Thursday, June 24, 2004

I watched my first Clinton book-tour interview on PBS's Charlie Rose last night, having already missed the Oprah and Rather fawn-fests. Of course, Rose did everything but climb over the desk and give Clinton a Monica, but it was still interesting viewing.

The one thing I had forgotten, which is easy to do when merely looking at the dry, written facts of history (as I have been doing recently, and which are not kind to Clinton), is just how good Clinton is on television. He's astoundingly good, which explains how he was able to get elected to two terms and ride relatively high popularity ratings despite the fact that polls clearly showed the American people didn't trust him or believe him.

Of course, being good on television is not the same as being truthful, and truthfulness is still in short supply with Bubba. While ostensibly taking responsibility for the Monica situation (though still denying that there was any legitimacy to the Whitewater investigation, despite the oodles of felony convictions and jail sentences that came out of it), he mainly offers up a perfunctory mea culpa while actually blaming the whole thing on independent counsel Ken Starr.

Pointing out the lies in Bill Clinton's statements is almost beside the point; lying is what he does, and everybody on both sides pretty much stipulates that much. But one issue he keeps harping on is still sticking in my craw.

Clinton still runs around claiming that Ken Starr "threw Susan McDougal in jail" because she refused to lie about him. Of course, Starr did no such thing. McDougal (who was eventually convicted of four felonies and then pardoned by Clinton on the last day of his presidency) was jailed by federal judge Susan Webber Wright--a former law student of Clinton's--for contempt of court for refusing to answer any questions before a grand jury.

Among the scurrilous questions posed to McDougal that she courageously refused to answer were "Ma'am, where were you born?," "Where do you reside today?," and "To your knowledge, did William Jefferson Clinton testify truthfully during the course of your trial?"

What is this, the Inquisition? How dare they!

No comments: