"Hillary Clinton, good or bad, is not the issue in this campaign."
So said Torie Clarke, press secretary for the Bush-Quayle campaign, after a Republican National Convention that featured more Hillary-bashing than silly elephant hats, followed by a slew of defensive media portrayals that made Hillary Clinton out to be a hapless and undeserving victim.
"Many say they are ... baffled by her portrayal as a wild-eyed radical," stated one defensive article in The New York Times. That lengthy piece quoted nobody but Clinton supporters, save for an excerpt from Patrick Buchanans speech at the convention.
But many critics contend that the 44-year-old Hillary, a prominent attorney with a densely packed resume, should be fair game for scrutiny in the presidential campaign.
Critics note that, unlike most first ladies, who with few exceptions have been relegated to a background role of encouragement and advice, Hillary Clinton will have broad influence over the national political landscape.
Said Howard Phillips, president of Conservative Caucus in Vienna, VA., "Hillary Clinton is not another Pat Nixon or Bess Truman or Jackie Kennedy or Barbara Bush or even another Rosalynn Carter."
He compared her to Eleanor Roosevelt, but with a more aggressive style. Eleanor, wife of Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was known for her advocacy of liberal causes.
Bill Clinton himself told a fund-raiser audience earlier this year, "If I get elected president, it will be an unprecedented partnership — far more than Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor. They were two great people, but on different tracks. If I get elected, well do things together like we always have ... buy one, get one free."
Similarly, Hillary Clinton told the viewers of the CBS This Morning program in April, "If you vote for my husband, you get me; its a two-for-one, blue plate special."
She also told Newsweek in March that if she were First Lady, she would ”expect to be involved in helping to bring about changes in those areas in which I have an abiding interest."
She told Vanity Fair reporter Gail Sheehy: "Im not interested in attending a lot of funerals around the world. I want maneuverability ... I want to get deeply involved in solving problems."
Thats not idle talk. In addition to holding a partnership in a prominent Little Rock, Ark., law firm, Hillary Clinton has sat on corporate boards, held state government posts and headed a variety of nonprofit organizations. In 1988 and 1991, the National Law Journal named her one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America.
Indeed, Hillary Clintons more than two decades of political activism alone should dispel any doubts as to whether she will simply stay at home in the background while she is First Lady, her critics say.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
What, then, is the real record?
Hillary Clinton has denied so much as being a liberal, but critics say her views are radical left, citing both her actions at the head of various political groups and her legal writings on childrens rights.
It is her work for the latter that has raised hackles among conservatives. They have noted that she once stated, for example: "Along with the family, past and present examples of (parent-child dependency) arrangements include marriage, slavery, and the Indian reservation system."
She has said that that quote was taken out of context.
These critics have argued that concern over her academic writings is more than academic in light of statements such as that in an interview published last month, "At the end of Bills first year and first term, I want to be able to say I didnt just raise public awareness, (but) we now have policies in effect in our country that are solving the problems of children and families."
Hillary Clintons press spokeswoman, Maggie Williams, did not return calls from Investors Business Daily for this article.
Hillary Clinton has found strong support in the mainstream media, however.
Time magazine, for example, in its September cover story on her, stated, "Republicans dug up — and seriously distorted — some of her old academic articles on childrens rights."
A New York Times article, in refuting criticisms of Hillary Clinton, stated:
"Legal scholars familiar with Mrs. Clintons work say the Republican critics are grossly distorting her positions." A number of other publications parroted the Times statement.
But some reputable legal scholars, such as former Reagan administration attorney and current legal consultant Bruce Fein, who is familiar with Hillary Clintons work, say the criticisms are correct.
To be used by parents or the government?
Were this to happen, he says, the ramifications would be far-reaching. "They (children) would most likely be able to sue over consensual intercourse, the right to marriage at any age, the right to an abortion," he told Investors Business Daily.
"They could refuse to comply with the educational desires of their parents. They could bring a lawsuit to say that parents cant demand that they attend the same church. It could result in children signing contracts at the age of seven, eight, or nine. It would certainly mean that the parent couldnt control access to books, movies, videos, et cetera, if they were obscene or indecent."
Views On Parental Authority
A nine-page article by social philosopher Christopher Lasch in the current Harpers magazine, generally a liberal-leaning publication, analyzes articles by Hillary Clinton and reaches the same conclusion the Republican critics did.
Lasch finds that she "is opposed to the principle of parental authority in any form" and that in place of this authority, she wishes to insert the power of the government.
Even those conservatives who are impressed with Hillary Clintons intellect and ability appear to be uncomfortable with some of her ideas.
"In the past, the childs rights were asserted vicariously through the parent,” wrote Garry Wills earner this year in the New York Review of Books. "Ms. Clinton sees those rights as, at times, to be asserted against the parent. This has always been recognized in abuse cases, but she would extend it much farther."
