Do Exactly as I Say (Not as I Do)

The American Enterprise, January 2000 | Go to article overview

Do Exactly as I Say (Not as I Do)


This summer, regular TAE contributor Michael Barone analyzed Hillary Clinton's political record and declared her a classic elitist centralizer (U.S. News July 12, 1999). Some excerpts:

In her years on campus, 1965-74, crime and welfare rolls tripled and the nation lost its first war. The nation's leaders seemed to lose their legitimacy, and the high-test-score, self-admiring elite students at places like Wellesley and Yale Law felt entitled to step immediately into their places even as the students insouciantly disobeyed laws (against marijuana, for the draft) they found inconvenient. At Wellesley and at Yale Law, Hillary Rodham found her role: as an elite decision maker, operating through large institutions, trying to impose policies unlikely to win support on their own, and in the process disregarding rules and laws that bind everyone else.

At different points in her career, she had a chance to put her ideas into practice. In 1978 Jimmy Carter appointed her chairman of the federal government's Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The lawyers running the LSC disdained their assigned task of providing poor people with free lawyers in routine cases and set out to make public policy through class-action lawsuits--an attempt to avoid the democratic process. When Rodham was chairman, Legal Services affiliates brought lawsuits to force New York's Transit Authority to hire heroin users and to require racial quotas in school suspensions in Newburgh, New York. The LSC broke its own rules by organizing campaigns against a state referendum and against Ronald Reagan.

There is an obvious resemblance between this heavily lawyered regime and the one she sought to impose through her health care plan a dozen years later, or the centralized day care she plugged in her book, It Takes a Village. …

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