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Quick words with R. Emmett Tyrrell
By Bernard Chapin
In the world of politics few magazines provoke an emotional response like The American Spectator. I know this personally from a purchase I made in July of 2000. That was a testy year, and it must have been particularly so for middle aged clerks at the Borders on Diversey Street in Chicago. When I handed one of them a copy of the latest issue, he held it up above the scanner and glared at me. His eyes squinted as he said, "Aren't these the guys who tried to bring down Clinton? Why would you read this?" I answered him ineloquently but in fluent polemicese: "Sure, eh, that's why everyone should read it."
A wise observation on my part. The American Spectator has gone through many changes in format and delivery in recent times but R. Emmett Tyrrell's editorship remains a constant. Mr. Tyrell has just released a new book entitled, Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House and he is currently barnstorming the country to promote it. Here's what Dick Morris had to say about Tyrrell's work:
We are grateful that he was able to share some wisdom with us in the midst of his tour.
BC: The other day I opened my copy of The Weekly Standard and saw your new book advertised on its first page. Why is Madame in the title? One can imagine how annoying such a word must be to Hillary. Second, the implication is, and many people agree with you, that she desires the presidency. Do you believe her intentions have been deliberately downplayed by the media?
RET: The term Madame does not refer to a bordello but to Chairman Mao's wife who was known in China as the "white-boned demon," famed for changing shape and never so dangerous as when wearing the guise of innocence. In her contemporary guise of US senator she is particularly dangerous--a point I emphasize in the book and with details or the corpus delicti. Her intentions are to acquire more power every day in every way. She is now the most powerful Democratic senator since LBJ and look where he ended up--I mean before he assumed room temperature.
BC: There are so many books out on Hillary Clinton. What uniquely does yours offer potential readers? How much of it concerns her time in the Senate?
RET: Madame Hillary takes readers from Hillary's radical youth through her years at Bill's side to her present condition as Bill's weapon to reenter the White House. I also take her beyond the Senate to an imagined presidential administration -- her first.
BC: As one who has been rather dedicated to following the Clintons, is it a certainty that she will run in 2008? Do you think she has a chance of being successful?
RET: I think she has a very good shot at the presidency. Her target will be the independent vote. She is hoping they forget her radical past and cotton to her claims to speak for a glamorous political tradition, the tradition of 1960s protest.
BC: Is it possible that John Kerry, assuming he wins the nomination, would contemplate offering Hillary a spot on the ticket at the Democratic Party convention? Might she accept?
RET: Kerry is going to have to offer her the number 2 spot. He will need her money and popularity. She will accept knowing that will enhance her power.
BC: Underneath the expensive hair styles and feminine dresses, is Hillary Rodham Clinton still the radical she once was? The late Barbara Olson maintained in Hell to Pay that "[t]o understand Hillary and much of her subsequent life, it is important to learn the philosophy and tactics of the mentor who has had more apparent influence on her than any other." [p.47] This mentor was the infamous Saul Alinsky who wrote Rules for Radicals. How much of her ideology remains locked in the Manichean outlook of the sixties' counter-cultural left?
RET: An important point I make in the book is that she has repositioned herself as a moderate. You can decide for yourself from what I say in the book as to whether she is a moderate. Alinsky urged his acolytes to adapt to the times. She has surprised me by her adaptability. As to her presidency I believe my chapter makes it clear she is no friend of freedom.
BC: Had things panned out a little differently over the course of the last couple of months, and Kerry merely began beating Dean by only minute margins, do you think Hillary would have considered entering the 2004 race for the presidency?
RET: I make the point in my book that she and Bill have been manipulating this race in various ways. Now that they see the President weakened I do believe she wishes she had gone for it on 2004, and who knows if Kerry wobbles she still might.
BC: Was her autobiography from last year factually valid? Does it offer any historical truths about the former first lady that we did not know previously?
RET: Hillary's book contains many reckless lies. My treatment of it in an extended chapter suggests that she has not completely cleaned up her act. Bill Clinton sees Hillary as his ticket to another political career
BC: Are you surprised that Bill and Hillary are still married? Is it a Marriage In Name Only? A mutual admiration pact?
RET: I have quite a bit to say about their marriage in my book. I would call it a marriage now of convenience, but in the past it was something else. Bill Clinton sees Hillary as his ticket to another political career
Thank you once again, Mr. Tyrrell.
Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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