How can we so callously ignore the latest threat to Hillary Clinton’s health? Why has no one suggested what should now be obvious: Take her to the closest VA Hospital immediately! Even if she must complete reams of government forms and then wait for three weeks, shouldn’t the former First Lady be grateful for the same socialized medicine normally reserved for our wounded veterans?
I speak in jest because my retirement out-processing from military service contained a vital lesson: If given a choice between a VA Emergency Room and a trash compactor, then throw yourself into the trash compactor every time. But today Hillary has her choice of health plans, her pick of private physicians who can be trusted to keep her medical records as confidential as those emails deleted from her server.
The irony, of course, is that we learned long ago that Hillary’s most persistent health problem is that unrelenting speech defect whenever she is expected to tell the truth. This discovery dates back to the early 1990’s, when, as Bill Clinton’s First Lady, she busied herself trying to introduce ordinary Americans to the wonders of socialized medicine. Trouble was, she ran that effort out of the Clinton White House, a hush-hush operation with a staff of 300-400 people sworn to secrecy. While they gathered volumes of information, everything was kept strictly under wraps. Word was that she wanted Congress to be surprised when she delivered her bold proposals for the pioneering legislation that would surely bear her name.
However, there was a problem because this massive cabal systematically ignored the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), a statute that other mortals felt compelled to obey. I was one of them, staff director for a congressionally mandated panel charged with recommending changes to the 800-odd laws governing defense procurement. Because our charter covered the vast corpus of Pentagon procurement, our task was comparable to the First Lady’s (but with only a fraction of her staff.) Some of our people worked full-time to insure full compliance with the transparent process demanded by FACA: open hearings, published transcripts and vetting everyone who testified before our committee. But the consensus achieved by those sometimes laborious measures eventually allowed Congress to adopt most of our recommendations. The streamlined defense procurement law was even transformed into a landmark reform affecting the entire government. Bill Clinton and Al Gore famously celebrated our achievement on the South Lawn as a victory for “reinventing government.”
Perhaps President Clinton should instead have explained to his wife why our more open procedures also had the benefit of being legal. In March, 1993, she was hauled into federal court to justify her high-handed FACA violations. According to the New York Times, her Justice Department lawyers argued that Ms Clinton should be allowed to develop White House health policy in secret. Her then-communications director, George Stephanopoulos, asserted that the identities of her in-house experts needed to be kept secret because, “they would become subject to lobbying…and would not be able to do (their) work in a short period of time.” But opposing counsel pointed out that the First Lady was secretly “running a committee…(that) could revolutionize the way we see a doctor and could change the tax structure of this country.” Does any of that sound familiar?
The First Lady’s vaunted proposals were too much for the Democratic Congress already concerned about the 1994 mid-term elections. Her ideas waited two decades before being enacted into law as Obamacare, a statute the Supreme Court decided was indeed a tax. Now barely remembered, those heated controversies proved sadly prophetic. Even when a more open process is arguably in her best interests, Hillary Clinton still prefers secrecy. Her spokespersons still specialize in the same double-speak pioneered by George Stephanopoulos, endlessly asserting that black is merely a delicate shade of white. And just three years after the FACA contretemps, William Safire surveyed the ominous litany of Whitewater, Travel-gate, the Rose Law Firm and Vince Foster. His epic conclusion: “…our First Lady – a woman of undoubted talents who was a role model for many in her generation — is a congenital liar.”
Precisely as she remains today on all issues great and small. Just because she is running for President, why should the leopard change her spots?
Colonel Ken Allard (U.S. Army, Ret.) is a draftee who eventually served on the West Point faculty, as dean of the National War College and as a NATO peacekeeper in Bosnia.