Jewish World Review April 5, 2000 /29 Adar II, 5760
Noonan: End Clintonism now
IN HER FASCINATING BOOK, "The Case Against Hillary Clinton," Peggy Noonan writes as a native New Yorker
and a patriotic American, who is warning all who will listen
that we must end Clintonism now.
Noonan, a writer's writer, sees the New York Senate race
as "the battle that may decide the war" -- the war that will
determine whether Clintonism will continue in America or
finally end. For her, this isn't personal, but the stakes are
quite high. "I wish her a long life with good health, much
friendship, and many grandchildren. But I do not wish to
see her succeed in continuing Clintonism in our national
life." She definitely sees New York as a stepping stone for
Hillary. "Don't fall for the one who only wants to use this
place as a stirrup to climb her way onto a horse called the
But what is Clintonism? It is not a political ideology, but
"the ethos, style, and character of the Clinton
administration." It is about "maximum and uninterrupted
power for the Clintons." Note that it is not about only Bill
or only Hillary. Noonan does a masterful job of
demonstrating the symbiotic relationship between the two.
They are mutually dependent and enabling. They are
partners in power.
Clintonism sees America as "the platform for the Clintons'
ambitions, not the focus of them." They are the kind of
people who pursue greatness for the sake of attaining
fame and acquiring the label of greatness, instead of
quietly achieving greatness by doing great things.
For the Clintons, any ends justify the means of advancing
their careers. As a result, deception, abuse of power,
scandal, smearing opponents and ruining perceived political
enemies is their joint legacy. In standing for Clintonism, the
Clintons "have made the American political landscape a
lower and lesser thing."
Most interesting is a section where Noonan describes
interviewing a longtime friend of Hillary's, a political ally
who "had been inclined to like Hillary," but ultimately
"couldn't." Noonan asked her to share her point of view,
but instead she brought to the interview a psychology book
on pathological narcissism that was a veritable case study
of the Clintons. When Noonan protested that to describe
Hillary as a narcissist was hardly an original observation,
her former friend explained that this was different. She
depicted Hillary and Bill as joint narcissists. "They have
done a particular kind of mind-meld."
The lady described the Clintons as being empty and
miserable apart from their power -- as people who derived
their sense of self-worth from public adoration. That's the
key to understanding why they won't just go away and
leave us alone. They are hooked on adulation. "He cannot
live a genuinely private life. Neither can she. So they must
be in ours. ... Which makes their private plight our public
Noonan brilliantly interweaves her various themes in
speculating about a scenario that may yet unfold. She
suggests that Hillary, in order to curry favor with New
York Jews, may come out in favor of presidential
clemency for Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a
life sentence in the U.S. Her husband would then deny her
request. This could play out in a threefer -- a three-for-one
PR bonanza because she would win points in New York,
Bill in the nation, and they could both thereby perpetuate
the fiction that they act independently from one another.
And we can be sure that they'll do it with a straight face.
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Noonan views the Clintons as having severely damaged
this country. Together they have used the office and
power of the presidency to destroy innocence and idealism
and institutionalize cynicism. Instead of using their position
and circumstances to do wonderful things, they have
degraded everything around us and have further debased
The author doesn't strike me as a frenzied partisan raging
against the Clintons. To her, this isn't about Republicans
versus Democrats or conservatives against liberals, but the
Clintons against New York and America, the state and
nation she loves. She seems particularly offended that
"they forgot to be grateful to the place that had made
them, and that ensured their rise. They forgot to love it."
"They have made their disturbance our disturbance; they
have foisted it upon a great nation."
This book is a must read. Its message must not be
commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
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