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January 18, 2008

The First Look At Hillary Documents (Update & Bump)

Judicial Watch has tried to gain access to the records from Hillary Clinton's task force on revamping the American health-care system, and has been met with considerable resistance. After seeing the first batch released by the Clinton library, one can certainly understand why. In a press release from Judicial Watch earlier this evening, they excerpted some explosive passages within the documents, passages which will create some uncomfortable questions for Hillary on the campaign trail.

First, an internal critique of Hillary's plan marveled at the unprecedented scope of government control over a private industry -- at least in peacetime:

A June 18, 1993 internal Memorandum entitled, “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials “P.S.,” makes the startling admission that critics of Hillary’s health care reform plan were correct: “I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy…Is the public really ready for this?... none of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all…”

The other two excerpts paint the effort in an entirely new and darker light. First, Senator Jay Rockefeller proposed that the federal government conduct smear campaigns against the opponents of the plan:

A “Confidential” May 26, 1993 Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Health Care Reform Communications,” which criticizes the Task Force as a “secret cabal of Washington policy ‘wonks’” that has engaged in “choking off information” from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton “use classic opposition research” to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists” in order to deflect criticism.

Rockefeller had allies in mind for this effort:

Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage.”

Wow. Media Matters should contact Rockefeller to disabuse him of the myth of the liberal-biased press!

Some might wonder about the notion of the White House digging up dirt on its critics in order to shut them up. Of course, this memo came from Rockefeller to Hillary, and no one can say whether she responded affirmatively or scolded Rockefeller for his dangerous suggestion. We can say that the suggestion came up earlier:

A February 5, 1993 Draft Memorandum from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux detailing the Office of Public Liaison’s plan for the health care reform campaign. The memorandum notes the development of an “interest group data base” detailing whether or not organizations “support(ed) us in the election.” The database would also track personal information about interest group leaders, such as their home phone numbers, addresses, “biographies, analysis of credibility in the media, and known relationships with Congresspeople.”

Anyone remember Craig Livingstone and the 700 FBI raw-data files that the White House obtained illegally? The story broke in 1996, but the files got accessed in 1993 by the former director of the White House Office of Personnel Security. Judicial Watch sued over the case, attempting to uncover the reason the highly-confidential files were requested by the Clinton White House.

Even without that, the idea that the government should essentially spy on its critics as a means to extort their silence or to discredit them publicly is completely noxious. If nothing else, Rockefeller should have to answer for his proposal, and Hillary should produce her response to it. Voters should pay particularly close attention to this and remember how the Clintons worked and how they would undoubtedly work again if allowed back into the White House.

NOTE: Judicial Watch's website is down for some reason at the moment. I'll link to the specific documents when the site comes back up.

UPDATE & BUMP: Judicial Watch's website has come back up, with no word on what caused it to go down. The memoranda can now be read in full, and the Rockefeller memo has some interesting passages. He offers the suggestion that opponents should have their "lifestyles" exposed at least twice, and argues both for engaging lobbyists and smearing them.

Rockefeller also offers a little intellectually honest advice at least twice. When discussing abortion, he gets very terse (emphasis mine):

Response concepts: ... Full Reproductive Services. Do not engage on this topic.

When it comes to actually discussing the plan in detail, Rockefeller had this advice: don't do that, either. He wrote that the effort to mobilize public support should focus on providing only a "broad" picture of the benefits and costs, and that the Task Force would "LOSE by focusing on the mechanical details". Opponents of the plan had to be shown as "perpetrators" who had to be "isolated" from each other.

And remember, this isn't a political action commitee or an electoral office campaign. This was the elected government of the United States discussing how it would steamroller opposition to nationalizing an entire industry by smearing them and by avoiding discussion of the policy itself. It's an amazingly appalling piece of work, and West Virginians should ask themselves why Rockefeller continues to represent them. Voters nationwide should ask themselves if they want to return the Clintons to power and once again risk this kind of autocratic abuse of power.


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» Judicial Watch Finally Pries Open the Clinton Vault from Suitably Flip
The Judicial Watch website is down at the moment (possibly due to a massive traffic flood), but Captain Ed summarizes what the group found in the first collection of documents they managed to wrangle from the Clinton Library on the topic of Hillarycare... [Read More]

» Those Hillary-care Papers from Right Voices
Judicial Watch has posted them. Follow the link to read it all, but here is a sample for you that was posted at Michelle’s: • A June 18, 1993 internal Memorandum entitled, “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials ... [Read More]

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