With her intimidating lead in the polls, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential juggernaut looks increasingly unstoppable. This may have emboldened the New York Democrat to stop masquerading as a moderate and instead flaunt her full-throated, left-wing radicalism.
With a Sept. 27-30 ABC News/Washington Post poll showing her eclipsing Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., 53 percent to his 20, the ever-calculating Clinton now may feel free to peddle higher-octane liberalism.
Consider her Sept. 28 pitch to a Congressional Black Caucus symposium:
“I like the idea of giving every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that young person turns 18, if they (sic) have finished high school, they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that down payment on their first home.”
Given roughly 4 million annual births, Clinton’s proposal would cost taxpayers some $20 billion each year.
In 1972, then-Sen. George McGovern similarly offered every American a $1,000 “Demogrant.” Rather than be bribed with their own money, voters overwhelmingly re-elected the South Dakota Democrat’s opponent, Richard Nixon.
Now, Clinton has resurrected McGovern’s Vietnam-era brainstorm and retooled it for the ’00s. Today, it’s for — all together now — “the children.” She also inflated McGovern’s concept, almost perfectly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ online inflation calculator indicates that $1,000 in 1972 now equals $4,974.09. At least concerning “the children,” Clinton is 100.52 percent for McGovern’s promise.
Clinton’s Swedish-style idea lacks affluence testing. Every infant would score a $5,000 baby bond — from East L.A. to East Hampton. Fittingly, Clinton has said: “I am a fan of a lot of the social policies that you find in Europe.”
Clinton’s SCHIP reform also would air-raid cash on Americans as if from B-52s. While senators extended the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to families of four earning thrice the poverty line ($61,950), she advocated eligibility at quadruple that threshold — a scandalous $82,600.
It now transpires that an SCHIP concept was among Clinton’s fallbacks if “HillaryCare” crashed, which it stunningly did. Tuesday’s Politico.com revealed a 1993 memo in which White House staffers outlined “Kids First.”
“This proposal phases in universal coverage,” the draft states. “Under this approach, health-care reform is phased in by population, beginning with children.”
Clinton’s spend-o-rama accelerated with her latest government-medicine scheme unveiled Sept. 17. This mandate-rich program would cost taxpayers $110 billion annually.
Indeed, the National Taxpayers Union reports that during the 109th Congress, Clinton proposed $170.8 billion in net expenditure hikes. She is the Senate’s seventh-biggest spender, far behind outlay champ Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., at $813.7 billion, but comfortably ahead of gravy boats like Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., at $152.6 billion, and Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada at $119.2 billion.
Clinton spurned Sen. John Cornyn’s affirmation that America’s Iraq commander, Army Gen. David Petraeus, “deserves the full support of the Senate” and that senators “strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus and all members of the United States Armed Forces.” The Texas Republican’s amendment rebuffed the notorious “General Petraeus or General Betray Us” ad that MoveOn.org purchased at the New York Times’ apparently illegal discount price.
Cornyn’s measure passed on Sept. 20, 72-25, with ample Democratic support. However, Clinton broke left of such liberal stalwarts as California’s Dianne Feinstein, Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski, all of whom backed Petraeus and America’s troops. Clinton showed them the back of her hand.
The ever-cautious Clinton occasionally exposes her true ideological core. “We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good,” she told San Franciscans in June 2004. As first lady, she said: “We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.”
Clinton is a hardened socialist, despite the mainstream media’s efforts to portray her as a “centrist” merely because she is not as over-a-cliff-left as Michael Moore or MoveOn.org’s patron, George Soros. Worse, her ethical corner-cutting routinely attracts dodgy, cash-rich rogues like recently captured fugitive fund-raiser Norman Hsu.
With their worst possible nightmare lurking around the corner, Republicans urgently must coalesce around the GOP contender best prepared to shear Hillary Clinton’s blond ambition.
(New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.murdock(at)gmail.com.)