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The Legacy That Won't Go Away

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Bloviating Zeppelin: The Legacy That Won't Go Away

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Legacy That Won't Go Away

I, like many people, recently watched last Sunday's (June 20th) "60 Minutes" interview of former President Bill Clinton by Dan Rather. And after having watched the series of poofy softballs underhanded to Mr. Clinton (though Dan furrowed his brow a few times in order to appear the ever-serious journalist, and lowered his voice in a reverential fashion), I was reminded once again of Clinton's thirst for the spotlight, his overwhelming reliance on denial and megalomania -- oh gosh, did I offend? Rephrased for ill-educated WJC apologists not up on multisyllabic words: sense of "it's all about me." Of course, those lifestyle hedonists who believe "it's all about me" won't see the humor in this anyway. BABAGOI.

Whereas perhaps a few years ago I would have excoriated Mr. Clinton for the seemingly-odd timing of the release of his new book "My Life," on the apparently sagging polling numbers of Mr. John F. Kerry (JFK -- get it?), I now realize I really should "move on" about this man -- except: he won't let me do that. Just when I thought the right thing had been done -- we'd "moved on" from the Lewinsky and other sordid affairs -- boom. Back comes Bill with his face on the news, out with a book, unveiling a portrait, hitting the proverbial visual Softball Halls of Fame on major media and, oops, maybe having made a mistake on Auntie Beeb with his UK interviewer.

As the BBC News, UK edition indicated: "Mr Clinton reacted after presenter David Dimbleby asked him why he had an affair with Ms Lewinsky when he knew he was under investigation by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr for other matters.

"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."

Ouch. But not really.

He hates the name Slick Willy, doesn't mind being called Bubba (according to the Rather interview) but, on the Oprah Winfrey show aired Tuesday, June 22nd, admitted the he did not expect to "get caught." He said the pressure to "get him" came out of the frustration of his adversaries with Whitewater. When asked by Oprah, "why didn't you tell the truth from the start?" there was a large pause. Large. Clinton said that he considered what he should do and thought about former President Grover Cleveland, who had a child out of wedlock. Except that the difference was: Cleveland didn't have someone trying to put him in jail. Ah, I get it now. It's all about Bill in his role as The Victim. "I was all alone again," Bill said on Oprah. "Just the way I had been as a little boy." Did anybody know (the full situation, the truth), did you tell anybody? Oprah asked. "No. Nobody. I was all alone. You know, before I got married to Hillary I was afraid that I'd spend my whole life alone. I was always afraid that I would never make a successful marriage because there was part of me that was just walled off to everybody else."

Mr. Clinton also said that "you can make all your judgments about me." But he was afraid that if he told the truth, "he'd [Starr] indict a lot of people and I'd be run from office and the bad guys would win."

The Bad Guys. Who would those Bad Guys be, Mr. Clinton? People who were asking you to tell the truth? I know: when the going gets tough, the tough get to lying. Gosh, you didn't think you'd get caught. And that's the Bitch Kitty of it all, isn't it? You simply got caught. I hate it when that happens.

Time perhaps for a current Clinton Reality Check (CRC). Let's look at some reviews of Mr. Clinton's new book, "My Life," from the clearly left-leaning New York Times and then the Associated Press. Michiko Kakutani of the Times wrote that the book, like his 1993 DNC speech, is "so long winded and tedious that the crowd cheered when he finally reached the words 'in closing. . .' " Kakutani typifies the book "as a mirror of Mr. Clinton's presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities. . ." She further describes the book as "sloppy, self-indulgent," (do ya think?) "and often eye-crossingly dull -- the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history."

"Legacy." I'm sorry, did I just write the word legacy?

Or the Associated Press "My Life" review: "The effect is mind-numbing. It's like being locked in a small room with a very gregarious man who insists on reading his entire appointment book, day by day, beginning in 1946." Or the summation of the review: "You dig and you dig. And in the end, it just isn't worth it."

This is going so poorly now, let's allow some facts to get in the way:

- 40 government officials were indicated or convicted in the wake of Watergate under Nixon;
- There was a total of 31 convictions for Iran-Contra and HUD scandal under Reagan;
- 47 individuals and businesses pleaded guilty to crimes with 33 of these occurring during the Clinton administration. There were 61 indictments or misdemeanor charges. 14 persons were imprisoned.

Clinton was or had:
- The first president to establish a legal defense fund [and actually acquire persons to contribute];
- The first president to be accused of rape;
- The first president to be sued for sexual harassment;
- The largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case;
- The greatest number of witnesses against him to flee the country or refuse to testify;
- The greatest number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation;
- The first president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance, and, only one of two ever impeached.

Number of times persons (partial list: I don't have that much space!) testified in court or before Congress they didn't know, or didn't recall something:

- Hillary Clinton: 250
- Bill Kennedy: 116
- Jennifer O'Connor: 343
- Patsy Thomasson: 420

And, of course, Bill Clinton claimed he would have "the most ethical administration ever."

James Carville once said: "If they focus on Clinton's accomplishments it'll have to be a 10-year course." He also said: "You all will never get over the fact that Bill Clinton was the greatest president in the last 50 years. You'll never get over the fact that this guy in here [GW Bush] can't walk and chew gum at the same time."

Sigh. I repeat, at the risk of being repetitive (The Department of Redundancy Department): this is in fact the Legacy That Won't Go Away -- though not for lack of trying on my part.

It really is quite sad. I have no true animus towards Mr. Clinton. He is a lamentable and pathetic creature, plagued by his upbringing (I shall not even go into the paths created by divorce here) and inflated sense of self esteem and worth. A brilliant mind, yes. A wonderful manipulator, yes. But a legacy?

Here it is: here is Mr. Clinton's "Legacy:"

Semen stains on a dress. "I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Impeachment.

And, oh, Bill? Guess what? You only have yourself to thank for that.

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