Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Jack Ryan watched his young career as a Senate candidate go up in smoke because the Chicago Tribune sued to bust the seal on his divorce papers from his wife, "Star Trek" actress Jeri Lynn Ryan. In the papers, Mrs. Ryan asserted that her husband pressured her to have sex with him in public in swinging sex clubs. Republicans wanted him gone. He had lied to conservative journalists and GOP supporters alike when he said there were no potential skeletons in his closet. Republicans wouldn't stand for that.

Bill Clinton now claims a "badge of honor" because independent counsel Kenneth Starr made an impeachment referral to the House of Representatives alleging he had lied under oath and obstructed justice. President Clinton had not only denied having sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky. Skeptical lawyers even pressed him further to define these relations as touching her erogenous zones with an intent to arouse or gratify. He denied all that. Democrats not only stood for these ridiculous perjuries. They cheered him as his job approval ratings soared.

If that wasn't bad enough, before the Senate's impeachment trial was completed, Juanita Broaddrick came forward to journalists to charge, after years of denials, that President Clinton had raped her. NBC sat on their Lisa Myers story until the Senate pulled the plug on its trial. Two weeks later, the coast was clear, and the show hit the airwaves. While journalists quickly jumped on Ryan recently to bring him down for charges of unpleasant propositioning of his own wife, back then they sat around pulling their chins on the rape charge. Who was wimpier than ... the Chicago Tribune, the litigating swashbucklers -- dare I say it, the Kenneth Starr equivalents -- of the Ryan case?

Clinton responded to Sam Donaldson's Broaddrick question by referring Sam to his lawyers -- not an outraged, I'll-bust-your-nose denial, but a very fishy-sounding referral to lawyers. On CNN, James Warren, the Tribune's Washington bureau chief, stammered that no one had wanted to follow up Sam's question because, well, that might have looked like political activism: "One of the things this White House has done politically is try to make the press an issue as much as the Republicans an issue, saying that we're trying to divert people away from the business that matters. We're part of the political calculation and the political strategy of this White House. Certainly, it's fair to say someone might have asked again, but it's also very clear the president was not going to answer." So give up. You don't want to look like a Republican.

The national press also showed a remarkable double standard on the Ryan story and betrayed their political activism. NBC's Tom Brokaw would not allow any story on Clinton rape allegations to soil his newscast, and he wouldn't even say the name "Juanita Broaddrick" on his show. But Brokaw was perfectly happy to introduce the Jack Ryan story on June 23, with reporter Kevin Tibbles leaning heavily on the juiciest allegations (he wanted to take the wife to "a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling") and calls for Ryan to quit from Republicans and newspapers alike.

The double standards really sting when elections are on the line. In October 1992, when Illinois Senate candidate Carol Moseley Braun was closing in on her victory, NBC reporters sat on her potentially damaging scandal, as the New Republic reported in 1993. Reporter Paul Hogan of NBC-owned Chicago station WMAQ obtained a letter from Moseley Braun to her mother suggesting she was trying to defraud Illinois Medicaid authorities. Since the candidate knew Hogan was on to something, she would not answer his questions, so NBC reporter Bob Kur asked, and she did not deny writing the letter.

The New Republic reported that her campaign manager, Gerald Austin, talked Hogan out of reporting the story, pleading he would destroy the woman, and more importantly, the liberal cause: "If you go with the story, she loses, and you're responsible for denying the first African-American woman the chance to go to the U.S. Senate." Austin feared she'd be indicted, not elected. Hogan spiked it, and so did Kur and NBC. Anyone who watched NBC's enthusiasm to air the Jack Ryan story to push Ryan out of the race and clear the way for another black Democratic Senator, candidate Barack Obama, can see the liberal activism surging into the headlines again.

