What Hillary Hides?
What Hillary Hides?
With Hillary as the front-running Democratic candidate, the 2008 election is shaping up to have something of Buenos Aires about it. The adoration and hatred she inspires has a tincture of the nearly immortal Evita.
If Hillary is elected, she will enter office in a vortex of passions, pro and con, at least vaguely comparable to those that followed Abraham Lincoln into the White House. The fear was that he would be assassinated before he could take the oath, and while Hillary does not, let’s hope, trigger such violent feelings, the woman gets to people. Polling suggests 80 percent of the country either loves or hates her—and she drives the people who hate her nuts.
The public betrayal of a proud woman is a theme that many have picked up on, but that cannot be the center of the story. The center must be that Hillary and Bill loved each other then and still do.
Bill and his lawyers, according to Gerth and Van Natta, wanted to settle, “But Hillary ultimately overruled them, saying that, ‘the public would see a settlement as confirmation,’ declaring that if they paid Jones a single dollar, ‘the lawsuits would never end.’ Hillary seemed to be suggesting that there were other women out there who would be encouraged to file a law suit against her husband … but … her advice turned out to be disastrous.” The heroine, in the course of trying to save her lover, destroys him—and herself.
Also to be taken into account is Hillary and truth telling—or the want thereof. Both biographies are heavy with instances of fibbing, white lying, misdirecting, and taking liberties with fact. It is impossible to imagine any politician at her level going through a career as long as hers without doing some serious dissembling, but what is troublesome is how often she’s been caught.
Both books point to the time she got on the Diane Rehm radio show and said, anent providing the Washington Post with all the Whitewater documents, “We actually did that with the New York Times. We took every document we had, which again I have to say were not many. We laid them all out.” The statement was not only untrue but easily discredited.
Good politicians lie as seldom as they can so that when they do, people believe them. Hillary’s failure to carry off her various prevarications makes one wonder about her political skills. Bernstein quotes a member of her legal team remarking that her “instincts are horrible in terms of politics, in terms of managing a crisis like this, like the one she was in, like the one [Bill] got in with Monica. … We had a joke that all we had to do was ask her, What would you do? And then do just the opposite, without even thinking about it … because almost always her instincts were wrong, backwards. … And she never surrounded herself with people who would stand up to her, who where of a different mind.”