I watched Clinton on Larry King last night, which went just as one would expect. Among the tough questions Larry asked him (I kid you not) was, "How old are you now?"
In the interviews I've seen, Clinton has shown a distinct pattern of appearing to take perfunctory responsibility for the Lewinsky affair, while really blaming his own behavior on Ken Starr and the Republicans, as if Starr got a court order forcing Clinton to take down his pants for an intern.
Said Clinton last night, about the onset of the Lewinsky liason (and his widely reported "I did it because I could" statement):
We're in the middle of the first government shutdown ever or right at the beginning of the second one. And I don't know who is going to win. We're in this titanic struggle for the future of the country.You see, Clinton committed adultery with an intern as a misguided act of patriotism in defense of the Constitution and his persecuted wife and friends. Of course, this is about as close as Clinton will ever get to taking responsibility for diddling someone only a couple of years older than his daughter.
And meanwhile, I got this guy Starr who is trying to put me and Hillary in jail and all these guys in Congress now in the majority holding hearings acting like it's serious and tormenting people who work for me, people who have been friends of mine. It was like crazy half the time. I thought man, I'm lost in the funhouse.
And people who live parallel lives, as I describe that, grow up in alcoholic homes, for example, very often when they're angry, exhausted or under great stress or vulnerable, to go down the wrong track of their parallel lives. And that's what I meant by that. I knew better than to do it. I didn't really want to do it at some level, but I could do it. It was there. And I did it.
The interesting question it raises in my mind is: What about Gennifer Flowers, then? Clinton had never heard of Ken Starr, there was no "prosecution" then, there was no government shutdown (or even a presidency, for that matter). What about Paula Jones, whom he once claimed he never met, but whom he later paid an $850,000 settlement? She was before he was ever elected to the presidency. What about Kathleen Willey? What about Dolly Kyle Browning, who says Clinton had an affair with her from the 70's up until his run for the presidency? What about former Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen, who says she and Clinton had a one-night stand in 1983? What about the dozens of other Arkansas women who claimed affairs with Clinton? What about the three or four other women Lewinsky told Linda Tripp (on the Tripp tapes) that she believed Clinton was involved with at the same time as his involvement with her?
And if it's all just a political game, how come both George Bushes, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman and Michael Dukakis never had dozens of crackpots coming forward to claim affairs?
(UPDATE: The Washington Times has a piece on just this topic, including a much longer list of names than mine. Hat tip to La Shawn Barber, on whose blog I just saw it.)