More than a few pundits have compared Hillary Clinton’s halfhearted claim of responsibility for embassy security – or insecurity, as it happened – to former Attorney General Janet Reno’s seeming stand-up act following the April 19, 1993, Waco disaster.
Few pundits, though, know why Janet Reno kept her job through this flaming fiasco. Even the conservatives who have been comparing Hillary’s gambit to Reno’s don’t seem to know the back story. They should.
“I made the decision,” Reno said at a news conference after an ungodly FBI tank assault left 74 dead at the Mount Carmel community in Waco, Texas. “I’m accountable. The buck stops with me.”
During the siege, and immediately afterwards, Bill Clinton proved to be as craven a buck passer as Obama has been post-Benghazi.
“I was aware of it. I think the attorney general made the decision,” Clinton told the media while the compound burned. “I knew it was going to be done, but the decisions were entirely theirs.”
When Clinton saw the laurels being tossed Reno’s way, however, he turned credit monger and fought for his share of the limelight.
Yes, Virginia, there was limelight to be had. What may seem incredible, at least to those who take the media seriously, is that Reno’s approval ratings went up after the debacle.
In a similarly insane media environment, John Kennedy’s numbers surged after he accepted responsibility for the Bay of Pigs, arguably the single worst presidential military blunder in anyone’s memory.
Hillary knows her history. She was in the White House when Waco burned. She grew up with the JFK myth. She understands that in the eyes of a corrupt left-leaning media, a Democrat, especially a female Democrat, need only look responsible to advance her career.
Besides, as the Clintons know full well, a media that have already stuffed Whitewater, Cattlegate, Travelgate, Filegate, Pardongate, bimbo eruptions, Juanita Broaddrick, Ron Brown and Vince Foster down the memory hole won’t even remember where Benghazi was four years from now.
This much seems obvious. But what no one seems to remember is that Reno survived Waco – indeed, Clinton survived Waco – only because one crucial piece of evidence was successfully withheld from the public.
I am talking here about the racial make-up of the Mount Carmel community. As a test, ask a group of your smartest friends to describe what the victims at Waco looked like.
Almost assuredly, your friends will describe them as white, Bible-toting, gun-loving Christians of the peckerwood variety.
What your friends almost assuredly will not know, and will be reluctant to believe, was that more than half of those presumed peckerwoods were racial minorities, 39 out of 74 to be precise.
Six of the dead were Hispanic. Six were of Asian descent. Twenty-seven were black. The victims ranged in age from 6 to 61.
Truth be told, Waco represented the single greatest federally orchestrated one-day slaughter of racial minorities on American soil since Wounded Knee in 1890, and there, at least, the Indians fought back, killing more than 30 American cavalry.
And no, this is not something I read on the Internet. I found a verifiable list of the dead, broken out by age and ethnicity, and counted them.
The FBI had given the Branch Davidians video cameras. The Clinton White House knew who was in the buildings. So, almost assuredly, did the major media, but those video images were successfully suppressed, and the public never knew.
Although usually hyper-sensitive to the concerns of racial minorities, the media turned a strategically blind eye to their very presence at Waco, not to mention their deaths.
As intended, scarcely a black person in America knew the hell visited on his brethren in those early uncertain months of the Clinton era.
That knowledge would surely have strained black affection for the Clintons and maybe even party loyalty. The media were not about to encourage such a schism.
Those under-30 may wonder how the media succeeded in keeping this information from the American people. The reason is simple: In 1993, a nearly monolithic broadcast media controlled close to all visual imagery.
Fox News did not come online until 1996. The Internet was still in its embryonic stages. There was no Google, no YouTube, no Facebook. Even well-informed conservatives were clueless about who died at Waco.
Reno would not have survived that inhuman spectacle if it took place in 2012. There was simply much too much to see. As to Benghazi, we do not yet know what the visual imagery holds. If suppressed well enough, the courageous Ms. Clinton will be primping for 2016 and contemplating ads that conclude “the buck stops here.”