Barbara Olson was one of the founders of the Independent Women’s Forum, and both she and the Independent Women’s Forum have come a long way since 1992. Barbara has been a regularly featured guest on our panels over the years, and she has appeared widely on television as a commentator. She was the Chief Investigative Counsel of the House Government Reform Committee, and in that capacity, she investigated both the Travelgate and Filegate scandals. She turned that experience into a compelling and fascinating new book, Hell to Pay: the Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Speaking truth to power” is a common catchphrase of the feminist hard left. But in fact, if there’s anybody who has spoken truth to power, who has championed right over might, who has defended the rule of law against the rule of men, it is our own Barbara Olson.
-IWF President Anita K. Blair
The title of my book, Hell to Pay, came out of the early scandal of the travel office firings. David Watkins was head of Clinton’s Office of Administration. In January of 1996, he sent a memo to Chief of Staff Mack McLarty, saying that they both knew there would be “hell to pay” if they failed to take swift and decisive action in conformity with the first lady’s wishes. That memo stuck in my mind. When I started to write this book, I realized there had been so much hell to pay by so many people in this White House. The real crimes against people were committed when they dared to cross the first lady’s wishes.
The Clinton administration’s firings were not just the travel office employees. You may remember that a White House usher, Chris Emory, was fired when he dared to talk to Barbara Bush about her computer. The switchboard ladies were fired who operated the telephone. The correspondence ladies were removed. The kitchen chef and the kitchen help were removed. The Secret Service was moved out of the residence. Cameras were taken down. There was a total turnover. At one point in my book I talk about the paranoia of the Clinton administration. That came full circle when we saw Hillary Clinton claim on television that there was a vast right wing conspiracy promoting allegations about her husband’s sexual liaison with Monica Lewinsky. Of course, those allegations were later proven true.
If you go back and read Mrs. Clinton’s writings about children, which are numerous, you see that her caring for children really extends to using them as political levers. Whenever Hillary has a position-on welfare, pollution, crime control-she quite often will say that these policies are for the children. And it’s very difficult, as everyone in Washington knows, to be against people when they say “it’s for children” because then you are evil and you are against children. I think that has worked very well for her.
One thing that really stopped me when I was re-searching her views on children was in an essay that she wrote. She said, “Decisions about motherhood and abortion, schooling, cosmetic surgery, treatment of venereal disease, or employment, and others where the decision or lack of one will significantly affect the child’s future should not be made unilaterally by the parents.” If the parents aren’t going to make these decisions for children, who is? If these decisions are going to be made by someone else, we’ll have to insert a government advocate into the family. And we all know what happens once a government advocate is inserted: We no longer have the traditional American family. We have the village that Hillary talks so much about. We have a family that has social workers and teachers and pediatricians inserted into the decision-making of the family unit.
It’s a philosophy of family socialism. It comes out of her sixties roots. It was carried throughout the seventies and it was implemented in Arkansas when she was helping Bill Clinton in his reelection. People have said, “Well, you know a lot of kids were sixties radicals.” But the more you look at her background, the more it becomes obvious that she was not merely a frivolous protester. This was a woman who studied under some of the hardest ideological gurus of the left.
In my book, I talk a great deal about the legendary radical activist Saul Alinsky and, indeed, I’ve opened all of my chapters with a quote from his book Rules for Radicals. The more I read Saul Alinsky, the more I saw that Hillary Clinton’s way of dealing with opposition comes right from him.
Saul Alinsky really disdained the SDS students and the students who were growing their hair long and scaring most of America. He said that was the wrong way to go about a revolution. What he recommended to Hillary and others was that you use your middle-class roots, that you infiltrate and you change the system from within.
After Hillary finished her Wellesley senior thesis under the mentoring of Saul Alinsky, he offered her a job. She turned it down to go to law school. If you follow her career and look at her writings and her work, you can see how she successfully internalized those rules for a soft, but radical revolution.
Barbara Olson, a lawyer currently in private practice, is a television commentator and legal analyst and is a member of the National Advisory Board of the IWF. She spoke to the IWF in November about her book, Hell to Pay (Regnery).