specter is haunting America the specter of Clintonism. Yes,
the man is gone, off to a lifetime of golfing at all-white
clubs, biting his lip in the pulpits of black churches while the
hallelujahs soar, goosing waitresses, slithering in and out of shady
business deals, being collared by showbiz bores at Barbra Streisand's
parties, and defending himself in court. And yes, his lady has no
future beyond the U.S. Senate. The people of New York, trapped in
their little Stalinist time-warp, still fretting about why that
nice Mr. Adlai Stevenson didn't get in in '52 (my explanation: WE
NEED ADLAI BADLY! was the worst campaign slogan ever) will
probably go on voting for her until, like Gagoola the hag in King
Solomon's Mines, "She has lived so long that none can remember
when she was not old, and always she it is who has trained the witch
hunters, and made the land evil in the sight of the heavens above."
But given her far-left paper trail and her amazing capacity to make
people detest her where'er she treads, Hillary's maxed out: She
has no real future.
Yet still the presence of that specter can be felt, an icy wind
blowing to us from the unseeable future, disturbing our sleep, arresting
us in the midst of our daily tasks, chilling and warning us. Bill
and Hill are history, but Clintonism may yet rise again, like Glenn
Close from that bathtub. For, ladies and gentlemen, the tworch has
been paaahssed to a noooh genewation of Clintons. On February 27th,
Chelsea Clinton will turn 21.
At this point I had better make a confession. It's a bad one, I
know it. It is low, contemptible and yes! mean-spirited.
It may very well place me beyond the pale of civilized society.
I don't care. Truth will out, I will be heard. Brace yourself: I
hate Chelsea Clinton.
I admit it's not easy to justify my loathing of this person. I can
pick out causes, but none of them is one hundred per cent rational.
As an Englishmen, I naturally start from a base of resentment against
anyone with perfect dentition. This whole area is mildly radioactive
for me right now, though, having just dug myself out (metaphorically
speaking) from under a heap of e-mails I got in reaction to my
"double-bagger" piece the other day. So let's leave the young
lady's looks altogether out of it. I am myself, as numerous correspondents
felt moved to observe, no oil painting. (Note to webmaster: Whose
damn fool idea was it to put our photographs on the site?)
Nor does Chelsea have much of a track record to scrutinize. How
could she have? There are some pretty clear indicators, which I
shall get to in a moment; but she has not looted the White House,
lied under oath, bombed an aspirin factory in Africa to get her
personal legal problems off the front pages, raped anybody, used
public employees to pimp for her, sold the Department of Defense
to the Chinese Communist Party for cold cash, taken a fat bribe
dressed up as a "commodities trade," or written a book arguing that
parents cannot be trusted to raise their children. I note, however,
that she doesn't deserve any credit for not having done these things;
she just hasn't had time yet.
So what's my beef? Well, first there is the Willie Mufferson factor.
You may recall that Tom Sawyer had a schoolmate named Willie Mufferson,
the town's Model Boy.
He always brought his mother to church, and was the pride of all
the matrons. The boys all hated him, he was so good. And besides,
he had been "thrown up to them" so much. His white handkerchief
was hanging out of his pocket behind, as usual on Sundays
accidentally. Tom had no handkerchief, and he looked upon boys who
had, as snobs.
Who, in current public life, has been "thrown up to us" so much
as Chelsea? As originally presented to us in the 1992 campaign,
she was a shy pre-teen whose parents were
determined to keep her out of the public eye. This lasted until
the until the focus groups started reporting that the public saw
the Clintons as a cold, self-obsessed power couple (imagine!), at
which point People magazine was called in for a photo-shoot
of Hillary and Chelsea in a hammock. Fair enough; and once they
had got the White House, Chelsea was indeed kept out of view for
the first five years or so of the Clinton presidency. Then the gush
and Hill are history, but Clintonism may yet rise again,
like Glenn Close from that bathtub.
For one thing, Chelsea had now reached the age at which it is acceptable
to pass public comment on a woman's physical appearance. I'm not
going there myself, for reasons I have already made clear, but by
1997 we had had a slew of feature stories about how Chelsea had
"blossomed" into a "beautiful" and "poised" young woman. ("Poised"
is one of those words that are inescapable in this context, but
appear practically nowhere else rather like the special language,
incomprehensible to commoners, by which Japanese emperors had to
be addressed.) Well, fa-di-la. If my parents had had as much money
as hers have by stealing it, never let it be forgotten, or
by bribing and lying their way into well-paid public offices
I'd be pretty damn "poised," too. Class envy? Mmm, not altogether.
Sure, my parents lived in public housing (the other kind, not executive
mansions), but I don't recall that they stole things, or lied under
oath, or raped anybody.
