Monday, March 17, 2008

From the archives: finding Hillary's thesis

We have a theme today: the value of using archives for understanding the present. MSNBC's Bill Dedman, a pioneer of investigative research using computers, does an old-fashioned kind of research, by going to Wellesley College and reading Hillary Rodham's senior thesis.

The thesis was locked away at the request of the Clinton administration during the Clinton years, but as Dedman says, "few realize that it is no longer kept under lock and key. As found, it is available to anyone who visits the archive room of the prestigious women’s college outside Boston."

For years the thesis, on the topic of radical Chicago organizer Saul Alinsky, was cited by conservative pundits as a damning document hidden on purpose because she had supposedly been a secret radical despite being a professed Republican at the time.

Dedman prophecies that this paper will become a future topic for anti-Clinton ads, quoting a Republican political consultant:
He began to brainstorm what such an ad might look like:
"You have to make it relevant to world events today.
"Maybe you look at the contrast. What year did Hillary write this paper? 1969.
"And where was John McCain in 1969? A POW in Vietnam."

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