L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 107, February 5, 2001
FOOD AND DRUG
The Last Food Fight -- Clinton Staff Proves a Class Act to the End
by Vin Suprynowicz
Special to TLE
At the time he published his book Unlimited Access: An FBI Agent Inside the Clinton White House, Gary Aldrich was accused of exaggerating his reports of undignified conduct at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- everything from the Hillary Clinton throwing lamps, to prophylactics hung by the Christmas tree with care, to unusual sex acts in inappropriate places. Either that, or the feeling seemed to be that Mr. Aldrich was -- at the least -- a bit of a prude; a member of the hired help who had no business carrying tales.
But as the truth about the gang that has occupied the nation's first house for the past eight years -- setting records for the number of staffers granted "permanent waivers" from normally routine tests for illicit drug use, for instance, while continuing to hypocritically jail hundreds of thousands of young men of color for the same behavior -- the public may yet wish they had paid closer attention to Mr. Aldrich's warnings.
The Washington Post reports Bush officials moving into their offices last week found obscene messages left in copying machines, while the "W" key had been popped off many computer keyboards. (George Walker Bush had made a three-fingered "W" his signature salute in the waning days of his campaign.)
Initially, such incidents were portrayed as harmless hijinks. But by Thursday, Bush officials were describing serious damage -- including cut computer and telephone cords -- that has cost taxpayer money to repair.
According to a report in last week's Washington Times, Clinton staffers flying Air Force One to New York after the Bush inauguration virtually cleaned out the plane of anything that wasn't nailed down, from blankets and pillows to champagne glasses and tubes of toothpaste. Much of what couldn't be stolen was destroyed.
Meantime, while Senate ethics rules prevent her from accepting gifts worth more than $50 after her swearing-in as New York's freshman senator on Jan. 3, the Associated Press now reports Hillary Clinton skirted those rules by assigning her friend, Rita Pynoos of Beverly Hills, Calif., to solicit gifts from supporters worth more than $190,000 before the deadline -- sofas, easy chairs, rugs, paintings, china, abnd sculpture which will now be used to furnish the Clintons' two new homes: a five-bedroom house in Chappaqua, N.Y. and another five-bedroom home in the Embassy Row area of Washington.
Actress Mary Steenburgen and her husband, Ted Danson, gave $4,787 in china.
The Post further reports a high-ranking Bush campaign official has accused some Clinton staffers of taking White House paintings and trying to have them shipped to themselves. Others are said to have steamed official seals off office doors and tried to have those shipped. In response, the incoming Bush administration ordered all packages X-rayed starting at noon Saturday.
Ours is an informal nation. President Washington didn't wish anyone to bow before him, or call him "majesty." No one expects today's White House staff to wear starched collars on weekends. But liberal commentators may yet have cause to regret the eight years they spent ridiculing all warnings that Mr. Clinton and his staff were permanently eroding the respect formerly afforded the nation's highest office.
Sometimes the little things speak volumes about people's underlying attitudes. From the day they moved into the White House, Mr. Clinton's Best and Brightest have evoked hushed dismay among long-time Washingtonians with their sense of entitlement and their level of thoughtless arrogance -- staffers right up to the first family expecting Marine sentries to act as busboys and bellhops; men as distinguished as Vernon Jordan sent to chauffeur the president's mopsy to prestigious Pentagon job interviews.
It should thus have come as no great surprise when this sense of entitlement led Mr. Clinton to rent out the Lincoln Bedroom to Red Chinese agents bearing bags of campaign cash in exchange for classified missile technology -- when such disrespect for any person or institution not part of "their crowd" soon extended to the Clintons' savage defamation of their political opponents, of the credibility and purity and even sanity of each in the chain of women who reluctantly came forward to complain about Mr. Clinton's sexual aggression -- even to the arrogant and unjustified treatment of a church full of innocent women and children in Waco, Texas.
There is one bright side to these revolting displays. The desperation of the Clintons and their staff to skirt every rule, take every advantage, cart off everything that's not tied down, may at least show they've subconsciously realized Americans have begun to wise up to their act -- that they're not likely to get back into the White House again in their lifetimes.
And that would be a good thing.
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