And then there was the Lewinsky scandal, impeachment, and that famous
shot of the three Clintons walking to the helicopter, Chelsea in
the middle, holding hands with her parents. The buzz at the time
was that Chelsea did it for Mom; was furious with Dad but was begged
by Hillary presumably to protect her "political viability"
to stage the whole phony performance. The public went Aaaaaah!
I had a different take on it. Chelsea was 18 at this point, coming
on 19, certainly old enough to make decisions. (Hey, Henry the Fifth
was governing Wales at 16.) This was the point at which she decided
to sign on to the Great Clinton Project. Which is, has always been,
and forever will be, to enrich the family from the public fisc,
and to lie, bomb, bribe, and intimidate your way out of trouble
when necessary. At that point my hatred of Chelsea found its feet.
Now, you may say: Come on, Derb, the girl was just being loyal to
her folks. What would you have her do publicly denounce them,
like some Stalinist brat? No though I think a really well-"poised"
young lady might very well have said: "Dad, I'm with you. You're
my Dad, and I'll love and support you any decent way I can. But
the right thing at this point is for you to resign the presidency,
because you have done things a president ought not do. I will not
do anything that helps you stay president." Look, if my Dad was
a Mafioso, I might indeed be loyal to him, and defend him, and help
keep him out of jail. But then, any decent person would hate me
as much as he hated my Dad, and rightly so. I would be an accessory
to his crimes, certainly in morality, if not in law.
But this is all rationalization. More than anything, I admit, I
hate Chelsea because she is a Clinton. Not just genetically
a Clinton, but in spirit and habit and manner. The evidence for
this is now, I think, sufficient to indict.
Item: Last Christmas Eve, the Clintons attended Midnight Holy Communion
at the National Cathedral in Washington. Chelsea was the first Clinton
to show up
seven minutes into the introit! Mom and Dad were
even later, of course. But why did Chelsea have to be late at all?
To Holy Communion! It's just so
Clintonian, the utter
lack of regard for other people. If you are a Clinton, other people
don't exist, except for the few seconds they are handing over money
to you or
well, you know.
Item: At the Middle East peace talks in Camp David last year, Chelsea
took dinner with her father and Ehud Barak, and so monopolized the
conversation, the Israelis are said to have been offended. Excuse
me, but what the hell is Chelsea doing inserting herself into extremely
delicate diplomatic negotiations? What position does she hold in
the diplomatic corps? Who appointed her? We are told that Chelsea
is by far the most traveled presidential offspring in history. On
whose tab? To what purpose? Did she turn down any of these junkets?
Of course not. Again, it's so Clintonian the sense of entitlement,
of sneering, lofty indifference to the fact that this money I
am spending has been ripped from the pockets of hard-working Americans,
most of them much poorer than me, by force of law. The apple
does not fall far from the tree.
Item: When Chelsea went off to Stanford, we were told that she planned
to study to become a pediatric cardiologist. How noble! to
give over one's life to curing the heart problems of little kiddies!
Yeah, right. A Clinton, giving over her life for anything at all
herself. Now that there is no need for spin, we
hear that her next stop is at Oxford University to study economics.
That's about m-o-n-e-y. Much more interesting than those damn kids
and their stupid messed-up hearts.
Chelsea is a Clinton. She bears the taint; and though not prosecutable
in law, in custom and nature the taint cannot be ignored. All the
great despotisms of the past I'm not arguing for despotism
as a principle, but they sure knew how to deal with potential trouble
recognized that the families of objectionable citizens were
a continuing threat. In Stalin's penal code it was a crime to be
the wife or child of an "enemy of the people". The Nazis used the
same principle, which they called Sippenhaft, "clan liability".
In Imperial China, enemies of the state were punished "to the ninth
degree": that is, everyone in the offender's own generation would
be killed, and everyone related via four generations up, to the
great-great-grandparents, and four generations down, to the great-great-grandchildren,
would also be killed. (This sounds complicated, but in practice
what usually happened was that a battalion of soldiers was sent
to the offender's home town, where they killed everyone they could
find, on the principle neca eos omnes, deus suos agnoscet
"let God sort 'em out".)
We don't, of course, institutionalize such principles in our society,
and a good thing too. Our humanity and forbearance, however, has
a cost. The cost is, that the vile genetic inheritance of Bill and
Hillary Clinton may live on to plague us in the future. It isn't
over, folks. Dr. Nancy Snyderman, a "friend of the family" (how
much money did she give them?) is quoted as saying that Chelsea
shows every sign of following her parents into politics. "She's
been bred for it," avers Dr. Snyderman. Be afraid: be very afraid.