“She’s a radical. If she gets in, whoa! Everybody had better fasten their seat belts”
President Richard Nixon spoke those words about Hillary Clinton to Monica Crowley, during the 1992 election cycle, when incumbent President George H. W. Bush was challenged by Arkansas Governor, Bill Clinton.
Of course, President Nixon was referring to the possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming First Lady, but the quote is prescient. I would love to know what the late President would have to say about the very real chance that she may soon be the first female President of the United States.
Richard Nixon knew Hillary Clinton from twenty years earlier, when she served on the committee to impeach him over the Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned rather than put the country through the ordeal of an impeachment trial, but in retrospect, Watergate pales in comparison to the Clinton transgressions. And they are many!
Even before Bill Clinton won the presidency, his extramarital affairs made headlines, prompting an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes where he, with a dutiful Hillary by his side, could defend himself directly to the American people. It was a successful maneuver, and he emerged unscathed from the same allegations that cost Gary Hart his 1988 presidential candidacy.
Shortly after Clinton’s election, the Whitewater controversy emerged, and Nixon was incensed that the Republicans failed to hold the Clinton’s feet to the fire as the Democrats had joyfully held his. The suicide of Hillary’s friend, former law partner, and White House counsel, Vince Foster, who had links to Whitewater, sparked further interest when it was discovered that files related to the Clinton’s went missing from his office the evening of his death.
President Nixon believed that Bill Clinton’s election, “lowered dramatically the moral gauge not only for the presidency but for the country”.(Crowley) Through his involvement in Watergate, Nixon acknowledged his own damage to the ideal of the presidency politically, but now it was also damaged personally. The time when someone seeking the office of the presidency was held to a higher standard of morality and character appeared to be over.
After his election, President Clinton began to consult with Nixon on foreign policy issues and invited him to join Hillary and he in their private quarters at the White House. Nixon quickly developed the opinion that Hillary was the real force behind Bill Clinton.
He said, “she’s the brain; he’s the vessel” and described her as “ice-cold”. “She represents everything she claims to condemn: all of that money-making greed and opportunism she and her gang criticized the Reagan era for-well, they are just as guilty of it. Hypocrites! Their hearts bleed for the poor just as long as they aren’t poor.”
With all Richard Nixon’s experience interacting with world leaders over his forty-plus years in politics, I would imagine he was a rather astute judge of character, and he was wary of Hillary. Apparently, the same cannot be said for the average American voter. Hillary is still ahead of Donald Trump in the polls, and I think she will be hard to stop. The media used to refer to President Reagan as the “Teflon candidate”, but Hillary is way ahead of him on that score.
She is immune to scandal, above culpability and evidently above prosecution. Since they entered the political arena in Arkansas over forty years ago, the Clintons have been involved in a shocking number of personal and political offenses. None have slowed their momentum. It is hard to imagine that anything will.
The election cycle of 2016 should have been an easy win for the GOP. After eight years of America’s destruction at the hand of Barack Obama, ANY credible Republican candidate would have made quick work of Hillary Clinton. Her unfavorable rating is exceeded only by Donald Trump’s. The ONE candidate Hillary Clinton consistently defeated in all the primary polls is the candidate the GOP chose to represent them.
So, the woman that President Nixon warned us about 24 years ago, is most likely going to get her shot at the top job this November.
Fasten your seat belts!
Crowley, Monica. “Part II.” Nixon off the Record. New York: Random House, 1996. N. pag. Print.
Crowley, Monica. “Part II.” Nixon in Winter: The Last Campaign. New York: Random House, 1996. N. pag. Print.