A Pig in a Pokenby Arnold BeichmannOn the Make: The Rise ofnBill Clintonnby Meredith L. OakleynWashington, D.C.: Regnery;n592 pp., $24.95nNever did I appreciate so much tliengenius of the Founding Fathers asnafter finishing this remarkable biographynof President Clinton. The authors of thenConstitution created a governmentnwhich makes it impossible for the UnitednStates to be transformed into a continentalnDogpatch some millions of squarenmiles in extent, which is precisely whatnthis country would be if President Clintonncould run it as he did his Arkansasnfiefdom—that srnall, dirt-poor Southernnstate—as governor for six terms.nMs. Oakley, who as a Little Rock politicalnjournalist saw and talked withnClinton almost daily from 1979 on, hasnprovided us with facts, figures, and insidenstories about Clinton in Arkansas whichnadd up to the single question: how didnthis super-conman become President ofnthe United States? Had her book beennpublished before the 1992 DemocraticnNational Convention, it is doubtful thatnClinton could have been nominated, letnalone elected. Readers of Ms. Oakley’sndocumented stories of Clinton’s violationsnof law and decency while governornof Arkansas will also ask:n1) How did the national media, electronicnand print, with the possible exceptionnof the New York Times and thenWashington Times, fail to examine Clinton’snscandalous record as governor?n2) How was it that Clinton’s opponentsnfor the nomination—Tsongas,nBrown, Kerrey, and others—never madendocumented, detailed charges regardingnClinton’s outrageous gubernatorialnrecord?n3) How could President Bush and thenRepublican campaign committees havenignored that same record?n34/CHRONICLESnREVIEWSnI emphasize the responsibility of thenmedia because it was they, Ms. Oakleynsays, who presented Clinton as “a fighter,nsurvivor, a crusader . . . [not a] draftdodger,nwomanizer, prevaricator and opportunist.”nShe writes: “The completenportrait of Bill Clinton was nevernpresented to the American public by thenreporters who covered him.” Even nownthe mainstream media, busy investigatingnSupreme Court Justice ClarencenThomas’s putative penchant for Playboynand denouncing Newt Gingrich as ann”authoritarian,” continue to ignore Clinton’snArkansas past.nThat past includes an unsuccessful attemptnby Governor Clinton in 1987 tonrestrict freedom-of-information rights bynattempting to seal all tax records maintainednby the state. While income taxnrecords had never been made public undernArkansas law, those of other taxesnand fees were available to anyone whonasked. When the cloture provision ofnthe new tax bill was uncovered by thenpress, and media delegations protestednthe provision, Clinton (supposedly a believernin open government) seemed tonagree, and said he would see to it thatnthe offending item was removed fromnthe tax bill. “Less than a week afternthese reassurances,” according to Ms.nOakley, “Clinton’s lobbyists turned outnin full force to promote passage of thenbill with the cloture provision intact.”nThis bill was no ordinary attack onnfreedom of information, since the cloturenclause made it illegal for state tax officialsnto release any type of tax informationnto anyone, including members ofnthe legislature. Worse, not only did itnmake it illegal for anyone, including legislators,nto gain access to any type of taxninformation from state tax officials, butnit provided that the mere request for taxninformation was punishable by a maximumn$1000 fine and a year in jail. Failurenby a state official to report suchnrequests to the proper authorities wasnsimilarly punishable. You will ask whynClinton went to such an extreme to curtailnfreedom of information. Was therensome overriding democratic principle atnstake? It appears that Senator Knox Nelson,nthen the most powerful member ofnthe Arkansas legislature, was causingnnnClinton’s legislative program a lot ofngrief. It was Nelson who wanted the taxnrecords suppressed. The reason?nBy Arkansas law, oil companies keptnthree percent of motor tax revenues theyncollected as compensation for estimatednlosses due to fuel evaporation. Nelson,nowner of an oil company which receivednthousands of dollars in such “shrinkage”nallowances, claimed that if this informationnwere made known, his competitorsnwould be able to determine his profitsnand he would therefore be at a competitivendisadvantage. Whether Clinton believednthis nonsense or not, he againnpromised to resist the attempt to barnpublic access to information. Anothernassault on open government was the sealingnof the records of the Arkansas IndustrialnCommission’s expenditures: a closure, Ms.nOakley claims, that was intended to concealnthe desire of a Japanese company tonopen an industrial plant in a predominantlynwhite community.nHaving promised his labor allies in thenArkansas AFL-CIO in 1976 that henwould support their petition campaignnto modify the right-to-work amendmentnin the state constitution, Governor Clintonnlater refused to sign that petition.nThough the labor barons remainednneutral, Clinton received the AFL-CIO’snendorsement in every subsequentngeneral election. As Ms. Oakley notes,n”Throughout his career, there hasnseemed no transgression his publicnwould not forgive, no lie they would notnexcuse, no broken promise they wouldnnot condone.” While black voters suppliednthe winning edge in Clinton’s gubernatorialnraces (particularly that ofn1982), the black cochairman of annArkansas Republican County Committee,ndeploring the fact that Arkansasnlacked what he described as a comprehensivencivil rights law, identified “thenDemocratic Party of Arkansas [as] thenreason that we don’t.”nOther matters of interest includenGovernor Clinton’s illegal political andnpersonal expenditures, and the deletionnby Webster Hubbell, self-confessed felonnand onetime high official in PresidentnClinton’s Justice Department, of “thenoriginal conflict-of-interest clause [in thenproposed Arkansas state ethics law] son