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|The unsavory Clintons
By Carol Devine-Molin
The Clintons are the quintessential power duo that can't seem to get presidential aspirations out of their lifeblood. Nothing is quite like sitting in that Oval Office.
Anyone paying even the slightest bit attention to national politics knows this particular buzz -- Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) reportedly has intentions of running for president in 2008. Clearly, she would run in 2004 if she thought she had half-a-chance against George W. Bush. Interestingly, New York state registered voters are not supportive of Hillary's ambitions, with 58 per cent of respondents expressing disapproval for a Hillary presidential bid in a recent Marist poll. Hillary Clinton's overall job performance was rated as rather mediocre by New Yorkers, which probably has many of them now wondering why they foolishly provided her with a Senate seat stepping-stone to the presidency. Even as the national economy shows signs of upturn and recovery, the New York state economy is sure to lag, given the pernicious effects of substantial tax increases recently generated in Albany.
Hillary's just released White House memoir, Living History, which would have been more aptly entitled "Revisionist History" or "Incredibly Spun History", was actually put together by three ghost writers and vetted by a phalanx of attorneys as part and parcel of her future presidential run. This book, and another by Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal, are really preemptive measures aimed at effectively finessing and defusing the anticipated scrutiny that will ensue during her presidential run. Hillary's strategy is to get "the truth" out there and inoculate against intensive and intrusive questioning during her presidential campaign.
Although Hillary was able to get elected in a profoundly liberal state
such as New York, these election results certainly can't be generalized
to the rest of the nation. Polling demonstrates that Hillary is an extremely
polarizing figure associated with the far-left, and doesn't possess the
widespread appeal necessary to win in America, a politically "center-right" nation.
In my humble opinion, it seems much more likely that the first woman president
will be a Republican, not a dyed in the wool leftist that attempted to
impose socialized medicine upon America during her husband's administration.
All-in-all, this is probably an appropriate time to revisit the Clinton White House and its legacy, while it's still relatively fresh in our collective memories and before it is irrevocably massaged by the Clinton spinmeisters. This brings me to the eyewitness accounts, and insightful assessments, of author Buzz Patterson who worked for Bill Clinton.
In his bestselling tome entitled, Dereliction of Duty, Buzz Patterson (Lieutenant Colonel USAF, now retired) provides us with a bird's eye view of the day-to-day chaotic and undisciplined Clinton presidency. Patterson, who was one of a handful of military aides in charge of the "nuclear football", was regularly in the presence of Bill Clinton during a two-year period from May 1996 through May 1998 when he resigned from the Air Force. Patterson rightly summed up the modus operandi of the Clinton White House, stating, "As a newcomer I asked for a White House organizational chart, a wiring diagram, something that laid out the administration's chain of command. I was told, ‘There isn't one'. That didn't entirely surprise me, because the Clinton White House seemed disjointed, reactive, and highly undisciplined to a career military officer. In Air Force flying parlance, we'd term this ‘all thrust, no vector' or ‘all fluff, no stuff'".
The author also acted as a direct conduit between Bill Clinton and his cabinet advisors when Clinton was traveling, which was rather often, and helped coordinate considerable military involvement on these trips. Patterson witnessed quite a bit -- He cited myriad examples of Clinton's avoidance, indecisiveness, arrogance and moral turpitude that made him unfit to lead this nation, especially in the realms of national security and the utilization of the military. Clearly, the growing threat of militant Islam, which led directly to the September 11th assaults, can be laid right at the doorstep of the Clinton presidency.
As Buzz Patterson espoused, "In his eight years in office, President Clinton's military response to the terrorist threats was negligible and did nothing to seriously address the problem, instead following a de facto course of drift, which allowed the terrorist network to grow in size and strength. The problem within the administration was, again a complete and total blindness to the proper use of the military". Patterson describes a patently inept commander-in-chief who could not bring himself to act – Essentially, Clinton was immobilized by his own personal foibles. Among an array of significant episodes, Patterson cited lost opportunities to deal with Osama bin Laden, and to aid the Kurds in Iraq who were poised to be squelched by Saddam Hussein's forces.
And the author underscores the manner in which the Clinton administration
systematically demoralized members of the military, who were overworked
and underpaid, "slashing the total active-duty force by about a third
and increasing deployments by almost 300 percent". That said, understandably
there were problems with military recruitment and retention during the
Clinton years. Bill Clinton was real cad – He left the Armed Forces
in ruins for the incoming commander-in-chief to clean up and make whole.
Patterson stated that "the Clinton administration inexcusably hollowed
out our military capability and has left President Bush with the tab".
Patterson was ultimately disheartened by all that transpired, and resigned from the Air Force. However, he endured one final unpleasantness. On his day of departure, Patterson brought his family to the Oval Office to meet President Clinton. And, as Patterson stated, "I caught a glance at President Clinton, and I couldn't believe it. He was eyeballing my wife as though she had just entered a singles bar. I was angry and immediately regretted being there and putting my wife in this situation". As he left, Patterson only felt "tremendous relief -- There was no sadness. There was only the sense that the man in the Oval Office had sown a whirlwind of destruction upon the integrity of our government, endangered our national security, and done enormous harm to the American military in which I served".
I'm sure that Buzz Patterson is now delighted by the much improved state of the US military, which is undergoing a Renaissance period of transformation, with accompanying morale boost, courtesy of President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.
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