Stillwater News Press

Opinion

February 19, 2014

GENE LYONS: Hillary succeeds at winning on her own terms

STILLWATER, Okla. — Back in 1993, a Washington Post reporter asked me which Clinton was smarter, Bill or Hillary. As a magazine journalist long residing in Arkansas, I’d never covered state government and would have described the president and first lady as friendly acquaintances, nothing more.

I said that we had a saying in the Central Arkansas Beagle Club that you can’t train no dog that’s smarter than you. Since both Clintons clearly topped me in the IQ department, I had no way to judge their relative brainpower.

Needless to say, this was the wrong answer, deeply violative of journalistic protocol. Making glib pronouncements about near strangers is what we do.

So when I read that Hillary told her friend Diane Blair that the press has “big egos and no brains,” I’m neither shocked nor offended. Is there anybody in politics who doesn’t think that?

Anybody in the world?

Nor was I astonished that Hillary admitted to her friend during the 1996 Whitewater media feeding frenzy that “I know I should do more to suck up to the press ... I know it confuses people when I change my hairdos, I know I should pretend not to have any opinions, but I’m just not going to. I’m used to winning and I intend to win on my own terms.”

And so she did.

If you’ve forgotten, 1996 was the year all the best minds in the Washington press, heeding Kenneth Starr’s leak-o-matic prosecutors, were predicting her imminent criminal indictment. To publicize an excerpt from James B. Stewart’s Whitewater book “Blood Sport,” Time published a cover photo of the first lady that looked like a vampire movie poster.

Maybe you remember Stewart, the eminent financial journalist who appeared on “Nightline,” NPR and anywhere else they’d have him, gravely accusing Hillary of bank fraud — all based, as it turned out, upon his own failure to read the second page of a two-page loan document.

Last I heard the eminent Judge Starr, once ticketed for the U.S. Supreme Court, was president of some Texas Bible college.

So yeah, Hillary won on her own terms.

Now something called the Washington Free Beacon, which unearthed these nuggets from the collected papers of the late Diane Blair, the accomplished University of Arkansas professor who was Hillary’s dearest friend and confidante, pronounces her “ruthless” and a “cutthroat political strategist.”

This because she’d confided to Blair that President Clinton’s inability to “fire people, exert discipline, punish leakers,” and his lack of a strategy to deal with Whitewater, Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Arkansas state troopers and other partisan mercenaries made her crazy.

“Inability to organize, make tough choices,” Blair wrote, “drives her nuts.”

Indeed, history records that it was Hillary, who once served on the staff of Watergate independent counsel Leon Jaworski, that warned her husband it would be a terrible mistake to agree to an open-ended inquisition to finesse a temporary political problem.

No independent counsel, no Monica Lewinsky, no Linda Tripp, no Lucianne Goldberg, no blue dress. None of it. So if that’s ruthless, cutthroat political strategy, the Clinton White House could have used a lot more of it.

So do I buy Hillary’s rationalization for Bill’s infamous sexual misbehavior? First, let me repeat something I wrote back then: Other people’s marriages are a foreign country where you don’t know the language.

Second, this whole business of pundits hiding their own naughty secrets while moralizing about the sins of others is both hypocritical and sadistic.

Contact Arkansas Times columnist Gene Lyons at eugenelyons2@yahoo.com.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Stocks
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery
Must Read