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* Bernstein says that Hillary, “furious that the mainstream press and even the tabloids had not gone after the supposed story of [then President George H.W.] Bush’s private life…pushed after the Gennifer Flowers incident to publicize allegations.”
Other examples and allegations abound, including the by now well-recognized charges of investigations into the private lives of women alleging mistreatment by Bill Clinton. It is all of a piece with Hillary Clinton’s threat to former Democratic Senator Bill Bradley that she would have the White House “demonize” any opponents to her health plan in 1993. Bernstein quotes Bradley thusly, in a near-perfect summary of the Queeg Factor: “It was obviously so basic to who she is: The arrogance, the assumption that people with questions are enemies,” said Bradley.
“There was a pattern,” insists Fabiani. “I mean it happened everytime. It happened with Whitewater in ‘92. It happened with the Travel Office. It happened when (White House Deputy Counsel Vince) Foster killed himself. You know, she was the one who got people together and figured out, you know, ‘How are we going to deal with this?’”
And the results were, after looking at the eight-year record of her role, quite reliably never good. Like Captain Queeg, Hillary Clinton and the presence of serious executive power simply did not mix. According to her biographers and former staff, she used this power-by-association to lie, to blame a conspiracy, or, as ex-Clinton-aide and now ABC TV host George Stephanopoulos wrote in his memoirs, to “savage” her opponents. She never hesitated to employ the resources of government to accomplish her purpose.
FORTY-TWO HUMAN BEINGS have occupied the presidency at this point in American history (Grover Cleveland twice non-consecutively.) Americans have learned the hard way about the Queeg Factor. After the 1974 departure of Richard Nixon in the shambles that was Watergate, when the nation had learned a president had maintained an enemies list, wiretapped even his own staff, and that burglaries of both the Watergate and Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office had taken place on his watch, with the President looking straight into the camera and lying, the lesson of the Queeg-factor appeared to have been learned. A look back in history, both past and recent, brought forth at-the-time warnings about Warren G. Harding’s and John F. Kennedy’s problems with women (both men) and corruption (Harding.) Harding’s Teapot Dome scandal emerged from the historical mists to be studied anew, and revelations about JFK’s shared Mafia mistress and the role of organized crime in Kennedy-sponsored plots to kill Fidel Castro surfaced for the first time. The role of the Queeg-like J. Edgar Hoover in effectively blackmailing JFK with his knowledge of the mob ties of the President’s mistress also was revealed.
These stories had an effect for a time. Americans on all sides of the political divide took care to nominate and elect candidates who, regardless of their philosophy or party, had reputations of personal responsibility and integrity. From Ford and Carter to Reagan, Mondale, Bush 41, and Michael Dukakis, the campaigns revolved around issues of philosophy and competence. Colorado Senator Gary Hart’s much-photographed dalliance with a young woman ended his front-running Democratic candidacy in 1987. None of the candidates who won nominations from 1976 to 1988 were ever accused of personal malfeasance or a Queeg-like abuse of power in any office they had held.
By 1992, Nixon had succeeded in what would be his last “comeback.” His reputation, and doubtless the harsh memories leading to his resignation then almost 20 years distant, had softened. Onto the stage strode candidate Bill Clinton and his soon-to-be famous spouse. Almost from the start of the Clinton campaign the candidate’s reputation as a relentless womanizer was out there — yet he was elected anyway, albeit with 43% of the vote in a three-way race. To re-read the report of the House Judiciary Committee on his impeachment is to take a bath in a sea of documented evidence of the abuse of the power of the presidency. Like the Nixon tapes, it is an X-ray of the Queeg Factor at work. To wit: “The President’s continued deceptions caused millions of tax dollars to be spent by not only the Office of Independent Counsel in its duly authorized investigation, but also by White House lawyers, communications employees and other government employees who were utilized to help perpetuate the President’s lies and defend him from his criminal conduct.”
By 1998, the fatal mixture of the Queeg Factor with inattention to Al Qaeda inevitably brought about not only the second impeachment drama in 25 years but laid the groundwork for a later serious tragedy at the hands of Osama bin Ladin.
So what is the Queeg Factor? In the words of one of Wouk’s characters, it’s an understanding that if a particular personality with a demonstrated record of abusing power is handed even more considerable power it is “just a question of time before he goes over the line.”
Senator Hillary Clinton’s record already “crawls with clues” that she carries the Queeg Factor. This time around, however, she will not be the president’s influential spouse. She will be the president — in charge of the FBI, the Justice Department, the CIA and everything else that moves in the bureaucracy that is the government of the United States.p>And you thought socialized health care was the scary issue. br> /p>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?