Chemo for the GOP: President Hillary


New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is one of the most loathsome modern American politicians, given her barely disguised support for massive government programs, her grating schoolmarm personality and her aggressive political behavior, yet I’m left hoping that she obliterates any of the front-running Republican candidates and has long-enough coattails to expand Democratic control of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Unless Republican candidate Ron Paul — the only supporter of liberty in the bunch of GOP ne’er do wells — somehow propels his impressive Internet campaign into an improbable electoral victory, there is nothing else, but a Clinton victory, that will save the Republican Party and help rebuild the nation’s long-suffering freedom movement.

How can an enemy of freedom help freedom?

Well, when you’ve got a headache, you take an aspirin. When you’ve got the flu, you take something a little stronger. When you’ve got cancer, you need chemotherapy, which kill cancer cells but can come perilously close to killing the patient. It’s a sad truth, but the Republican Party has the political equivalent of cancer. The party is immune from internal reform. Only the nastiest medicine imaginable can save it, and four (but probably eight) years of Clinton, backed by a Democratic congressional majority, is pretty tough medicine.

Columnist Joe Dumas, writing for the, captured the party’s problem succinctly: "It should come as no big revelation to anyone inside or outside of the Republican Party that the GOP has lost touch with its conservative roots. Massive deficit spending that would make Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter blush; foreign adventurism beyond the wildest dreams of Woodrow Wilson or Teddy Roosevelt; more big-government programs than FDR or LBJ (Google ‘Medicare expansion’ for a massive example) … the Republican Party of the early 21st century is clearly not your father’s or grandfather’s GOP."

Yet the party’s leaders, and a good bit of the grass roots, are in denial. They still think the candidate who can best imitate Ronald Reagan’s speech-making (Mitt Romney), or who has the best celebrity credentials (Fred Thompson), or who can best exploit national security issues and 9/11 (Rudy Giuliani) can stop the Hillary Express. But the problem goes well beyond superficial concerns. The GOP has a substance problem — none of the major candidates has the right ideas.

All the candidates, except for Paul, stand up for this foolish, unconstitutional, nearly genocidal war (1.2 million Iraqis have been killed since its start) and they continue to stand up for the police-state policies that have become the hallmark of the federal security state since the 9/11 attacks.

Sure, Democrats want to turn the health care system over to the equivalent of a federal Department of Motor Vehicles, and their overriding concern is how to regulate more and get more taxes out of society’s productive members. But monitoring the populace and waging war are equally destructive of the nation’s founding principles. I voted for George W. Bush (I’m sorry, really sorry) in large part because of his promises to pursue a less interventionist, "more humble" foreign policy. Yet look what happened after he took office, after 9/11 and after he placed neoconservative ideologues in top "defense" positions. Look at how so-called conservatives have gone along with this shift.

Throw in the Republican support for lighter versions of Democratic socialism — e.g., Bush’s Medicare prescription drug program, Romney’s government-heavy health care, Giuliani’s support for gun bans — and what’s the point?

The GOP presidential front-runner is Giuliani, perhaps the only politician on the national scene more ruthless, unprincipled and power-mad than Clinton. Remember when he tried to have the New York Legislature declare martial law after 9/11 so that he could stay in power indefinitely? There’s a reason for the Mussolini comparisons. What the media call Giuliani’s "unconventional" personal life certainly contradicts the party’s support for family values. He had his marriage to his first wife annulled after 14 years after he claimed to discover that they were actually second cousins rather than third cousins. As the Washington Monthly reported, "Giuliani informed his second wife, Donna Hanover, of his intention to seek a separation in a 2000 press conference. The announcement was precipitated by a tabloid frenzy after Giuliani marched with his then-mistress, Judith Nathan, in New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, an acknowledgement of infidelity so audacious that Daily News columnist Jim Dwyer compared it with ‘groping in the window at Macy’s.’"

The worst thing about Rudy: his love of government power. He showed it as a prosecutor, as he hauled supposed white-collar wrongdoers out of their Wall Street offices in handcuffs in front of the TV cameras, and as mayor as he defended even the most egregious abuses of police power, used his power to crack down on trivial offenses (jumping subway turnstiles, jaywalking, loitering). He constantly exploits 9/11 and his role in it and has earned tens of millions of dollars giving speeches about that fateful day. This Giuliani quotation, from a 1994 speech, sums up his philosophy: "Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do and how you do it."

There is one upside if Rudy wins the nomination and faces off against Hillary: a bare-knuckles, take-no-prisoners, political sleaze-fest between two junkyard dogs. Can you imagine the wonderful TV ads? It is a political journalist’s dream come true. Yet a Giuliani victory — indeed, a victory by any of the top GOP candidates — would cement the party’s totalitarian tendencies. Even the party’s social conservative wing, its most powerful grass-roots force, is ready to bolt if socially liberal Giuliani gets the nomination. Religious Right notables such as Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer met recently in Salt Lake City to discuss backing a third-party candidate. These folks are no friends of liberty, either. Still, their defection could assure that increasingly likely Clinton victory.

President Hillary Clinton is tough medicine, for sure, but the patient is on life support.

Steven Greenhut (send him mail) is a senior editorial writer and columnist for the Orange County Register. He is the author of the book, Abuse of Power.