In the previous entry, I showed how Harold Ickes wormed his way into the Clinton inner circle and became a key operative in the White House and the 1996 reelection effort. During that time, he gravitated towards Hillary and became a close friend. His association with unions infiltrated with organized crime were essentially covered up by the Clinton White House in the case of the Laborer’s Union. After leaving the White House after the 1996 election (questions about his role in various Clinton scandals were getting too close to the boss and Hillary’s future political aspirations) Ickes returned to private law practice and laid low for a couple of years.
But Hillary had other plans. In 1998, Senator Patrick Moynihan announced that he would not seek reelection in 2000. This created an open race that brought the attention of both parties. In early 1999, the White House announced that Clinton was considering a run although not a resident of New York. While allegedly suffering from poverty in the midst of the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings, they purchased a $1.7 million home in Chappaqua, New York. At the suggestion of Charlie Rangel, Clinton decided to enter the race after Bill was acquitted in the impeachment proceedings.
In a campaign like today’s, she toured New York in a converted van visiting people on a “listening tour.” Mistakes were made along the way, but those of her presumptive Republican opponent- New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani- were worse and she waltzed into the Senate. One of the top advisers to that campaign, also like today, was Harold Ickes.
Remaining a lobbyist, Ickes parlayed his time in the White House into a lucrative business given his many contacts. But it was his meeting with billionaire liberal George Soros in 2002 which led to what many called the Democratic shadow party. Realizing that conservatives were dominating the radio airwaves and had established a series of think tanks, the two decided to do the same. More realistically, it was devised as a means to get around the soft money bans of McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform efforts. Ickes summoned together some old cronies- Andrew Stern of the SEIU, Steven Rosenthal, Gina Glantz and Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood. Together, with Ickes’ backing and Soros’ money they formed America Coming Together (ACT), America Votes, Joint Victory Campaign 2004, Ickes’ own Media Fund and the Thunder Road Group. This latter group was a spin control nerve center for the progressive movement.
Despite their best efforts in aiding the candidacy of John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton’s reelection in 2006, they lost the big prize. Then came 2008 and Ickes turned his attention to the presidential ambitions of Hillary Clinton. There was no love lost between Mark Penn, Clinton’s main pollster, and Harold Ickes that seeped over from their White House days. Some reports had Penn arguing that Clinton should adopt an aggressive campaign. His polls showed her main rival being John Edwards, not Barack Obama. Ickes allegedly advised Clinton to take the high road.
In drama too rich in detail to recount here with any justice, this butting of heads for influence in the Clinton camp rose to a climax when she finished third in the Iowa caucuses. The focus was now twofold: regain footing for the campaign and that had to start in New Hampshire and a realization that the real opposition was Obama. And although Clinton rebounded in New Hampshire, it is generally believed that her lack of leadership led to continued infighting between the Penn and the Ickes contingents. Eventually Ickes won the war since he was the manager over the campaign’s budget. He even locked Penn out of meetings if money was discussed.
But, it was too late. The campaign had burnt through $100 million and was in debt and only a $5 million loan from Clinton kept the campaign afloat. It was a less than stellar victory in Indiana that more or less ended any realistic chance for Hillary. There was one last hope and that was the Super-delegate count. The Obama campaign had slickly targeted delegates for the nomination and had built up a lead that would keep Hillary from the nomination. To get those super-delegates (party big wigs) greater say in who the nominee would be, the DNC’s Rules Committee would have to change the current rules. Ironically, it was Harold Ickes who had the influence of these super-delegates negated when he was with the Jesse Jackson campaign. Ickes also noted at the time that Obama’s background, including his associations with Jeremiah Wright, should be fair game before the Rules Committee. It is popularly believed that Ickes, despite urging Clinton to take the high ground, was behind the infamous picture of Obama in Somali garb.
By this point it should be obvious that Harold Ickes is a strong Leftist supporter of Hillary Clinton with a connection to some nefarious characters. He, like everything “Clinton,” seems to stay one step above or just this side of propriety and the law. If not improper or illegal, it certainly is unethical. Whether it is his connections to organized crime, Chinese donors wishing to gain access to American military, nuclear and technology secrets, or associations with and a hand in every Leftist organization, the name “Harold Ickes” inevitably appears, He, like Minyon Moore, are the bridges between the Clinton campaign and the shadow Democratic Party- always lurking in the background. His loyalty should not be underestimated. He was an early adviser to Ready for Hillary in 2014. No doubt if Clinton wins in 2016, Harold Ickes will be there lurking just outside the doors of the Oval Office.