Politics & Policy

Hell to Pay Redux

The new voice of the Democratic party.

It took Senator-Elect Hillary less than 24 hours to appear in a national news conference as the new voice of the Democratic party. Wavering supporters and uncertain political consultants were assured that the final count was far from over. New York’s new senator-elect promised that “Al Gore will be the next president of the United States.” When the next day’s numbers came up short, Senator Hillary promised to be “be on our side” to wipe out that pesky Electoral College process we have operated under for 200 years. In less than 48 hours, we are told that the Electoral College subverts “the will of the people.” Hillary has vowed to “fight for us” and her first order will be a direct election of the next president of the United States.

Hillary, we know you too well. After eight years, we have learned to read between the lines. We know not to pay too much attention to the words used, but to understand the message beneath. We get it. Your national agenda for socialized medicine, a federal school system, and government-regulated families will not exactly move a majority of electoral votes into your column. You pledged to serve the full six years of your term, but we know that when the time comes, the “will of the people” will call you to run for the presidency in 2004. The foundation is being laid.

Senator Hillary has never strayed far from the teachings of her mentor, Saul Alinsky, a self-described radical organizer. From her early days when she penned her college senior thesis: “There is only the Fight… : An Analysis of the Alinsky Model,” Hillary has practiced and perfected the ruthless art of attack politics in pursuit of power. Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals is the forerunner to Hillary’s Senate campaign briefing book. No doubt, we will see Hillary’s mastery of the ruthless art of power politics during the next four years as she prepares her Senate record to run for the presidency in 2004.

Hillary’s 12th-hour attack ad against Rick Lazio accusing him of “walking away” from breast-cancer victims was right out of the Alinsky handbook. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” This was Hillary at her political best. The perfect political lie, with perfect political timing — and too late for a response. One target down. Who will be Senator Hillary’s next target? Will Al Gore still be a problem? How about Joe Lieberman? Or potential presidential contender John Kerry? Minority Leader Tom Daschle?

One thing is clear. Never underestimate this junior senator’s appetite for power. Word is that she will be offered a slot on the Senate committee with jurisdiction over education and labor. But her sights are set on a coveted seat on the Finance Committee. I wouldn’t bet against this senator again for some time.


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