At a friend’s suggestion, I read Barbara Olson’s “Hell to Pay: The
Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton.”
I must admit that I was initially reluctant to read the book,
thinking it would be just another in the long line of books about the
Clintons. Readers can get Clinton-fatigue, too, you know.
This is a meticulously researched and highly readable political
biography of Hillary. And since Hillary’s political aims and fortunes
have always been deliberately tied to Bill’s, the book is necessarily
about him, as well.
The story traces Hillary’s transformation from a Goldwater Republican
into a militantly radical liberal. Unlike other bios of Hillary, this
one does not depict her as being emotionally addicted to Bill.
Rather, she is presented as a cunning pragmatist who attached herself
early on to Clinton, foibles and all, as her best shot at realizing her
socialistic ideals. Bill attached himself to Hillary for similar reasons
— they were fellow travelers who could help each other in achieving
their shared vision.
In Olson’s words, “They are united by an insatiable drive for power
and prominence, by a calculating belief that their grip on power is more
important than any abuse of it.”
The recurring theme is their mutual lust for power. But note the last
part of that quote — holding power justifies abusing power. Will that
not be a fitting epitaph for the political career of this power-craving
Hillary is unveiled as a living paradox. While her public image is
that of a compassionate servant devoted to the welfare of the
downtrodden, her private persona bespeaks a singular cruelty towards her
subordinates. But after all, isn’t this just a microcosm of socialism
itself, which always promises utopia but delivers tyranny?
Hillary has been Bill’s chief supporter (and enabler) throughout
their lives together. In fact, she is probably at her best when rescuing
him from his repeated screw-ups. But not for selfless reasons — unless
he retained power, she wouldn’t be able to retain hers.
Hillary has apparently always been a bit paranoid. Behind every
criticism she sees a conspiracy. She was a bonafide conspiracy theorist
long before the “vast right wing conspiracy” forced Bill to harass Paula
Jones, frolic with Monica Lewinsky, and commit serial perjury, witness
tampering, obstruction of justice and other abuses of power.
Hillary has been Bill’s hit man. Ironically, she perfected the art of
procuring private investigators while trying to catch him in marital
infidelity — which, incidentally, turned out not to be a Herculean task
for the investigators. Since then, she has been notorious for preparing
enemies’ lists and unleashing goon squads for vicious retaliation
against political opponents daring to challenge the co-power aspirants.
Hillary’s quest for power has been personal. She has used Bill easily
as much as he has used her. Her objective has never been merely to be
the first lady. She has insisted on being the co-governor and
co-president. And Bill has willingly complied, sharing power with her
every step of the way — or else.
In Arkansas, she was given full-rein to revamp the education system.
The revealing tale of how she exerted dictatorial power over it — even
to the point of making the most miniscule decisions directly from the
governor’s mansion — is reason enough to buy this book.
Her obsessive mission to saddle this nation with universal health
care was riddled with the same secretiveness and abuses of power that
characterized her education coup in Arkansas.
Every time Hillary has assumed a visible role of authority, she has
brought havoc on herself by unmasking her true socialistic colors. And
with every consequent public rebuke, she has withdrawn into Tammy
Wynette, cookie-baking obscurity.
The book also documents many examples of corruption too numerous to
detail here. Perhaps the most chilling is the account of the Chinese
issuing a threat of war in a broken-English note delivered to Bill
Clinton along with a bag of campaign cash (p. 290).
Now that Bill’s political career is winding down, Hillary is flirting
with a taste of the real thing: power in her own right and in her own
name. People whose lives could be affected by New York Senator Rodham
(which is all of us) should read this book. It gets juicier and more
disturbing by the page.