During the waning days of the Clinton administration, there was much talk of the president’s legacy. A major focus was the Middle East. Indeed, many news reports were critical of the administration for pressuring Israel to give too many concessions to the Palestinians so that a peace deal could be achieved before Mr. Clinton left office.

Neither friends nor foes need have lost any sleep worrying about it. Bill Clinton’s legacy is secure and unassailable. I was reminded of that legacy when reading about yet another giant corporate debacle, this time Shell Oil. Senior executives, it seems, spent years lying to the public and investors about the amount of oil reserves the company held, and thus its prospects for future investment income. Now both top executives are gone, but the problems brought about by their lying remain for more honest folks to deal with.

Lying, it seems to me, is the chief legacy of the Clinton administration. Whether it’s sex, today’s earnings, tomorrow’s oil reserves, your pension or my retirement funds, the answer is to lie about it. It really doesn’t matter what the question is – if there is the remotest chance the truth might hurt you, the answer is to lie, and hurt the other guy.

Are you engaged in journalism? Having trouble keeping up with the reporter in the next cubicle? Just make up the stories and sources. Who will know?

Are you infected with AIDS but afraid the latest hottie you’ve hooked up with won’t have sex with you if you’re HIV-positive? Just lie. Who will know?

Did you spend too much time in drunken orgies to get good grades at college? Then lie about your grades and coursework. If you attended one of the nation’s elite colleges or universities, that’s already included with your tuition: The ivy league will lie for you about the outcome through “grade inflation.” Perhaps that’s how corporate America became staffed with the current crop of bozos who think lying to investors is just part of their job.

I remember as impeachment talk emerged that Democrats were quick to dismiss the president’s lying over the Lewinsky affair with a curt “Everybody lies about sex” response. It caught on in the media, where it must have held more than a grain or two of truth. What both the media and the Democrats failed to tell us was that “everybody lies about everything else,” as well.

It’s been 12 years since the Clinton administration began lying its way into a legacy, and those of us who protested at the time have been vindicated by the pain and suffering that followed. Millions of the “little people” who the Clintons, the Democrats and the media claim to care so much about have been hurt in a big way by people at the top of corporate America lying to them. Retirements have been scrapped and dreams demolished. College nest-eggs scrambled. State government finances a shambles.

A big part of the reason that lying gained widespread acceptance was because every Democratic senator looked America in the eye and said by his or her words and actions that lying – even by the chief law-enforcement officer in the nation – under oath in a court of law “did not rise to the level of impeachment.”

Oddly enough, had the Democrats taken the path of integrity and voted to impeach Bill Clinton, Al Gore would probably have been president today (he would have run as an incumbent) and Hillary would probably be rehearsing her triumphant entry into the White House after Gore’s second term.

Lying was No. 9 on God’s “Top 10” list of things he thought were real bad ideas for humanity. I’ve often wondered if that’s the reason that so many Democrats and their supporters have worked so hard to remove the Ten Commandments from public view. Perhaps they don’t like the daily reminder of their guilt being in the way as they move their agenda forward.

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