Hillary Rodham, The Making of a Social Radical
By: Carey Roberts
Most know that Hillary Rodham Clintonâ€™s politics veer to the outer fringes of the radical left. But how many understand the reasons for her conversion from Goldwater conservative to cultural Marxist, and how this would play out during her controversial bid for the U.S. presidency?
Comfortably ensconced in suburban Park Ridge, Ill., Hillary grew up under the tutelage of Hugh Rodham, a rock-ribbed conservative who was once described as â€œrougher than a corncob.â€ He taught her to throw a baseball and expected her to excel at school. Hillaryâ€™s brother Tony would later reveal, â€œShe was Daddyâ€™s girl, no doubt about it.â€
During the 1964 presidential election, high school senior Rodham fashioned herself a Goldwater Girl, right down to the tasseled cowgirl outfit and hat with the AuH2O symbol. To the obvious delight of her father, she canvassed local neighborhoods in support of the Goldwater candidacy.
But Hillaryâ€™s transformation to the cause of liberalism had began several years before at the impressionable age of 13. Thatâ€™s when Don Jones, the free-thinking youth minister arrived at the First United Methodist church. A recent divinity school graduate, Jones debated Christian social ethics, organized food drives, and took Miss Rodhamâ€™s classmates to meet Martin Luther King, Jr.
But after two years of this unconventional ministry, the church elders decided they had seen enough and sent Jones packing. Referring to his replacement, Hillary presciently confided to Jones, â€œHe thinks Iâ€™m a radical.â€
When Miss Rodham arrived at Wellesley College in the fall of 1965, she still considered herself a Republican and was soon elected president of the Wellesley Young Republicans. But Rodham continued to struggle with her ideological moorings and once asked Jones, â€œI wonder if itâ€™s possible to be a mental conservative and a heart liberal?â€ When liberal Republican John Lindsay became mayor of New York City, Rodham effused, â€œSee how liberal Iâ€™m becoming!â€
She devoured every issue of Motive magazine, a church-backed publication that had drifted to the far left. The horrors of the Vietnam War and assassination of Martin Luther King served to further radicalize her. Following the Partyâ€™s 1968 national convention in Miami, young Hillary decided to abandon the Republican fold for good.
During her college stint, Hillary Rodham carried on a romantic relationship with Harvard student Geoff Shields for three years, then fell into an â€œintense love affairâ€ with Georgetown U. student David Rupert. During these years many of Hillaryâ€™s friends noticed an emerging self-righteous streak.
At the commencement ceremony for the Wellesley Class of â€™69, Republican senator Edward Brooke was the honored speaker. During her impromptu remarks, Hillary delivered a scathing riposte to Senator Brooke because he advocated â€œpolitics as the art of the possible.â€ Instead she ambitiously argued that lawmakers must â€œpractice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible.â€
And what of her senior thesis on Saul Alinsky, a document she ordered be sealed from public scrutiny for two decades? Don Jones had introduced young Hillary to Alinsky, an agnostic Jew, back in high school. Known as the father of community organizing, Hillary would later describe the charismatic Alinsky as the â€œgreat seducerâ€ of young minds. Alinsky was intoxicated by his quest for political power. In Rules for Radicals he would write:
â€œPower is the very essence, the dynamo of life â€¦ It is a world not of angels but of angles, where men speak of moral principles but act on power principles; a world where we are always moral and our enemies are always immoral; a world where â€˜reconciliationâ€™ means that one side gets the power and the other side gets reconciled to it.â€
Some would demur from this approach as the epitome of the politics of personal destruction. But Hillary defended his tactics, writing, â€œMuch of what Alinsky professes does not sound radical â€¦ Alinsky really believes in them and recognizes the necessity of changing the present structures of our lives.â€
But Hillary Rodham did have one point of disagreement with Alinskyâ€™s prescription. In Living History, she later wrote, â€œHe believed you could change the system only from the outside. I didnâ€™t.â€
A sweeping plan to make what â€œappears to be impossible, possibleâ€ and changing the â€œpresent structures of our livesâ€ by working from within â€“ key ingredients of Hillary Rodhamâ€™s recipe for radical social transformation.
Carey Roberts is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.