The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
I have to face it: my loathing of the Clintons and their administration is so intense that it has become absolute, unbounded, almost cosmic in its grandeur. As Clinton's fortunes have gone on a continuing emotional rollercoaster, mine have been exactly inverse; when he's up, I'm down, and vice versa. Whenever he takes a nose dive, to quote from the late Ben Hecht in a very different context, I make a little holiday in my heart.
Not that I've been a great fan of any of our Imperial Presidents. But looking back, in each one of their administrations there has been something, some aspect, that has been, if not a redeeming feature, at least some break in the overall miasma of evil. I detested Harry Truman, but for a year he had a Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson, who was a maverick and a great guy, a real budget-cutter and an isolationist, the last of the breed in that office. Jimmy Carter was a disaster, but he did manage (courtesy of economist Alfred E. Kahn) to push through deregulation of oil and gas, trucking, and abolition of the Civil Aeronautics Board. Jerry Ford was no bargain, but he didn't do anything catastrophic, and his klutziness in banging into things was rather endearing. The only previous President in my lifetime whom I find as consistently detestable as Bill and Hillary was Franklin and Eleanor. Things, though, were a little different, since I was young in most of the Roosevelt Era, so my full appreciation of FDR's total evil came a bit after he had passed over to his just reward. After long contemplation, I finally came up with one policy of FDR's I can agree with: his refusal to be stampeded by the left into intervening on the side of the Reds in the Spanish Civil War. Against sixteen years of un-relieved Rooseveltian horror, it's not much to put in the balance, but at least it's something, and the people of Spain can be thankful they were spared the dreadful evil of Communist rule.
But in contemplating the year and a half or so of Clintonian rule, I can't think of one feature of the regime which I can even contemplate with calm indifference, let alone agree with. Every Clintonian policy in every area has been execrable. But not just the policy; there is the entire style of the administration, what the Marxists refer to as its "style of work": it's one abomination after another. Think of it: the demonic energy of Clinton and his young punk advisers, sitting up late in the White House, in and out of each other's offices, wolfing down Big Macs and planning how to run our lives. Clinton's incessant babbling, his Everready rabbit "Comeback Kid" persistence; his terribly leftist appointments. I early reached the point where I simply couldn't stand the sight (or especially the sound) of Slick Willie on TV: those Fatso legs jogging; that unctuous smile; the puffy eyes and nose; that hoarse voice mouthing lies and evasions: the whole bit.
But even I didn't realize I was missing a key element in my symphony of Clinton-hate. It hit me when I was reading the marvelous article in the April Chronicles by the distinguished Southern literary critic and novelist George Garrett. Garrett points out that each recent president liked to surround himself with certain definite types of people: Truman, down-home laughers and scratchers; Jack Kennedy, Harvard types and "lace-curtain Irish," etc. "The Clinton pattern?," he asks. Garrett's answer: "Ugly. He has surrounded himself with some of the most singularly unattractive people ever collected."
That's it, I exclaimed! I've never seen such ugly. Clinton promised us he would appoint people who would "look like America." Look like America? He has surrounded himself with a veritable Freak House, a cornucopia of the grotesque. The collection makes the Addams Family seem like attractive Ken and Barbie Americans.
Think about it: there is Old Prune-Face Warren Christopher; there is the little wispy teenager Stephanopoulos; little Bernie Nussbaum, who looks like one of Satan's lesser assistants; Dr. Joycelyn Elders with the phony Brit accent; and twisty-faced Mickey Kantor, who might qualify as the ugliest presidential appointee of all time. But the toperoo in the Clintonian stable of deformity is the Gruesome Four, who I offer for the reader's horrified contemplation: the three hideous midgets Robert Reich, Donna Shalala, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, the latter resembling and talking like nothing so much as a rather small beetle; flanking the six-foot-six Super-Ugly butch geekess, Janet Reno. Ponder those four, looking like genetic mutants of each other. Ugly, ugly!
Now I'm really not asking for much. I'm not asking for pretty, or handsome, in our political leaders. I'm not asking for Ken and Barbie, although they would be like manna from heaven after this diet of Clintonian monstrosities. Just, well, normal. Our leaders shouldn't "look like America," whatever that is supposed to mean, they should look like leaders, like successful people in their walks of life. In the looks department, I think back with fondness to the Eisenhower administration.
I wasn't happy about that administration, but I must say this for them: they looked like leaders are supposed to look: successful, middle-aged, golf-playing businessmen. And Ike's Secretary of Treasury George Humphrey, not only looked great, he was probably the last good Treasury Secretary: a free-market, budget-cutting type. Yes, yes, I know that looks are less important than the content of policies. But we shouldn't underrate the aesthetic dimension of our leaders either, especially now that television is inflicting their presence upon all of us, as uninvited guests in our homes. These Clintonian monstrosities are imposing upon all of us what economists call "negative externalities"; their very presence is gravely lowering our "quality of life."
In short, the Clinton administration has been a horror and a disaster on every level, even the aesthetic.
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