
find out what the rascals are doing to us. Clinton prefers
secrecy. He prefers governing by edict.
This is further evidence that Clinton has actually created a
whole new system of government, subverting the
Constitution, bypassing the process of checks and balances
and turning over the executive branch to a shadow regime
of attorneys, pollsters, media spinmeisters, corporate
hucksters and Arkansas political cronies.
That’s Clinton’s real Cabinet. Let me give you a couple of
examples. Janet Reno has never really been the attorney
general. In the beginning, Webster Hubbell, technically the
No. 3 person in the Justice Department, was the actual
liaison with the president. Clinton’s first choice for Defense
secretary was Bernard Schwartz of the Loral Corp. When it
was clear that appointment would never fly, Schwartz still
got all he wanted from the administration — all the waivers
he needed to allow his company to go into business with
the Chinese government, sharing technological secrets that
threatened the national security of the United States.
Warren Christopher was never really the secretary of State.
He was a puppet, a figurehead. Strobe Talbot was the real
So who needs Cabinet meetings? They require messy
details like the taking of minutes, official records, press
conferences. The shadow Cabinet, on the other hand, can
meet between quickies in the Oval Office anteroom, phone
sex and visits with Eleanor Mondale.