Although born of Republican parents in a Chicago suburb, Hillary Clinton slipped readily into the counterculture movement that swept the country in the 1960s.
As an editor of the Yale Review of Law and Social Action, she helped supervise the production of a double issue devoted to a local trial of Black Panther members. The issue included drawings showing hairy pigs in police uniforms snorting racial slurs. One picture showed a squealing, decapitated ”pig" with the caption "Seize the Time."
Rich Bonds reference to "lawsuit mongering" may stem from Clintons involvement with the U.S. Legal Services Corporation.
In 1978, President Carter appointed Hillary, who was by then a successful attorney and married to the Arkansas governor, to chairwoman of the board of the LSC, a quasi-official entity that seeks ostensibly to provide legal aid to the poor.
Mickey Kantor, Bill Clintons national campaign manager, who was one of the architects of President Johnsons "War on Poverty," also sat on the LSC board with Hillary Clinton.
Most media accounts of Hillary Clintons involvement with the LSC devote little space to the issue, describing it simply as a funder of legal services for the poor.
But critics such as Phillips, who was President Nixons head of the Office of Equal Opportunity which oversaw LSC, claim that, "The LSC has been the principal source of ideological patronage for a nationwide network of left-wing lawyers, lobbyists, proselytizers, and politicians."
During Hillary Clintons LSC tenure, LSC attorneys took part in such actions as representing cocktail waitresses who claimed their outfits were too skimpy, helping men seeking to force local and state welfare agencies to pay for sex-change operations, and suing to give large areas of the states of New York and Maine back to Indian tribes. It also took cases for the express purpose of expanding homosexual and abortion rights.
LSC attorneys also filed class-action suits in an attempt to bring about social change through forced school busing, redrawing congressional districts, and suing banks to force them to lend money to high-risk borrowers.
In January 1980, the LSC allocated over $60,000 in taxpayer funds to fight Californias Proposition 9, a ballot initiative to cut income tax rates in half.
A subsequent investigation by the congressional General Accounting Office found that this action was a violation of federal law guiding LSC expenditures, that indeed it was "the precise sort. . . prohibited by the (laws) injunction against using corporate funds to oppose a ballot measure that is already on the ballot and where the clients legal rights are not at issue."
One former LSC Reagan-appointed official who did not want to be identified told Investors Business Daily, the anti-Proposition 9 funding "is one of the greatest corporate scandals of our time. ... Im amazed this hasnt been the focus of critical attention. Why are people concerned about Clark Clifford (a bank chairman implicated in the BCCI scandal) but not Hillary Rodham?"
The LSC activities during Hillarys time prompted much media attention and resulted in Congress slashing the corporations budget, although attempts to kill it failed.
Critics of Hillary Clinton assert that once she opens her office in the White House, such wholesale misuse of taxpayer funds to affect social change could become de rigeur.
Said Phillips, "Hillary knows what levers to pull, and a Bill and Hillary Clinton administration would go a long way to fully implement the concept of the federal Treasury as a source of ideological patronage for the political left."
Forced Off LSC Board
The Reagan administration forced Hillary off the LSC board in 1982 after a lengthy legal battle. Since then, she has served as chairwoman of two other national groups, the New World Foundation and the Childrens Defense Fund (CDF).
Clinton served as director and chair of the little-mentioned New World Foundation in 1987 and 1988.
During that time, the foundation gave grants to such organizations as the Committee in Support of the People of El Salvador, the U.S. support group for communist guerrillas in that country, and the Christie Institute, which last year suffered a major defeat when a federal appeals court upheld a $1.1 million sanction against the group for filing a frivolous suit alleging a CIA conspiracy to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.
While she headed it, Clintons foundation also gave a grant to another organization, Grassroots International, which, according to a Washington Times investigation, at the time it sought the New World grant was funding two groups with ties to the terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization.
While the mainstream media simply refer to the CDF as a "childrens lobbying group," Gary Bauer, a conservative White House official in the Reagan administration and now president of the Family Research Council in Washington, told Investors Business Daily, CDF is a big government group that uses concern for children as a sort of battering ram to break down resistance to the growth of government and the bureaucracy."
Hillarys fiefdom, way out in left field.
According to the ranking system of the Capital Research Center in Washington, a conservative group that monitors foundation grants and assigns political ranks to those who receive them, during the Hillary Clinton years CDF consistently ranked a ”2" on a scale of one to nine, with "1" being the most extreme left and "5" being center.
The CDF lobbies for legislation that in its view will better the lot of poor children but that opponents say will merely strengthen the role of the state while weakening that of the family.
Bauer says that the preference for government intervention over personal control appears to be the continuing strain running through Hillary Clintons politics, whether it is her work with CDF, Legal Services or elsewhere, and that voters need to take that into account when deciding for whom to vote.
"I dont think its inappropriate" that Hillary be a major player in the Clinton administration, he said. "But that being the case, its appropriate to bring her views out for a public airing so people can make a legitimate judgment about them."