Hil­lary’s not-so-lit­tle list

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Politi­cians, like ele­phants, cul­ti­vate long mem­o­ries. Like ele­phants, some politi­cians don’t get mad, they get even. No­body chan­nels ele­phants like Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton. Bubba mod­er­ates his rep­u­ta­tion for mis­chief with good ol’ boy bon­homie. Hil­lary, not so much.

A new book out next month, “HRC: State Se­crets and the Re­birth of Hil­lary Clin­ton,” by Jonathan Allen of Politico and Amie Parnes of The Hill, re­counts how she has tracked who’s with her and who’s not over the years and through the peaks and val­leys of the end­less Clin­ton cam­paigns, be­gin­ning long ago in ex­otic Arkansas. She has an ele­phant’s mem­ory and Richard Nixon’s tal­ent for com­pil­ing a long list of those to be re­paid in kind.

The book de­scribes a po­lit­i­cal hit list com­piled by two of Mrs. Clin­ton’s clos­est cam­paign aides, soon af­ter she sus­pended her pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in June 2008 and sur­ren­dered to the in­evitable whose name was Barack Obama. In an early draft of the Clin­ton list, “each Demo­cratic mem­ber of Congress was as­signed a nu­mer­i­cal grade, from 1 to 7,” with those most help­ful to her cam­paign get­ting a 1, “and the most treach­er­ous draw­ing 7s.” Among the sevens were John F. Kerry and Teddy Kennedy, then se­na­tors from Mas­sachusetts, who had en­dorsed Barack Obama. The Clin­tons felt be­trayed be­cause Bubba had cam­paigned hard for Mr. Kerry. Mr. Kennedy was said to be up­set by the hard­ball “tone” of the Clin­ton at­tacks on Mr. Obama, whom he viewed as the heir to Camelot, that fan­tas­ti­cal and imag­i­nary never-never land where Ir­ish whiskey drowns all sor­rows and dis­ap­point­ments.

“There was a spe­cial cir­cle of hell re­served for peo­ple who had en­dorsed Obama or stayed on the fence af­ter Bill and Hil­lary had raised money for them, ap­pointed them to a po­lit­i­cal post” or oth­er­wise helped them, the au­thors write.

The lat­ter-day Dante re­serves her hottest cir­cle of hell for Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. “Hate is too weak a word to de­scribe the feel­ings Hil­lary’s core loy­al­ists still have for [Mrs.]McCaskill,” they write. She earned her place atop Hil­lary’s en­e­mies list by say­ing in a de­bate that she thought Mr. Clin­ton had been “a great leader, but I don’t want him near my daugh­ter.” Mrs. McCaskill, the mother of two of them, re­al­ized her glib re­mark at once, but by say­ing what al­most any mother would have said, the dam­age was done. Mrs. Clin­ton im­me­di­ately can­celed a fundraiser for her.

“Al­most six years later, most Clin­ton aides can still rat­tle off the names of traitors and the fa­vors that had been done for them … as if it all had hap­pened just a few hours be­fore. The data project en­sured that all the acts of sin­ners and saints would never be for­got­ten” from an ele­phan­tine mem­ory.

No one who has fol­lowed the Clin­tons through the years are shocked by any of this, and be­sides, com­pil­ing fa­vors lists and call­ing in chits is stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dure in pol­i­tics. But Mrs. Clin­ton takes the con­cept to an en­tirely new level. In the Nixon era, whence the one­time Gold­wa­ter Girl sprang, there were few com­put­ers and no Mi­crosoft Ex­cel spread­sheets to help keep track, but with the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race soon to burst upon us, Hil­lary is mak­ing a lit­tle list with the re­morse­less ef­fi­ciency of the NSA.

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