In the end, no Republican wanted to have a Jack Ryan to defend. No one wanted to sound like Clintonistas excusing reckless libidos. But the Ryan case showed once again that our largest media outlets don't believe in balance or fairness. They don't believe in getting to the bottom of each and every sexual allegation, even rape charges. They believe in winning.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Clinton's Fantasy World
By Don Feder
FrontPageMagazine.com | June 22, 2004

Don’t bother buying Clinton’s 957-page excuse for a presidency that beggared the term pathetic – “My Life” – which goes on sale today.

If you’re interested in the truth about the Clinton years – one of the most embarrassing chapters in U.S. history – the last place to seek enlightenment is in the pages of an autobiography by this master of deceit.

A prominent member of his own party, former United States Senator Bob Kerrey, once remarked that Slick Willie is “an unusually good liar.”

R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr. elaborated on this thesis in his 1996 book, “Boy Clinton: The Political Biography.” “Clinton is a constant liar who has, on occasion, devised lies that are truly extraordinary,” Tyrell wrote well before Monica-gate. “He tells huge lies when a little white lie would be sufficient and even pardonable. He applies a modest lie when no lie is needed. Some of his lies are admittedly artful and possessed of a bland lawyerly elegance, but others are juvenile. Nonetheless, he intones them all so smoothly, so coolly, so reflexively as to suggest that for him, there is no reality beyond himself. He lies like a man totally unencumbered by conceptions of right and wrong. He lies like a sociopath.”

Since Americans have short memories (to match their attention spans), and Clinton has been out of office for 3 ½ blessed years, it might be helpful to consider a few of his more notorious whoppers:

1) To secure a draft exemption, he lied to the commander of the ROTC unit at the University of Arkansas about intending to join the program after his year at Oxford. He had no such intention, as he later admitted.

2) During the 1992 presidential campaign, he lied to voters about his affair with Gennifer Flowers, as her recordings of their telephone conversations demonstrate.

3) He lied about growing up with blacks in the rural South during the era of segregation. (He probably would have claimed he was born “a poor, black child,” had not comedian Steve Martin beaten him to the punch.)

4) He lied about trying pot only once, but not inhaling. Flowers and his brother, Roger, both declared that he used marijuana and cocaine regularly.

5) He lied for the better part of 8 years about his Whitewater dealings and his knowledge of his partners’ fraud.

6) He lied when he claimed he did not sexually harass Paula Jones – as the $700,000 she received to settle the case suggests.

7) He lied about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He lied to his family, his cabinet, his aides and the American people. He lied under oath. He perjured himself, in violation not only of the laws of the land but also of his oath of office. Here, his lying caused a constitutional crisis that distracted the nation at a crucial time when it should have been concentrating on the growing threat of international terrorism.

During eight years in office, he made Dick Nixon at his worst look like Abraham Lincoln at his best. I wouldn’t trust the Great Pretender if he told me that hot-fudge sundaes are fattening, Charlize Theron is attractive and Osama bin Laden is a very bad man indeed.

The promotion campaign for “My Life” should be called “The Clinton Vindication Tour – Securing Bill’s Place In History – Summer, 2004.” A review in The New York Times says the book is “sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull.” And those are its strong points.

The Times’ review reminds me of David Brinkley’s comment during Election Night ’96. After complaining that Clinton’s victory speech was “one of the worst things I’ve ever heard,” Brinkley said the then-president “has not a creative bone in his body. Therefore, he is a bore and will always be a bore” – probably not one of the dust-jacket quotes for “My Life.”

Beyond even the pleas for sympathy based on his trailer-park childhood, and the back-patting over his many imagined accomplishments, the book is blatantly dishonest where candor is called for most.

He was “immoral and foolish” in his affair with Monica, Clinton confesses. And he did it for the worst possible reason, the ex-president intones, “because I could.”

There’s no hint of remorse over the sexual harassment of Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey, the alleged rape of Juanita Broaddrick or the legion of bimbos his state-trooper bodyguards say he slept with as governor of Arkansas. Then again, he wasn’t caught red-handed in any of his other indiscretions (no DNA evidence), so why feign contrition?

