Hillary's no Match for Condi


National Post Comment June 200 

A friend said, after meeting Stephen Harper recently, that she was surprised to find he was "dead sexy," though not charismatic, then, warming to a favourite theme, that we had to immediately stop this indecent craving for charisma in our leaders.

I'd go further. Charisma should mean immediate disqualification.

Otherwise, two words: Hillary Clinton. The suspicious amongst us have been ploughing through Living History, her flatulent self- aggrandizing piece-o-crap, albeit best-selling, account of her ghastly life and let me refresh. Two years into the Clinton presidency, we had learned the following:

Bill's brother had been jailed for dealing coke, and tapes had him boasting about his brother's ability to get his dealer's friends jobs. Bill had finagled his escape from the draft, then lied about it. He had had a 12-year affair with a bar singer, Gennifer Flowers, then he and Hillary both lied about it on 60 Minutes. Bill's mother had had two (previously unacknowledged) husbands, aside from the two she did acknowledge and that Bill had one (previously unmet) half- brother. The couple were charged with making a criminal referral to the Resolution Trust. Vince Foster, Hillary's best male friend, and keeper of the legal family secrets, killed himself. Whitewater broke, the Travel Office scandal broke, Troopergate broke. Bill's guards charged that at any time during Bill's governorship he had had five separate lovers. Webb Hubbell, Hillary's second best male friend, the head of Hillary's law firm, who they had promoted to Deputy Attorney General, was forced to resign in disgrace. The Clintons found they had "misstated" $28,000 in expenses on their tax returns. Most traders found Hillary Clinton's $100,000 profit on $10,000 in a year, deeply suspicious for anyone, but especially for a novice, and Paula Jones launched a $750,000 suit against Bill for sexual harassment. In a final embarrassment, House leader Dan Rostenkowski, slated to push through Hillary's health plan, was instead, charged, tried, convicted and jailed for 17 counts of defrauding the government. The health plan ushered in the Republican capture of Congress.

Hate W., as you may, but have we experienced any of this from the Bushes?

Yet, Hillary is universally held up as an example for young women, a role model, an inevitable future presidential candidate. "Making History," she'll call it. Women have sympathy for her, even admire her. She did it herself, they mysteriously say. Yet ask yourself: Would you want your daughter to experience her shame? Would you yourself live through 20 years of a man flagrantly cheating on you while everyone you knew, knew and knew that you knew? Would you want your daughter to stick that out? Why wouldn't you, with a Yale law degree and many friends in Washington, not choose to pack your bags and get a real job? What could be the possible explanation?

Hillary wanted it all. She wanted Bill, she wanted to be governor's wife, she wanted to be First Lady. She wanted to play happy families, she wanted to be a mom, she wanted to be a political leader, she wanted to be President. And in order to do all that, she made a devil's deal with her inner self. Because only a woman who is deeply tone deaf, whose inner life is deeply inauthentic, can see such a moral life, such a history of sleaziness as qualification for a run for the Presidency.

Contrast this with a real woman, Bush's National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice. Rice's White House Staff call her the Un- Kissinger, so assiduously does she not court public adoration, despite being the most influential in her job since Kissinger, potentially a major cultural figure, what The Nation called Rock Star Big. She is genuinely religious, she grew up in actual discrimination, in the segregated South, not the "discrimination" Hillary, an upper middle class suburbanite who cruised off to Wellesley, claims for herself. And more importantly than anything, she got to the White House the hard way. She earned it.

At Stanford, where Rice was the youngest Provost at 36, she not only balanced the budget, she stood up to the affirmative action gang by saying, "Don't tell me what it's like to be black. I've been black all my life." She typifies excellence and hard work and self- discipline, which constitute the real route to success, not legislation and litigation. Her life, hard as it must be sometimes, without child or husband, is real and deeply authentic. She knows about poverty, and she knows what it takes to get out of it. And she also knows foreign policy. It is she who must be the first woman president.

What Hillary will mean to political life in the U.S. and Canada is that the '60s have won. The legal reformers who seek to change democracy through litigation without the inconvenience of elections, will have won. The sneering academics who live, like Clinton's entire generation, without sacrifice, on the back of a tradition of sacrifice will have won. The smirking ironists in the culture industries will have won. Critical race theory will have won and feminist jurisprudence will have won. They can hardly wait. In four years, our culture will be entirely remade.

Condoleezza Rice laughs when you ask her if she'll run. But she's been bruited in the race for Barbara Boxer's seat in California. I can't see her giving up her catbird seat at the most interesting foreign policy development in 50 years, but she must consider it. In 2008, she is the only person who can beat Hillary Clinton. And if Hillary Clinton is not beat, for she will certainly run, it will mark the first day of America's decline. And, arguably, ours.