Saturday, March 08, 2008

Alexander Cockburn: Hillary and Bill: Destroying the Safety Net

Hillary Rodham Clinton brags about bringing the right wing extremist, Dick Morris, into the Clinton administration. Even after Morris was exposed as allowing a prostitute, Sherry Rowlands, to listen in on conversations with the President, Morris still remained an important confidante of the White House and continued to shape White House policy until the very end of Clinton's term. (I have this on the authority of a member of Clinton's policy making team. "We'd be working for hours or days or more on a domestic policy issue. We'd send the memo to the White House and all it took was one phone call from Dick Morris and the policy was trashed."

When Clinton was elected, one of his problems was to block the reforms that he promised as a candidate but that he and Hillary -- who started out as a Goldwater girl -- opposed. So he did nothing about stopping the war in Bosnia -- perhaps his greatest crime. He totally folded on gays in the military when he could have made history and struck a blow for justice.

As a result he was soon a laughing stock on right wing radio and effectively gave Congress over to the Republicans. At that point he was comfortable since he now had an excuse not to push progressive legislation.

But before that, while he still had a Democratic majority in Congress, he had to deal with health care. What to do? The big threat was universal single payer health care which was enormously popular. But he was opposed to that because he is essentially a right winger and because the health care lobby was a big contributor. So he handed it off to Hillary who had the same problem but didn't mind facing down the opprobrium as long as nothing positive was done on the issue. What do you think she'll do when she becomes president?

In Alex Cockburn's March 3, 2008 Nation column he reminds us that it was Monica Lewinksy who saved us from the Clintons' plan to privatize Social Security. Here's the relevant excerpt.

This [handing over the Social Security trust fund to Wall Street] was never a job for Republicans, any more than was welfare "reform." Eradication of the social safety net is a job for the Democratic Party, and by late 1998 Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin and a secret team were far advanced in the attempt. As Robin Blackburn described it on the CounterPunch website in 2004, "It was a desperately close run thing. On the account of members of Clinton's secret White House team, mandated to map out the privatization path for Social Security, they had got as far down the road as fine-tuning the account numbers for Social Security accounts [to be] released to the captious mercies of Wall Street." Then came the Lewinsky scandal. Clinton needed the liberal Democrats in Congress to stave off successful impeachment.

Read the whole article:
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