The Constitution is such a wonderful document that occasionally it is good to consult it for some insight on how the Founders believed this country should operate. Concerning the possible Senate candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Constitution offers special wisdom and instruction. Article 1, Section 3, paragraph 3 reads: "A senator must be an inhabitant of the state which he is appointed to represent." Mrs. Clinton has yet to "inhabit" (that is, "to occupy as a place of settled residence or habitat") any part of New York. She regards the state as a city block one circles while looking for a parking place. Hers is a race of convenience designed to allow her to cling to power after her source of power-the president-leaves the White House. Yes, she's shopping for a place to live, but who is going to pay for it? Is buying a house the same as inhabiting a state and absorbing its unique character? Is Mrs. Clinton more likely to represent New York or herself? As for qualifications to be a senator, James Iredell, a member of the North Carolina Supreme Court and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, said: "The business of a senator will require a great deal of knowledge and more extensive information than can be acquired in a short time." How much knowledge does Mrs. Clinton have about the Senate or the people of New York? Mrs. Clinton says she wants to pursue her ideas about health care (already rejected once by a majority Democratic Congress) and education (more money for broken public schools). She doesn't like the Republicans' welfare reform ideas, though her husband signed the GOP welfare bill, which he originally opposed but later took credit for when it began to work. The Founders wanted senators to be appointed by state legislatures because they believed, rightly, that the interests of the states should be fully represented in Washington as a hedge against an overbearing federal government. Their wisdom was rejected by the 17th Amendment that allowed the people to directly elect senators. Too bad. The original vision-the need of protection from Washington-was correct. Unlike other political figures who run for office and lose, Mrs. Clinton gets just one chance if she decides to run. The political stars will probably not align for her a second time. If she is rejected by one of our most liberal states, where the left-wing media is headquartered-they are ever slavish to her liberal views-the woman once described by former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and convicted felon Dan Rostenkowski as "the smartest woman in the world" will be shown to be weak and thus finished as a national political figure. Like former Clinton adviser Dick Morris, I, too, believe she won't run, at least for the New York Senate seat. She'll probably take her political campaign war chest and run, perhaps to Illinois, perhaps back to Arkansas, where she will plot her return to political power. But she, like her husband, is a traveling snake-oil salesperson. She is out to prove something and that can be a strong motivation, whether one runs for office or not. Mrs. Clinton is an unredeemed '60s leftist. Her resumé and writings reveal a philosophy rooted in big government and an antipathy to individual freedom, personal responsibility, and accountability. She wants to make government our keeper as well as our savior, and she will tax anything (literally and figuratively) to impose her utopian vision. Michael Barone summed up her philosophy in the July 12 U.S. News and World Report: "The pattern is clear: rule making for others, rule breaking for herself." The Founders wanted to ensure the sovereignty of the states. Mrs. Clinton would like to become a sovereign from New York State. The ultimate objective is the White House. "New York is a place of miracles and disasters," says the 1996 issue of The Almanac of American Politics. It may take a miracle for Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the Senate seat if she decides to run. It would be a disaster for the state and the nation if she wins.
© 1999, Los Angeles Times Syndicate