Political Hay

Beating Around the Bush

A week of discussing human rights abuses in the Congo and America.

By 8.13.09

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Having long endured the indignity of marriage to a man accused of pawing women like Kathleen Willey and one rape charge from Juanita Broaddrick, Hillary Clinton was annoyed earlier this week at the apparent deference shown to her husband in rape-ravaged Africa. "I'm not going to be channeling my husband," she said bitterly in response to a Congolese student who wanted from her a wifely report on his latest political thoughts, or so she assumed.

According to press reports, the question, "What does Mr. Clinton think?," was garbled by a translator. The student was actually referring to President Obama. No matter; Hillary scented sexism and pounced. "Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state. I am."

The exchange would have been even more interesting had the translator botched the question further and asked her to sketch Bill's thoughts on the exploitation of women, the subject of her visit to the Congo.

Maureen Dowd suggests another reason for her annoyance: while she was sweating it out in the Congo, Clinton was goofing off in Las Vegas. "She may have been steamed about Bill celebrating his upcoming 63rd birthday in Las Vegas with his posse. The Times's Adam Nagourney irritated Clinton Inc. when he reported that Bill went to the pricey Craftsteak restaurant at the MGM Grand Hotel Monday night with Hollywood moguls Steve Bing and Haim Saban, and former advisers Terry McAuliffe and Paul Begala, among others."

In other words, as Hillary was meeting with sexually abused women—the recruitment of more female police officers in the Congo, by the way, was proposed as one solution at the NGO meetings—Clinton was doing a post-Korea victory lap in the city of Tailhook.

But Americans, even without the distraction of her outburst, probably wouldn't have paid much attention to her reports on human rights abuses in the Congo anyways. They are more interested these days in human rights abuses at home. "Death panels" have become a First World, not Third World, subject.

"The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for 'death panels' that will basically pull the plug on Grandma," Obama said the other day. This from a politician who declared last year in a debate with Hillary that his biggest regret as a senator was not supporting more loudly those who called for Terri Schiavo's death.

There is no reason to take Obama's denials seriously. Why, logically, wouldn't his government-run health care include death panels? He who pays the piper calls the tune, and the pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia federal government under him is the only piper here.

Given that the federal government already forces all Americans to pay for abortions at home and abroad, why would it abstain from doing so under a new health care regime? Whatever is enacted will reflect the moral philosophy of the Obama administration, which rests on the assumption that the lives of the unborn, disabled, and elderly are worth less than the strong. Rationing would inevitably proceed on this principle.

Under a health care regime informed by Obama's moral philosophy, the right to die will quickly become a duty to die; the right to abort a disabled child will become a duty to abort a disabled child. Look at the death panels in Holland, where, as one official there has put it, the "culture" decides who is worthy of continued care. These forecasts aren't "scare tactics," as Obama calls them, but an obvious recognition of what liberalism has already sanctioned in our lifetimes.

After eight years of indulging unseemly protests, the establishment left has suddenly taken an interest in "civility." Perhaps we'll hear them again call for "civility commissions," an opportunistic tactic they tried after Republicans took over Congress in 1994. The citizenry, they feel, isn't sufficiently servile yet, and will need more exposure to "civility" panels in order to train them to accept placidly death ones.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.