New York — It was a surprise encounter. I was walking down West 49th Street last Friday, and as I approached the entrance to NBC, I noticed a small crowd waving "Hillary" and "Gore-Lieberman" signs. Next I heard a voice coming from behind a car grille: "Get back on the curb." Several people in the street obeyed.
A line of cars, including a huge SUV the kind Al Gore wants to eliminate pulled up. The small crowd, which had obviously been told where to stand, began to chant. Chelsea and Hillary Rodham Clinton emerged. A brief wave for cameras, a flashed smile, and they were inside Rockefeller Center in five seconds.
It was like the arrival of royalty: The queen and her retinue of Secret Service protectors are part of the most unusual campaign ever for the U.S. Senate. New Yorkers, who apparently love celebrity more than common sense, may just send her to Washington, as Arkansas voters sent her husband to the governor's mansion. And, like Bill, who saw the governorship only as a steppingstone, Mrs. Clinton would be a Senate lady-in-waiting.
One of Richard Nixon's most famous lines was, "The people have a right to know if their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook." He said it with conviction, but most of us knew differently. Mrs. Clinton is a better liar. She can do it with a straight face and with no sweat. She picks and chooses her public forums, avoiding tough questions and accountability.
In his final report on the firing of the White House travel office and the smearing of Billy Dale, Independent Counsel Robert Ray said: "The overwhelming evidence establishes that she played a role in the decision to fire the employees and provided input into that decision. Thus, her statement to the contrary under oath was factually false." Who is more credible, Mrs. Clinton, who said she told the truth, or Ray, who said she lied?
New York Times columnist William Safire, who once worked for Nixon and saw the lying up close, writes that Mrs. Clinton is guilty of an "egregious abuse of power," that she participated in a "six-year cover-up" and that "the evidence she has been lying all along is damning." He adds that her "orchestrated lying continues to this day."
Former White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty testified about "HRC pressure" and "I felt a pressure from the first lady to make a decision." White House Communications Chief David Watkins testified about "the first lady's insistence for immediate action .... McLarty and I ... both knew that there would be hell to pay if ... we failed to take swift and decisive action in conformity with the first lady's wishes." Which he then did.
A New York Times editorial endorsing Mrs. Clinton runs through an ethical labyrinth but concludes her lying makes no difference. It said virtually the same thing in endorsing Al Gore for president. To the Times, electing a Democrat trumps everything else because of that paper's position on big government, high taxes, gay rights, abortion and the rest of the liberal agenda.
Inside the NBC studios, Hillary's opponent, Rep. Rick Lazio, skewered Mrs. Clinton for her supposed education expertise, noting that "student performance when you left (Arkansas) was at the bottom of the barrel," though spending and taxes were up. He is right, but Mrs. Clinton characteristically denied it. And then she added, disingenuously, "But what's important is what we're going to do in the future." This is so Clintonian. Elect her because she has experience (thinking a lot about these things, you know), but if that experience in health care and education turns out to have been a disaster, don't focus on the past, focus on the future. It makes the head swim.
If New Yorkers can't learn from Bill Clinton and what he has put us through, they will install a senator who will serve herself more than their state. Like her husband, she will then use her position to run for president. If you think eight years of Bill Clinton was a legal, ethical and moral disaster, just wait until you see what even four years of Queen Hillary in the Oval Office will do.