Tuesday, June 22, 2004

It will be amusing (if a bit tiresome) to watch Bill Clinton whine his way across the country in the next few weeks with the release of his unwieldy new memoir My Life. It weighs in at nearly a thousand pages, which is not suprising for someone who once sparked wild cheering at his own party's convention when he announced that he was about to finish his behemoth keynote speech.

Clinton's M.O. all along has been to suck his thumb and blame everyone else for the personal indescretions that destroyed his presidency. The current book tour is no exception, of course.

In a testy interview with the BBC which airs tonight, Clinton blames the media (right-wing sypathizers that they are) for his downfall. According to the BBC's website:
Wagging his finger and getting visibly agitated, Mr. Clinton expressed anger at the media's behaviour.

He said: "Let me just say this. One of the reasons he [Kenneth Starr] got away with it is because people like you only ask me the questions.

"You gave him a complete free ride. Any abuse they wanted to do. They indicted all these little people from Arkansas, what did you care about them, they're not famous, who cares that their life was trampled. Who cares that their children are humiliated.

"Nobody in your line of work cared a rip about that at the time. Why, because he was helping their story.

"People like you always help the far-right, because you like to hurt people, and you like to talk about how bad people are and all their personal failings."
He then made a big poo-poo in his diaper.

While the former pillow-biter-in-chief continues to portray himself as a nearly-innocent victim in all this, it is worth remembering a couple of salient points about what Ken Starr "got away with":

  • Clinton's party invented the office of the Independent Counsel to ensure that no president could successfully quash the truth. They gleefully used it numerous times against Republican opponents without the least bit of hesitation, complaining neither about the time and money spent, nor about the peripheral figures who were drawn into the investigations (anyone remember Fawn Hall?).

  • Clinton's own attorney general, Janet Reno, appointed the Independent Counsel to investigate the Whitewater miasma, at the request of the administration.

  • Weeks before Kenneth Starr's appointment, the Clinton Administration had the opportunity to let the abysmal Independent Counsel statute expire. They were advised to do so by many people on both sides of the aisle. They instead re-authorized it.

  • Of the "little people" in Arkansas, at least 15 were convicted of felonies directly pertaining to the Whitewater matter, including Hillary's law partner Web Hubbell (two felony convictions), Clinton friends Jim and Susan McDougal (who were only convicted of 22 felonies between them), and Bill Clinton's former aide Stephen Smith. Another of the "little people" was the governor of the state of Arkansas, Jim Guy Tucker, who was convicted on three felony counts.

  • Among the "little people" in Arkansas who wound up peripherally in the investigation were Bill McCuen, Arkansas' former secretary of state (convicted of bribery and tax evasion, among other things), former state prosecuting attorney Dan Harmon (convicted on federal racketeering, extortion, and drug distribution charges), and Clinton's brother Roger, who as it turns out was a drug trafficker.

  • There is no dispute about the facts which led to Clinton's impeachment--that Clinton had "sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky," that he lied about it under oath, and that he asked her to lie about it under oath as well. Clinton admits he lied about it, even saying in a nationally televised speech, "I can only tell you I was motivated by many factors. First, by a desire to protect myself from the embarrassment of my own conduct. I was also very concerned about protecting my family."

    Of course, the Clintons have a vested interest in portraying the investigation as "obsessed with sex" and interference in a personal matter. But ask yourself one question: if someone comes to a prosecutor with indisputable proof of perjury on the part of the president of the United States, what is that prosecutor supposed to do? Pretend it never happened?

    Clinton will continue to place the blame everywhere except where it belongs. He'll probably continue to charm many into buying it. But as the light of history gets brighter and brighter, the excuses are coming to be seen for what they really are: the sad justifications of a perpetual adolescent.
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