The Courting of Bill

Busting that GOP dream plot: shut out Hillary by appointing hubby to Supreme Court

Last weekend, the Hotline, in an April Fools' spoof, came up with a genius idea, which it attributed to the fevered brain of Karl Rove and said had first been reported by Bob Novak: Stop Hillary by putting Bill on the Supreme Court. It was all a hoax and this reporter fell for it. What follows is the original item, along with the rest of that week's Mondo Washington column:


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The right-wing political community remains haunted by the specter of a "President Hillary Clinton" turning the Patriot Act on their own leaders, marching them off to jail, and throwing the key away.

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SAY WHAT?

"Jim, you think he's with Jesus now? We only have 30 seconds." —CNN's Larry King, talking about Pope John Paul II with Passion star Jim Caviezel, 4.3.05

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How to stop her? Condi might do the trick, but she's a little lightweight. Rather than oppose Senator Clinton, some Republican politicians are trying to cozy up. In Texas, The Hotline reports, two Republicans, Rick Perry running for re-election as governor and Kay Bailey Hutchison for the Senate, are beginning to deliberately point out how they have worked with Hillary.

Last weekend Bob Novak described a novel scheme, supposedly emanating from the fevered brain of Karl Rove: Stop Hillary by putting Bill on the Supreme Court.

Here's what's supposed to happen: Bush names either Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia to be chief justice. That leaves one vacancy on the court. Then he appoints Bill Clinton to the court. Oh my God!

The thought of adulterer Clinton on the court (think Monica as clerk) sends right-wingers up the wall. But wait a minute. Think it through: Next, Bill Frist—Senate majority leader, Terri Schiavo defender, and himself a presidential hopeful—immediately moves to hold up Bill's nomination. Next, Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate, cuts a deal to free the conservative judicial nominations now backed up in Congress in return for letting Clinton on the court.

Once on the court, Clinton is out of the picture when it comes to campaigning for Hillary or anyone else in 2008. What to do about Hillary? Americans may differ on whether she should be president, but almost everyone will agree that the country could not stand to have two Clintons dominating two branches of government.

As for what Bill might do on the court, one conservative pol opined, "He couldn't be any worse than Souter."


While Hillary drifts along, other women move on up in congress
Against the grain

Meanwhile, it looks like a silent spring for Hil. Last seen, she was deep in agricultural Dullsville at the Elks Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she entertained the audience of 300 concerned rural folks with statements such as this: "I was once asked why I spent so much time on agriculture issues in the last four years. I answered, 'Because I like to eat.' " And this: "If we don't move toward energy independence, shame on us."

Figuring out which way Hillary is drifting has become a full-time job for right and left alike ever since she appeared to be backing away from a woman's right to choose when it comes to abortion. "I believe we can all recognize that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women," she declared in January. "Often, it's a failure of our system of education, health care, and preventive services. It's often a result of family dynamics. This decision is a profound and complicated one; a difficult one, often the most difficult that a woman will ever make. The fact is that the best way to reduce the number of abortions is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place."

While the old-fart pols contort over whether it's good or bad for Hil to run, more female fresh faces are moving up the ladder in Congress and will soon be in a position of enveloping the tired old singsong from Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, and others. It was Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz who ran Democratic opposition to Republican efforts to reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. The Republicans put Kentucky congresswoman Anne Northrup in front of the cameras to sell Bush's Social Security changes, and Democrats Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Barbara Boxer of California, and Patty Murray of Washington all took on leadership positions within the Senate. Elizabeth Dole, a North Carolina Republican who ran for president in 2000 and who has served in two cabinet posts, became the first woman ever to chair her party's campaign committee.

"Women now hold 14 seats in the Senate and 66 seats in the House, not including three non-voting members from Guam, the District of Columbia, and the U. S. Virgin Islands," reports the spirited website womensenews.org. "Although they make up 51 percent of the population, women now comprise roughly 15 percent of Congress, figures that have risen only gradually since 1992, the year women nearly doubled their representation in the House and the Senate."

Pelosi gets much of the attention now, but the others are coming on fast. Democratic women in the Senate hold two out of seven leadership positions; Republican female senators hold two out of six. In the House, Republican women hold one out of nine leadership posts and Democratic women two out of eight. "Women aren't just tokens anymore," California congresswoman Hilda Solis told Womensenews. "We're on committees. We're ranking members on committees. We're even on Meet the Press."

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