After a five-year battle with two presidential administrations, Judicial Watch finally got notification of a large cache of documents at the Clinton Presidential Library related to Hillarycare. How large? Try 54,527 pages.
No matter what we find, this much I know: It should never have taken five years to obtain documents that were (a) 13-years-old at the time of our initial request and (b) were supremely relevant to the ongoing discussions regarding Obamacare.
We can speculate as to why the Bush administration would have refused to release the documents. Former President Bush demonstrated distaste for exposing the Clinton scandals from the get-go. Perhaps he feared retaliation by the Clinton smear machine. Or perhaps he simply wanted to move beyond the controversies of the past, as he publicly expressed. It was our experience that his administration was generally hostile to open records laws, which had the coincidental effect of helping protect him, the Clintons, and his father!
We can speculate as to why the Obama administration, the self-promoted “most transparent” administration in history, kept these documents secret until after Obamacare was signed into law. President Obama apparently wanted to avoid any comparisons between his healthcare reform initiative and that of the former First Lady, an unpopular boondoggle that nearly forced President Clinton from office. Oh, and he likely did not wish to embarrass his Secretary of State or Bill Clinton, a prolific influence peddler and money-man for the Democrats.
After all, the similarities between Hillarycare and Obamacare, both in terms of policy and in terms of execution, are many — which is not surprising, as both involve the socialist effort to have the government take over the health care industry.
July 2008, Judicial Watch did manage to force the release of some Clinton Presidential Library records related to Hillary Clinton’s healthcare campaign. (You can view them all here.) Certainly the Obama administration viewed the negative press coverage these documents earned as a threat to their drive for socialized medicine.
Check out the following excerpts from documents we uncovered and you’ll see what I mean.
- A June 18, 1993, internal Memorandum entitled, “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials “P.S.,” makes the startling admission that critics of Hillary’s health care reform plan were correct: “I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime history for such broad and centralized control over a sector of the economy…Is the public really ready for this?… none of us knows whether we can make it work well or at all…” (Some guessed that the author of this memo is Paul Starr, who served as head of Hillary’s Health Care Task Force staff.)
Of course we now know President Obama took it a step further, sticking a provision into his law which mandates the American people must purchase healthcare insurance or be fined. This provision, which had no precedent in American history, was recently declared unconstitutional by a federal court in Florida and is headed for a showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court.
- A “Confidential” May 26, 1993, Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Health Care Reform Communications,” which criticizes the Task Force as a “secret cabal of Washington policy ‘wonks'” that has engaged in “choking off information” from the public regarding health care reform. The memorandum suggests that Hillary Clinton “use classic opposition research” to attack those who were excluded by the Clinton Administration from Task Force deliberations and to “expose lifestyles, tactics and motives of lobbyists” in order to deflect criticism. Senator Rockefeller also suggested news organizations “are anxious and willing to receive guidance [from the Clinton Administration] on how to time and shape their [news] coverage.”Remember this promise by then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign? “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies.”Well that didn’t happen. Instead, the president crafted his plan in secret with liberals in Congress and Big Labor, and then managed to shove it through Congress over the vociferous opposition of the American people, but with the approval of the liberal allies in the Establishment Media. And he has stonewalled every FOIA request filed by Judicial Watch related to his Obamacare plan.
- A February 5, 1993, Draft Memorandum from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux detailing the Office of Public Liaison’s plan for the health care reform campaign. The memorandum notes the development of an “interest group data base” detailing whether organizations “support(ed) us in the election.” The database would also track personal information about interest group leaders, such as their home phone numbers, addresses, “biographies, analysis of credibility in the media, and known relationships with Congresspeople.”Didn’t the Obama administration get into hot water not too long ago for turning campaign supporters into snitches, asking them to report “fishy” emails regarding Obamacare to a White House email address? The obvious intent was to establish an enemies list of conservative activists to target.
Of course these similarities are not all that surprising considering the fact that Obama’s Chief of Staff at the time was former Clinton hack Rahm Emanuel (a.k.a. Rhambo). The only difference is that President Obama was ultimately successful in his attempt to install socialized medicine, although the Supreme Court will have the final say.
This battle over Hillarycare documents is an excellent case study on what is faced every single day in the attempt to bring transparency to the inner workings of government. The Obama White House, in particular, has demonstrated a deep disrespect for open records laws.