Hillarycare: An Insider’s View of Why it Flopped

A wide variety of excuses have been made for Hillary Clinton’s 1994 failure to close the deal on health care reform. Many commentators have, of course, blamed the “health care industrial complex,? and some have even blamed the public.

One insider, however, has located the problem much closer to home. Brad Delong, a UC Berkeley economist who worked on Clinton’s health care task force, delivered the following indictment a decade after it collapsed:

She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn’t smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

Well, you say, maybe she would have done better if she’d had good advice. Nope. According to Delong, she was impervious to the voice of reason:

When senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal.

When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that.

When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate.

In other words, Clinton was a classic know-it-all whose arrogance and high-handed behavior doomed the project. And Delong believes these personality traits have important implications for her presidential aspirations:

My two cents’ worth—and I think it is the two cents’ worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994—is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life.

Delong is no conservative. He’s a card-carrying liberal in good standing who has actually worked with the lady. His comments cannot be written off as the ravings of some knuckle-dragging wingnut.

Think about it.

[HT James Taranto]

Comments 2

  1. spike wrote:

    14 years before he was elected President, Bush was still an active alcoholic. Not that Hilary would necessarily be the best President, but it’s not like this is some kind of smoking gun against Hilary when she herself has already admitted she was too arrogant in 1994.

    Aside from that, Harry Truman would also make a terrible president, since he too failed to get universal health care passed.

    Posted 27 Oct 2007 at 11:44 pm
  2. Catron wrote:

    Spike, you’re even less coherent than usual on this one.

    Posted 28 Oct 2007 at 5:20 am

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