My friend Rush Limbaugh says President Clinton and his cronies get up
in the morning and ask themselves: “How can we fool them (the American
This observation was never better illustrated than by last Friday’s
story in The New York Times speculating on what Clinton might say today
when questioned under oath by Kenneth Starr’s investigators. No matter
what lie the president actually tells today, the amazing Times account,
based on interviews with his closest advisers, makes it clear that
Clinton’s sworn testimony will be based on his one and only guiding
imperative — political expediency.
There is simply no other way to interpret this extremely credible,
straightforward report by four distinguished, veteran journalists from
the nation’s newspaper of record. It says, in essence, that, as late as
last week, the president was discussing with his inner circle whether he
should admit what everyone already knows — that he had a sexual affair
with White House intern Monica Lewinsky — or continue the blatant
pattern of perjury he began in the Paula Jones case.
The fascinating part of the story is that, in either case, Clinton
would clearly still be lying. You see, even Clinton’s “admission”
wouldn’t be truthful. Far from it. His cover story, according to his
closest advisers, would be that his sworn deposition in the Jones case
stating that he had not had sex with Lewinsky was based on a severely
strained, lawyerly interpretation of the definition approved by the
judge in the case: “For the purpose of this deposition, a person engages
in ‘sexual relations’ when the person knowingly engages in or causes
contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or
buttocks of any person with an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual
desire of any person.”
Knowing what we all know about the nature of Clinton’s boorish,
sexually selfish relationship with Lewinsky, it is plausible, I guess,
that Clinton had no intention of arousing or gratifying her at all. His
relationship with her, like all his relationships, was based exclusively
on self-gratification. Thus, ever the lawyer, Clinton discussed with his
inner circle what he believed was a sexual loophole based on this
Rush often talks about an “arousal gap” to explain why so many more
women than men continue to support Clinton’s presidency. But Clinton
seems to have discovered another arousal gap to his liking — one he
thinks could save him from a perjury rap.
Yet, there was far more deceit involved in Clinton’s Paula Jones
deposition than his lies about sex. He also swore that he scarcely knew
Lewinsky. He claimed not to recall whether he had given her any gifts –
even when he was reminded about quite specific items, evidence he later
demanded be returned through his secretary Betty Currie.
Then there’s the little problem of his encouraging Lewinsky to
perjure herself in the Jones case. That’s obstruction of justice.
So, let’s see. We have abuse of power, moral turpitude, perjury,
obstruction of justice, lying to the American people — and that’s just
the Lewinsky case. There’s much more to what we used to call “Tailgate.”
Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, etc., etc. And that’s just the sex scandal
stuff. Beyond that are far more serious offenses in Chinagate, Filegate,
Travelgate, Whitewater, etc., etc.
Still there are people actually questioning whether all this
represents sufficient grounds for impeachment. I actually heard John
Podhoretz, the supposedly conservative editorial page editor of the New
York Post and a muckety-muck at the Weekly Standard, say he wouldn’t
want to see the president impeached. I say impeachment is too good for
him. He should be tried on criminal charges. He should be disbarred. He
should be disgraced along with his entire inner circle who helped devise
his shifty strategies of political survival at any cost.
I don’t know exactly what Clinton will pull today. But I do know that
it will be about as far from “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but
the truth” as you can get. He can’t help it. It’s his nature. He’s good
at it. And, so far, it has served him well. Why should anyone expect him
to change horses when he is three-quarters of the way out of the stream?
No. Rush is right. Today will be like any other day in the Clinton
era of fraud and deceit. We all know it. Yet, we’ll all be tuning in to
the big show. We’ll watch in amazement and perhaps even with a little
admiration to see how the master decided to fool us one more time.