In the wake of last week’s Benghazi hearings and the unprecedented Obama/Clinton joint interview acknowledging the end of her service to the Department, the 67th Secretary of State is at the forefront of the political stage again. Hillary Clinton bows out to replacement Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and joins the ranks of Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Madeline Albright, interestingly, the third woman of the last four people to hold the office. Wanting to learn more about her career, I decided to read and review The Case Against Hillary Clinton before trying out her own biography.
One of the most talked about moments during the Benghazi series occurred when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) accused Clinton of failed leadership because she had not read the cable addressed to her from U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens requesting more security in Libya. In response, Sec. Clinton offered that, because 4,000,000 cables pass her desk each year, it was impossible to read them all.
Flashback to 2000: Reagan White House speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan, felt compelled to expose fellow New Yorkers to “Clintonism,” before allowing it to infiltrate her state in the coming U.S. Senate election. In the opening pages of her book, Sec. Clinton is caught using a similar alibi to deny buying Puerto Rican votes in N.Y. in exchange for her husband granting clemency to FALN terrorists. But, she claims she had never received a letter from Mr. Luis Nieves Falcon that detailed such an exchange and served as proof against her: “Mrs. Clinton gets thousands of letters each day and obviously doesn’t get a chance to see most of the letters herself.” Noonan points out that this response in 1999, like her retort to Sen. Paul last Wednesday, was not a clear “denial that she got and read the letter, only a statement concerning mail practices.”
Noonan relays details of Travelgate, Clinton’s ’93 scandal-ridden decision to suddenly fire long-standing employees in the White House travel department in order to award these jobs to loyal patrons. After changing the reasoning behind the dismissals from saving costs to accounting malpractice, Clinton asked the FBI to step in and justify her action. Noonan points out it was an ironic choice for Clinton since, as a young lawyer for Democratic investigators during the Nixon Impeachment trials, she condemned the President for misusing the FBI by ordering “investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws or any other lawful function of his office.”
After revealing the little-discussed facts of more Clinton scandals like Filegate, Monica Lewinsky, Whitewater and others, Noonan leaves the reader with a very disappointing picture of Mrs. Clinton’s ethical code. What she finds more disturbing is how readily America forgives and excuses politicians’ falsehoods and spin, which lowers the moral standard the country holds its leaders to. Time and again, Noonan praises Mrs. Clinton for her intelligence and talents but condemns the former First Lady for squandering her power rather than inspiring good, as she defines it. As Noonan claims, the lowering of political discourse and erosion of morality coincides with the degeneration of American culture, the “culture of death.” We used to be able to say, if you don’t like or are offended by what is on the television, change the channel. Today, it is harder to find a channel to change to with more of the disturbing and inappropriate finding its way to the mainstream.
Such talk is a natural segue to children, the most vulnerable to corruption. So in the next section, Noonan strives to show the discrepancy between Clinton’s regard for other people’s ability to raise children without the government and the principles she privately follows in raising her own daughter.
Noonan’s examination of the evolution of Clinton’s psyche from her childhood, to Wellesley, to the White House, may be harsh, but it is also compelling. In an interesting and creative imaginary speech, Noonan tells her friend to take a second look at Hillary, to see how exactly she represents women and what she really has in common with the average wife/mother/female professional. It may inspire a voter to be more conscious of the divergence between “lip service and public service” and to be aware that being a woman is not the end-all qualification for representing all other women’s views and experiences.
The Verdict: The Case is a must-read for fans and foes of Hillary, especially with yesterday’s launch of her 2016 presidential campaign. Noonan’s thorough research, quick pace, strong language and examination of details in Hillary’s career and persona are facts worth knowing.
Release date: March 22, 2000
Publisher: Regan Books
Author: Peggy Noonan