»  National Review Online

March 29th, 2001

  Mad Preacher Disease


To begin with, here is a story in Wednesday's New York Post that my junior Senator — who, like a Burmese or an Anglo-Saxon, has only one name: Hillary — has joined "an informal, once a week Senate prayer breakfast, an event dominated by deeply religious Republican senators." The wording here (which I have lifted from the Post story) is a bit slighting to Hillary, it seems to me. Are we supposed to be surprised that anyone not a Republican might be "deeply religious"? There is, and for a very long time has been, such a thing as the religious Left. An outstanding example of it holds office in Britain, in fact: Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair is a man of, by all reports, very sincere Christian belief.

Hillary's own religious background is also well attested. She was raised a Methodist, and one of the formative influences in her life has been the "good works" Methodism of the Rev. Don Jones. It is odd to think that Hillary shares a "faith tradition" (to use the current cant phrase) with Margaret Thatcher, but so it is. The great tree of Nonconformism that first came up in England three hundred years ago has developed many odd, twisted branches, and borne many very different kinds of fruit. In any case, the way that particular religious doctrines act on individual human personalities is a large study by itself, and full of surprises — see the Barchester novels of Anthony Trollope for further insights on this topic. The fact of Hillary being a foam-flecked lefty is not at all incompatible with her professing sincere religious belief.

And yet … it's Hillary we're talking about.

For her own breakfast she'll project a scheme,
Nor take her tea without a stratagem.

Anything Hillary does inspires the same query that Metternich is supposed to have voiced on hearing that Talleyrand had died: "I wonder what he meant by that?" It is a very ticklish thing to cast doubt on another person's religious convictions, but suppose — just suppose — Hillary has some ulterior motive in chowing down on wheaties and orange juice with Jon Kyl, James Inhofe, Kit Bond and the Good Book, what might it be?

That's a genuine question, not a rhetorical one, and I invite speculations from readers. Here is my own hypothesis, but I confess it is very theoretical at this point, and I am still in the early stages of evidence-gathering.

The relevant train of thought actually began a few days ago. I was sitting in my favorite chair, absorbed in a book (Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down — a terrific read) with the TV on, tuned to Fox News Channel, of course. There was a brief clip of Hillary giving a speech, and some words floated into my consciousness. Hillary was talking about George W. Bush's supposed reversal on the matter of regulating CO2 emissions. Said the Senator: "It looks like we've gone from CO2 to 'See you later'."

I groaned inwardly and went back to my book. The silly phrase lodged itself in my mind, though, and came back to the surface a few days later when, in the course of duty, I was reading Hillary's March 21 remarks to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. This little passage stopped me in my tracks:

"You know, we all heard about the President's charm offensives. But when it comes to the environment and public health, it sometimes appears as though his administration is on harm offensive."

Unfortunately, it did not stop me long enough to prevent my eye taking in the sentence that followed:

"Yesterday it was arsenic and about face."

I did not read any further. Can you blame me? What on earth has got into the woman? "Arsenic and about face"? How many people even get the reference? (Arsenic and Old Lace was a 1944 movie with Cary Grant and Peter Lorre.) Harm … charm. CO2… see you later. Arsenic and about face …

To follow my argument from this point on, you need to understand that we ink-stained wretches are obliged, as part of our job, to read an awful lot of news stories from all sorts of strange places. After a while we develop news overload, where the stories swirl round kaleidoscopically in our heads, forming strange patterns and peculiar conjunctions. Most of these are gibberish, but some of them turn out to be real insights leading to major news scoops. I leave you to judge for yourself which category the following falls into. Me, I'm convinced, and have alerted the Centers for Disease Control.

Consider these facts.

See how this all hangs together? Here is my hypothesis. Enraged by the embarrassments he has caused them with his sexual and financial shenanigans, the leaders of Rainbow PUSH murdered Rev. Jackson. They offered his position, with all its limitless expense accounts, to Hillary, on condition she take a bible study course to the point where she can adopt the title "Reverend." (Until Hillary is ready to assume her duties, Rev. Jackson's position has been filled by a lifelike alliterating android made of aluminum alloys.)

Hillary, inspired by the tale of the priest-eating Philippino cannibal, and urged on no doubt by the shade of Eleanor Roosevelt, decided to accelerate her transformation by stealing and eating the late Reverend Jackson's brains. Unfortunately the brains in question were infected with a variant of those horrid prions that are causing so much havoc in the world of animal husbandry.

It's a scoop, and you heard it here first. Ladies and gentlemen, Hillary is a victim of Bovine Spongiform Alliteritis — Mad Preacher Disease.