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As Bill Clinton turned to re-enter the White House after reading his
post-acquittal statement, Sam Donaldson asked him whether he could
forgive those who tried to remove him from office. He then returned to
the microphone and delivered his answer.
With all due respect to Mr. Donaldson, isn’t the question itself
misguided? What possible entitlement could Bill Clinton have to forgive
anyone? We might as well just ask O.J. the same thing about Marcia
Clark. Acquittals born of jury nullification are not vindication.
But this wasn’t just another provocative question from the pugnacious
reporter. Donaldson, like the rest of us, was aware of Clinton’s
reputation for revenge and was probably thinking of The New York Times
report that Clinton’s advisers said he was planning revenge because he
was furious at House Republicans over his impeachment.
White House press secretary Joe Lockhart emphatically denied that
Clinton was launching a campaign of revenge.
Other than the fact that all statements coming out of the White House
must be treated as presumptively false until demonstrated otherwise by
clear and convincing evidence, are there any other reasons we should be
skeptical about these denials?
First, let’s look at Clinton’s precisely chosen words to Donaldson:
“I believe any person who asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to
give it.” He didn’t say, “Of course I’ll forgive, because it’s the right
thing to do,” but rather “I (or any person) will, if there’s something
in it for me.”
Donaldson’s question was not whether any person could forgive,
nor whether Clinton was prepared to forgive, but whether he, Bill
Clinton, could forgive. Note that in his speech he never asked for
forgiveness. Are we, therefore, free to assume that he has no intention
of forgiving? Let’s look at the other evidence:
- A. The liberal New York Times didn’t say their source was a
Republican, but White House advisers.
B. Clinton’s own statements are incriminating:
- 1. The post-grand jury speech where, under the guise of
contrition, he issued vitriol against Ken Starr and his attackers.
2. When Dick Morris reportedly suggested that Clinton trash Monica
when her story first surfaced, Clinton didn’t tell him, “No, that would
be wrong,” but “Not yet, because she may still be sympathetic to us”
(and unsympathetic to the prosecution).
3. His defamatory statements to Betty Currie and Sidney Blumenthal
that Monica was the aggressor.
C. George Stephanopoulos warned early on in this scandal that if
Bill Clinton was going down he would take others down with him through a
scorched-earth policy. Is George clairvoyant, or did he have first-hand
knowledge of the planned tactics of the First Avenger? Or was it just a
coincidence that, later, dirt was systematically delivered against
Clinton’s most powerful opponents: Henry Hyde, Bob Livingston, David
Schippers, Bob Barr and others? Larry Flynt talked about exposing
Democrats but curiously never got around to doing it.
D. Bill Clinton denies any connection with Flynt’s and Carville’s
destructive actions, yet both say they are engaging in such behavior to
help the president. If that’s true, doesn’t it stand to reason that he
could call them off if he wanted to? His failure to do so speaks
volumes. Plus, we may have witnessed an unintended admission by Carville
during his recent appearance on Letterman: “I’m proud to be his friend.
I’m proud of the job he has done. I’m proud that he asked for my help
in his hour of need and I was proud to provide the help.”
E. If Stephanopoulos, Currie, Blumenthal, Flynt, Carville and other
unnamed Clinton advisers aren’t close enough to Clinton for you, how
about his wife? The New York Daily News reports that she is “dusting off
her war bonnet” and is prepared to “start settling some scores.”
Is there really any question that Clinton has been behind the
politics of personal destruction and planning for more as The New York
Times story implies? The evidence pointing towards that conclusion are
his own self-revealed attitude and that of his wife, the words of his
named and unnamed advisers, and his consistent history of intimidating
and terrorizing women. The evidence pointing against it are the denials
of Clinton and Joe Lockhart, two of the most credible men of the era.
As Heather Higgins of the Independent Women’s Forum quipped, “He’s
the architect of much of the politics of personal destruction. Of course
he is going to do this.”
To paraphrase some familiar aphorisms: When there’s this much smoke
there must be a raging fire; Hell hath no fury like an amoral,
narcissistic, megalomaniacal sociopath scorned; and anger is only one
letter short of danger.