The Clintons: Weapons of Mass Distraction

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you
end up being governed by your inferiors."
– Plato

By Doug Patton

While most Americans were focused last week on the Laci Peterson murder case and the Martha Stewart stock scandal, the sycophants in the national media decided to treat us all to the tidbits of calculated self-promotion to be found in Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book, “Living History.”

Hillary’s first book, “It Takes a Village,” was a digest of “I-care-about-the-children” socialist political philosophy published during her husband’s presidency. It was designed to polish her tarnished image following the 1993 health care fiasco, a power grab of such epic proportions that it was soundly repudiated by the American people in the historic 1994 Republican congressional landslide.

This book is being touted as “a memoir,” and is designed to gently get us all past the scandals of Bill Clinton’s presidency and clear the way for the couple to return to the White House in 2009.

By any measure, the book should be called “Living Fantasy.”

In fact, most pundits outside the national broadcast networks and the now-discredited spin factory at The New York Times, scoff at the notion that this is a “tell-all” book of personal pain written by the former First Lady. It is not, of course. Rather, it is a cynical attempt to reinvent the smartest woman in the world into the warmest, most forgiving woman in the world.

Speculation ran wild concerning what the book might reveal about the Clintons’ marriage and the strange political partnership that has dominated our national psyche for far too long now. What would Barbara Walters ask Hillary in her prime time interview on Sunday night? America was told to be on pins and needles. We were all agog.

Of course, the nauseatingly sweet interview consisted of nerf balls tossed at Sen. Clinton in what became a shameless attempt to soften her image to a skeptical public.

Gerald Ford once described Watergate as “our long national nightmare.” The Clintons have become a self-imposed nightmare that simply won’t go away.

Bill Clinton himself has been mentioned for so many possible post-presidential careers – television talk show host, Secretary General of the U.N., Supreme Court Justice appointed by the next Democrat president – that it must make his overgrown, narcissistic head spin with delight. His latest trial balloon involves a possible run at the New York governor’s mansion in 2006.

The Clintons have so totally dominated the news this past week that even their old friend Susan Estrich called it “sucking all the oxygen” out of Democrat politics. As Hillary was on ABC deriding the vast right wing cabal she still sees as having been out to get her husband during his presidency, Bill was doing his point-counterpoint gig against old Bob Dole over on CBS’s “60 Minutes.”

Dick Morris, the amoral but brilliant strategist largely responsible for keeping the reckless former president alive politically for so many years, probably knows the Clintons better than anyone alive today. His assessment is that the power couple’s game plan has never changed: eight years for Bill, eight years for Hillary.

That’s all the Constitution allows, unless, of course, they can get that pesky 22nd Amendment repealed – a trial balloon floated in the media last month by none other than Bubba himself, and promoted again on tonight’s “60 Minutes” debate. You really have to hand it to these people: they are not lacking in gall.

In his immediate analysis of the ABC interview, Morris, now a Fox News commentator, said he thought that Hillary had destroyed her credibility. After all, his logic goes, would anyone elect a woman who, in spite of everything the entire country knew about Bill’s libido problems, says she still believed him?

The answer, I am afraid, is “Yes!” Barbara Walters made Hillary Clinton look humane to millions of American women. She came across not as the shrill, domineering woman who tried to hijack health care, but rather as the forgiving wife who can be trusted to care for an America in crisis the way she cares for her family in crisis.

That was exactly what the Clintons were looking for from this whole sham. That and eight million dollars.

Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor at the federal, state and local levels. His weekly columns can be read in newspapers across the country, and on, where he serves as the Nebraska Editor.

He also writes for Talon News Service (

Readers can e-mail him at

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