Coming Attractions?—The only thing standing between David Bossie’s film Hillary, the Movie and box-office success is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, which prohibits him from advertising it. “I can advertise if I don’t use Hillary’s name [or image],” Bossie told an audience of fifty at a free screening at the American Conservative Union’s CPAC convention in Washington, D.C. A three-judge federal panel ruled that because the movie is similar to a campaign ad, it cannot be broadcast on television—or advertised—unless the names of donors at Citizens United who funded the film are made public. The decision is on appeal at the Supreme Court.
Hillary is really two films. There is a parade of professional Clinton haters, such as right-wing pinup girl Ann Coulter; former Washington Times editorial-page editor Tony Blankley; onetime Bill Clinton adviser Dick Morris; R. Emmett Tyrrell of the far-right American Spectator; and columnist Robert Novak. Their tropes are predictable, if at times over the top, as when radio talker Mark Levin warns that in the campaign to defeat Senator Clinton, “What is at stake is liberty itself.”
There are also exposés of scandals extending back to the first year of Bill Clinton’s first term in office. “Travelgate” is narrated by Billy Dale, who was forced out of the White House Travel Office, prosecuted and exonerated. Also covered are Johnny Chung, the Taiwanese-born fundraiser who pled guilty to campaign-finance violations after visiting the Clinton White House on forty-nine occasions, once to deliver a $50,000 check; Peter F. Paul, a California businessman who underwrote a Hollywood “Salute to William Jefferson Clinton,” which raised money for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign that resulted in a $35,000 fine when the campaign understated the amount; Kathleen Willey, the White House staffer who claims that Hillary had her investigated and stalked after she went public with claims that she had been groped by the president; and Norman Hsu, sentenced to prison in January for fraud after he had raised $850,000 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. (There are several others, as the Clintons provide ample material.)
In a review of the movie (in one of few print venues where it will be reviewed), a Washington Timesreporter quotes Bossie: “Having been Dan Burton’s chief investigator in the House of Representatives, I’m a guy who takes facts very seriously. I’m a document guy and a fact guy.”
Omitted is the fact that Bossie was canned for releasing transcripts of conversations between former Clinton deputy attorney general Web Hubbell and Hubbell’s wife. Bossie edited the transcripts, recorded while Hubbell was serving time for fraud and tax evasion, to exclude exculpatory comments that Hubbell made about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the Whitewater land scandal in Arkansas. Now Bossie spends his time editing film. He is currently working on a Barack Obama documentary.
Newt’s Numbers—The biennial CPAC convention is usually an issues forum, candidates’ cattle call, and conservative pep rally. There was a pall over this year’s pep rally. Conservative favorite Mitt Romney used the convention podium to announce the end of his presidential campaign and was followed by John McCain, universally disliked by this set, who pleaded for their support and was booed by many. Newt Gingrich, greeted by a standing ovation from the boisterous crowd, warned that the party faced real problems and had no choice but to fall in behind McCain. The former House Speaker said that 8.3 million Republicans had voted in the Super Tuesday primaries, compared with 14.6 million Democrats. “A warning of a catastrophic election,” Gingrich said. He warned Republicans that unless there is a change, the party will suffer a stunning defeat in November. He also held the Republican Congress responsible for the party’s decline: “Congress did Bush a disservice by blindly supporting him and not challenging him when he was wrong.”
At times Gingrich seemed to be reading from the speech Senator Joe McCarthy had delivered at Wheeling, West Virginia, exactly fifty-seven years earlier to the day. No list of communists in the State Department, but Gingrich did warn of a “deeply entrenched opposition” in the country, including Marxist tenured professors, State Department bureaucrats determined to defeat President Bush, and compromised intelligence officers who’d pulled off a bureaucratic coup d’état by releasing an intelligence estimate that understated Iran’s nuclear capability.