I'll be adding to my "Hillary columns" over the weekend -- and probably into Monday, August 13. Like her husband Bill, Mrs. Clinton is very good at winning elections -- and at building public support for sometimes dubious political positions. Her goal this year is to convey an aura of strength, although not necessarily one of consistency.
For example, when she began her campaign to win the nomination, the far-Left in her Party wanted her to "apologize" for voting to authorize the use of force in Iraq. After all, John Edwards apologized, and Barack Obama claimed to have opposed the War almost from birth.
Why didn't Hillary Clinton take the easy route and apologize? Probably because she doesn't really regret her vote. For her to express regret would suggest weakness -- fallibility -- which, as a female candidate, she must avoid. It reminds me of Alexander the Great's philosophy of life: "The weak give what they must, the strong take what they wish." She has the largest wish-list in American politics.
Unlike Ann Coulter, Mrs. Clinton would never call John Edwards a "faggot." However, she certainly doesn't mind the public image of Edwards, "the Haircut Man" and eyebrow-plucker, as the incarnation of prissiness. She also doesn't mind -- and in fact is feeding -- the emerging perception of Barack Obama as "naive."
She knows that the real issue with Obama isn't whether he's "Black enough." Rather, it's whether he has backbone enough.
"She is strong, and they are weak." That's exactly the picture she wants to burn into voters' minds. An apology for her vote on Iraq? Surely not! A commander-in-chief, and that's what she aspires to, cannot be associated with weakness or indecisiveness.
Admittedly, I'm somewhat in awe of Hillary Clinton's political skills. However, that doesn't mean I revere her as a human being. The woman's reputation for ruthless is not unearned.
She loves having her cake and eating it too. She can vote to authorize the conflict in Iraq -- and at the same time say, "This is BUSH'S WAR." It's certainly not HER war. She just voted to let George W. Bush go to war. Get it? If the war had been a success, she could now be running as Mrs. George S. Patton.
Clearly, the "Hillary Express" is willing to leave wheel marks on GWB. Yet she's not even above occasionally pushing her own her own husband off the bus. Recently, she denounced NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Only voters with relatively long memories will remember that NAFTA was one of the crowning foreign policy achievements of . . . President William Jefferson Clinton.
Fifty-plus years ago Judge Welch asked Senator Joseph McCarthy, "Have you no shame?" If we ask Mrs. Clinton -- the woman who always seems to have it both ways -- the same question I fear the answer will be: "Nope!"
Later this weekend, I'll discuss Mrs. Clinton -- the main apostle of socialized medicine in the U.S. -- denouncing as a "right-wing" falsehood the allegation that she favors, well, socialized medicine. Has the woman no shame?
Stephen R. Maloney
NOTE ON HEALTH CARE:
"Statesman" (Matt) at http://senseinpolitics.blogspot.com/ asked for my response to his June 11 column on "health care mutual funds." In his proposal, people would make contributions that would be used 50-50 to purchase health insurance and to make investments. I urge you to read the piece, because it exemplifies Matt's creative approach to solving political and economic problems.
However, the major failing of health care in America is that it costs too much. The American people pay 50%-plus more for such care than individuals in other developed countries -- without receiving anything like 50% more health. Our life expectancy is about the same as our counterparts in France (where people drink a lot of wine, eat fatty foods, and smoke cigarettes). We don't get our money's worth.
In fact, that's the problem with HillaryCare and other Democratic proposals. They will sharply increase the overall cost of health care, reduce the amount of choice that exists, and FAIL TO IMPROVE THE OVERALL QUALITY OF CARE.
I have a sinking feeling that, no matter who wins the election in 2008, a decade from now those wine-guzzling, cigarette-puffing, butter-and-cheese-eating Frenchmen are still going to live as long (or longer) than we do.
The health care problem in America won't be solved unless we as a country drive down costs. We don't need Hillary Clinton with modest variations on the same old (bad) ideas. We need people like Sarah Palin, Michael Steele, and Mike Huckabee who are open to new ideas.
In tomorrow's column, I'll show you what some of those ideas might look like. Let me give you a sneak peek.
In August, 2005, I found out that I had adult onset diabetes. I needed a medication to keep down my blood glucose levels (which were rivalling those of Patty LaBelle in the TV commercial). My doctor suggested the "Cadillac" (supposedly) of glucose-lowering drugs: Avandia, a prescription medicine produced by Glaxo-Smith-Kline.
With me, Avandia worked fine. One big problem: it cost $150 per month -- $3 per day for an 8 mg. dose. It chewed up much of my insurance deductible.
When I found my new doctor -- an Air Force veteran, medical superstar, and a mother of three named Kathleen Osten. I told her I wanted a cheaper drug. She recommended generic Glucophage (Metformin). It turned out that Metformin lowered my glucose numbers just all well as Avandia, and it did so without the latter's potentially harmful side-effects.
How much does Metformin cost? At Wal-Mart, it's $4 per month -- less than 8 cents per day. If I bought it by mail order, it would cost less than 3 cents per day.
Avandia's world-wide sales are $1.5 billion-plus, and most of those revenues derive from the U.S.. My view is that Avandia is, for most people, an expensive and unnecessary luxury. The same appears to be true of several other drugs, including Lipitor, an anti-cholesterol drug with worldwide sales of $12 BILLION-plus.
As I'm indicating, there are some simple ways to produce major savings in health care. The Republican candidates should be putting more emphasis on them. I don't think we can rely on Hillary Clinton to tackle the real problems.