What Is Missing From “Game Change”
© Jack Cashill
WorldNetDaily.com - February 4, 2010
Had authors John Heilemann and Mark Halperin ended “Game Change” with Barack Obama’s victory in the Democratic primaries, they might have written the best campaign book of all time.
But they did not. In the last third of the book, the authors wander into terra incognita, conservative America, and they fully lose their bearings.
It is as if Margaret Mitchell had chosen to leave Tara and Twelve Oaks, about whose intrigues she writes so knowingly, and ventured a disquisition on the scary slave quarters out back.
Authors Heilemann and Halperin are aghast at the “right wing freak show.” They wonder why the “flying monkeys” of talk radio resent an obliging house Republican like John McCain.
They are particularly upset that McCain let a field hand like Sarah Palin enter the big house through the front door and cite any number of domesticated Republicans who share their horror. “You betcha!”
This much should be obvious to any conservative reader of a book that deserves to be read nonetheless. Less obvious, but equally unsettling, is the authors’ quiet rehabilitation of the Clintons.
True, the Clintons that we meet can be petty, profane, and vindictive. Memories of Monica and March Rich have forever damaged them and scarred even Clinton loyalists. This we are told.
What we are not told about is the presidential campaign of 1996, a campaign Senator Fred Thompson would call “the most corrupt political campaign in modern history,” and he was not exaggerating.
Although there are many references to the bruising campaign of 1992—Gennifer Flowers, the Comeback Kid, and at least five reminisces about New Hampshire—the authors collapse the much more indicative 1996 campaign into one sentence whose punch line is Dick Morris toe-sucking a prostitute.
They have apparently not read the Thompson report, which did a concise job of summarizing how the Clintons saved their bacon after the Democratic debacle of November 1994:
The president and his top advisors decided to raise money early for his re-election campaign. To accomplish their goal, the president and his top advisors took control of the DNC and designed a plan to engage in a historically aggressive fund-raising effort, utilizing the DNC as a vehicle for getting around federal election laws. The DNC ran television advertisements, created under the direct supervision of the president, which were specifically designed to promote the president’s re-election.
This would have been scandal enough to impeach a Republican, but it gets much worse. Again from the Thompson Committee:
The president and his aides demeaned the offices of the president and vice president, took advantage of minority groups, pulled down all the barriers that would normally be in place to keep out illegal contributions, pressured policy makers, and left themselves open to strong suspicion that they were selling not only access to high-ranking officials, but policy as well. Millions of dollars were raised in illegal contributions, much of it from foreign sources.
Those “foreign sources,” of course, included the People’s Republic of China, whose payback came in the form of newly liberated supercomputers and missile technology. Remember John Huang, anyone, or Wang Jun?
Good liberals that they are, authors Heilemann and Halperin have shoved this whole episode deep down the memory hole.
To be fair, they may not have known much about it. There were two contemporary books written about the 1996 campaign: The Choice by Bob Woodward and Back From The Dead by Evan Thomas and his colleagues at Newsweek. Neither shed any light.
In the foreword of Thomas’s book, Joe Klein captures the blithe, empty headed spirit of mainstream reporting on the campaign: “Bill Clinton, by shrewdness, luck and love of the game, came back from a near-death experience to win a second term.”
In Woodward’s defense, in the paperback edition to his book, he had the grace to admit he “vastly underestimated the significance of money” in the campaign. Apparently, no one read the paperback.
Incredibly, selling our souls to China to get the Clintons re-elected may not have been the worst result of the 1996 campaign.
After being humiliated in the 1994 mid term elections, the Clinton White House chose to tailor all major terrorist investigations in the two years that followed to assure the re-election of the president.
This scheme involved Oklahoma City, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, TWA Flight 800, the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, and indirectly, the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in a Croatian plane crash.
These incidents all took place during the 1995-1996 campaign within 16 months of each other, and in every case the Clintons chose not to pursue the truth or share it lest it threaten their re-election prospects.
By corrupting these investigations, by denying the public information about the very real threat of Islamic terrorism, the Clintons left America wide open on September 11.
One can almost forgive Woodward and Evans for their hasty first drafts of history. But Heilemann and Halperin are—in the Clintons’ case—writing a second draft. And for this, there is little excuse.
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