- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 14, 1999

Hillary Rodham Clinton has a new persona. She’s no longer the most abused little wife in America, for whom we all had a Judeo-Muslim-Buddhist-(and maybe even voodoo)-Christian duty to feel pity.
Now she’s our coal-mine canary.
When the coal mine runs low on oxygen, the canary sings. When we want to know what her husband thinks, we must listen to Hillary. When we want to know what government policies with far-reaching consequences are about to be formulated, we look to see what Hillary’s Senate campaign needs this morning. When Hillary speaks, repudiating Bill’s policy du jour, we can expect him to fall in line as he begins the slow fade to the Island of Lost Presidents.
Not since Woodrow Wilson have we had a president so controlled by his wife’s pouts and whims, and Mr. Wilson had a good excuse. He was dying slowly of a stroke and probably had no clear idea of what was going on around him.
Mr. Clinton’s only excuse is that being the first lady to a prospective senator is new to him, and he’s on a learning curve. He’s had lots of experience running in hot pursuit of women, just not in walking two steps behind a wife.
He can count on his learning curve being a fast one. Hillary’s famous listening tour of New York has morphed into a pandering tour, with obeisances to Jews, blacks, Puerto Ricans, Palestinians and now Manhattan’s powerful lavender lobby.
No sooner had the first lady told a gathering of homosexuals that her husband’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military was not working than the president himself, who had had seven years to notice that it wasn’t working, suddenly announced that By George! now that the missus mentions it, it really isn’t.
Light bulbs went off over frightened heads at the Pentagon, too, where all by coincidence, naturally generals, admirals and dozens of sisters, cousins and aunts, all very proficient in how to salute when they see an excess of brass glistening on a passing collar, are said to be already hard at work to “fine-tune” the policy and are developing new training guidelines, which we can expect to see “very shortly.” Very shortly we may not have an Army and a Navy with fighting spirit, but we’ll the most sensitive sailors and compassionate soldiers this side of Stockholm.
Samuel Berger, the president’s top national security adviser, insists now that someone mentions it the president’s comments are not different from the conclusions of an internal Defense Department review. (Of course not.)
John McCain, who has an unusual perspective in Washington because he actually served in the military and, unlike the president and his advisers, actually knows what he’s talking about, was the first to rise to the defense of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” As usual, he minced neither words nor footwork.
When an end man on one of the Sunday-morning minstrel shows asked whether he supports “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the senator replied without hesitation: “Absolutely.”
Said Mr. McCain: “It seems to me that that [the president] undermines the men and women in the military who are trying to implement the policy that has been in existence for seven years. If the president wants to review the policy, that’s fine with me. All policies should be reviewed from time to time, and I think it might be appropriate to do so.
“But what do you think the men and women now, who are in positions of command all over the world in the military, are saying to themselves this morning? What’s he talkin’ about? I’ve been trying to do the best that I can.’ Now, if there are problems in this policy, then let’s talk about them in an orderly fashion under the aegis of a policy review, rather than this kind of well, it’s just typical of this president. And naturally suspicions will arise that he’s following on to help his wife’s candidacy for the Senate. It’s an inappropriate comment. You would think that he would have called the Joint Chiefs together over at the White House and said in a formal way, “Look, I need to review this policy, I don’t think it’s being implemented right, or it’s not working right, or something like that, rather than coming on the heels of his wife’s announcement. There will always be problems in a policy of this nature. This is the most volatile, emotional issue probably that we face.”
Indeed it is, and the president and his wife will deal with it the way they deal with everything, looking first to measure the short-term advantages that may be available to them and leaving to others the squalid task of cleaning up. The nation’s military, like the presidency itself, is merely a vessel to be emptied to satisfy the lusts and appetites of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

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