With Hillary Clinton eyeing a possible presidential run in 2016, new documents that have been revealed outlining the healthcare strategy of President Bill Clinton are drawing a lot of attention and scrutiny. Most of the 4,000 page memo contains little information that would be considered earth shattering, but it does give some insight into the type of political maneuvering that took place to try to push healthcare reform, long before days of ObamaCare.
One part of the memo contained detailed descriptions and notes about a two-day hearing on healthcare reform, from two White House aides who worked during the Clinton administration. The memo states that the whole point of the hearing was to help shelter the White House from accusations that the input and concerns of different groups weren’t being taken into consideration. The strategy, developed in part by the aides, Alexis Herman and Mike Lux, involved crafting a narrative that would be used to sell the Clinton healthcare reform package as the best solution to a problem that was causing widespread suffering.
Clinton and his aides wanted to accomplish these goals by bringing people in who had horror stories about the current state of healthcare, particularly from the middle class and the elderly, during periods of time with the highest number of public viewers. This type of strategy is similar to that used by individuals in sales positions. In order to get someone to buy the product, they must have a need, so you bring to light a problem the customer has, use real life examples of the consequences of not taking care of this issue, and then present the product as the best solution.
These new documents not only revealed some of the healthcare strategy used by Bill Clinton, but also gave some insight into some of the other struggles his administration faced at the time. One such struggle was how to respond to the major defeat the Democrats took in the midterm elections of 1994. One Clinton adviser, Paul Begala, thought the president should avoid making light of the situation, while another adviser thought that some good old-fashioned self-deprecating humor might help smooth things over.
The release of documents like these is critical for gaining insight into how politicians really think and what their true motivations are behind all of the fake TV smiles, countless handshakes, and occasional baby kissing. Transparency is a critical component of government, as the people have a right to know what their elected officials are up to. Without transparency, it is easy for the government to get away with murder, or at the very least, trampling on our civil liberties. A government that does most of its work in the shadows is something to be feared.
Complete and full transparency is something that the current administration sorely lacks, despite promises that were made during campaign season. With all of the IRS scandals, Benghazi shenanigans, and falsehoods in the Affordable Care Act, people are feeling more distrustful of government than ever before. That is why these memos and documents are being looked over with a magnifying glass. If Hillary does decide to run, the American people deserve to know just what kind of person she is and where she really stands on the issues. New documents like these have revealed snippets into Bill Clinton’s strategy on things like healthcare reform, but it also lets the public see what the former First Lady really thinks behind the scenes, when the cameras are not rolling.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell
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