After the usual perfunctory apology for Monica, Clinton launches a frontal assault on his enemies in the impeachment crisis: the “right-wing cabal” that tried to drive him from office – including the FBI Director he appointed and the special prosecutor (Kenneth Starr) whose selection his attorney general endorsed.

The forces involved in this illegitimate crusade to drive him from office – Starr, the Republican Congress, Rush Limbaugh and conservative activists – weren’t just wrongheaded or opportunistic political opponents, they were evil incarnate, Clinton implies in his book.

The impeachment fight was, the liberal Pinocchio writes, “my last great showdown with the forces I had opposed all of my life,” including those who supported segregation in the South and opposed equal rights for women, as well as politicians who believed that government should benefit shadowy and sinister special interests.

Here is megalomania peppered with paranoia. I’m only surprised that the blubbery Walter Mitty didn’t fantasize that, in struggling to stay in office, he was also fighting resurgent Nazism and attempting to find a cure for cancer.

Yes, most Clinton-haters (a fraternity in which I am proud to claim membership) hated everything about the man – his politics, his policies, his smarmy rhetoric, his lies, his smirks, even his Deputy Dog accent.

That doesn’t alter the reality that the 42nd president of the United States was eminently impeachable. If Democrats – who now whine that Bush exaggerated the threat of Saddam Hussein prior to the Gulf War – had voted on principle, Clinton would have been unemployed in 1999.

Clinton lied under oath. Despite the pleading of liberal apologists, there is no exception to the federal perjury statute for lying about sex. A lie is a lie is a lie.

Lying under oath is a felony. When the president of the United States commits perjury, that is ample cause for impeachment and removal from office under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. That Clinton was also guilty of obstruction of justice (to cover up his crimes) and suborning perjury – two more felonies -- simply strengthened the case against him.

In way, it was all so exquisitely fitting: A man whose life was built on lies, whose political creed was based on lies, was finally undone by a lie – a lie he told in a sworn affidavit, a lie that was obvious (once investigators had the dress with the presidential stain), a lie that couldn’t be rationalized or explained away.

That Clinton persists in the fiction that his only offense was a moral lapse demonstrates the great truth of his presidency: Clinton lies even to himself.

Besides the standard sobbing about being victimized by an attempted “right-wing coup” (successor to the “vast right-wing conspiracy”), the rest of the book is equally predictable.

Clinton claims the crowning moment in his presidency came when our war on the Serbs ended. On his orders, we bombed the smithereens out of Christian people (who had been our allies in two World Wars), in order to create a quasi-independent Moslem state in Europe. What particularly pleased the ‘60s alumnus was that this application of military force bore absolutely no relation to our national security. Actually, it worked against our interests.

The architect of the Nude World Order is only slightly less gratified with his first great foreign-policy coup – “returning democracy to Haiti,” in the person of Castro crony Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Events this spring (when, after a decade of political turmoil, Aristide was ousted again) show the futility of Clinton’s humanitarian interventions.

The ex-president also tries to demonstrate that he really did care about defense– that it wasn’t just an afterthought between bouts of oral sex (although, according to the Starr Report, the then head of state once was serviced by Monica while he was on the phone discussing troop deployments to Bosnia). The Clinton White House was “Animal House” and “9 ½ Weeks” meets “Liar, Liar.”

I was deeply, passionately concerned about terrorism, Clinton now maintains, notwithstanding his refusal to accept custody of bin Laden (the Sudanese wanted to give him to us in 1996, in exchange for better relations), or his missile strikes on aspirin factories in retaliation for embassy bombings –- all of which persuaded Islamic terrorists that we were the Great Paper-mache Satan.

The 957-page tome (Clinton has a lot to say about his favorite subject -- himself) has an initial printing of 1.5 million copies. People lined up at midnight at bookstores in New York and other cities to snatch up copies of this fictional account of his presidency. The only thing to rival the phenomenon is the pet-rock craze of the ‘70s.

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