I just got a letter from the first lady. Of course, so did everyone
else on whichever Democratic National Committee mailing list my name is
So why was I, along with an unknown passel of other folks, selected
to receive this important missive, ostensibly written by Hillary
Rodham Clinton? My guess is that bumming spare change from the Chinese
is a bit rough these days after bombing their embassy, because Hillary
was only writing to ask for money.
Of course, when Democrats ask for money, they don’t call it money.
They’re too high minded for that. “Today,” writes Hillary, “with a
chance to again move our nation forward, Bill Clinton needs your
partnership as never before.” Democrats don’t want money; they want
partners. Of course, if you shell out the big bucks as a “partner” they
probably won’t return your check.
According to the letter, Bill needs our “partnership” to rescue kids,
old folks, sick people, and save Western Civilization as we know it.
Hillary says that we “possess a historic opportunity to rescue our
Social Security system,” adding that we “face unfinished business in
improving education, expanding college opportunities and passing a
comprehensive Patient’s Bill of Rights for American families.”
Nonetheless, like any pitch by a used car salesman, she can talk up
the value of her offer all day long, but, no matter how thick she
butters the hook, it’s got to come to money eventually. After all, you
can’t have folks writing checks for 300 units of “partnership.” Sooner
or later, she’s got to home in on someone’s wallet: “I must ask you to
help our president by making a generous contribution to the Democratic
National Committee today.”
To smooth over the hit to our pocketbook, the first lady reminds us
about what a tremendous success her husband has been — like a broker,
hyping the past performance of a stock or mutual fund.
She informs us that crime is falling, welfare rolls have been hacked
in two, and teen pregnancy rates are “coming down.” Without any undue
wisecracks about that last one being true no thanks to the president,
it’s important to note that it’s probably impossible to trace any of
those things back to Clinton’s specific policies. No one knows what
happened to those promised 100,000 police officers, and Clinton wouldn’t
have messed around with welfare reform if a few ornery Republicans
hadn’t bitten his ankles.
But standing by her man, Hillary proclaims that “The president’s
policies have given us low unemployment, low inflation, rising wages and
the first budget surplus in 30 years.”
Of course, none of this has anything to do with the fact that for the
first time in 30 years we are not spending massive amounts of resources
fighting a Cold War, does it? Probably not. Besides, apparently,
Clinton was sufficiently upset with the close of the Cold War that he’s
decided to kick off another one — this time with China.
The current economic boom couldn’t have anything to do with America’s
massive investment in technology over the past many years either,
right? That’s how Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has it figured, according
to yesterday’s BBC News, but we all know that Greenspan doesn’t know
whereof he speaks, right? Hillary knows.
All told, however, the item that sticks furthest in my craw is the
point about Social Security. The first lady says that, without all the
dough Americans are supposed to fork over to the DNC coffer-keepers, the
Dems will be unable to fund a “strong national campaign to inform the
public and pressure the Republican Congress,” adding that, if that
cannot be done, “we are unlikely to save Social Security. …”
What Hillary didn’t say was that we are unlikely to save Social
Security if we keep spending all the money on bombs to provide the
Balkans with so much social insecurity.
Remember, the Social Security silver bullet of salvation was to come
in the form of a $4 billion federal budget surplus — which was a bit
dubious to begin with. Far beyond dubious, now it’s not even there, no
matter how much accounting gymnastics and book stretching is done.
Clinton asked Congress to appropriate $6 billion to help him afford all
the munitions he’s dropping on Serbian cigarette factories, TV stations,
hospitals, bridges, automobile plants, trains, citizens, and Chinese
Embassies. There goes the surplus.
At the end of the letter, I did find what I think is a typo. In a
postscript the first lady writes, “Please help us do more for America by
sending a generous contribution. …” Notice that word “for”? I’m
pretty sure the last line should read, “Please help us do more to
America by sending a generous contribution. …”
The sad thing is, I’m sure she’ll find plenty of partners.
Joel Miller is the Assistant Editor of