I beg your pardon.

Not the kind you get when you pay off a Clinton relative. No, I’m questioning the false moral equivalencies the Clinton minions use as excuses for his shameful pardons. I’m saying, “Pardon me” to the following myths I’ve heard Clintonistas utter:

Myth No. 1: Hugh Rodham and Roger Clinton are like all scandalous presidential relatives.

Believe it or not, the Associated Press actually had the gall to compare the Clinton relatives to other presidents’ relatives. It’s the same old deliberate effort by Clinton defenders to minimize their despicable acts with the “everybody does it” excuse. The same line was used during Monicagate. But AP’s current effort is very weak.

AP compares Clinton relatives to Jack Ford, Gerald Ford’s son. What were his crimes? “He enjoyed a shaggy look and stepping out with celebrities … complained Secret Service agents cramped his romantic style. The ‘groovy’ first son, determined to buck dad’s square
image, dated Chris Evert, posed with Bianca Jagger and admitted to smoking marijuana.” Huh? Those are crimes? Dating and posing with celebrity females? That’s the same as prostituting pardons for mega-dollars? Even the last action, admitting smoking marijuana, isn’t a big deal with Clinton — chief enforcer of federal drug laws — admitting the same. Unlike Jack Ford, he was president. At least Ford didn’t lie about inhaling.

The comparison to Billy Carter, Jimmy’s brother, is more accurate. When Bill Clinton first ran for president, David Letterman’s “Top Ten Reasons to Vote for Clinton,” included, “If you liked Billy Carter, you’ll love Roger Clinton.” Letterman had no idea how prophetic he was. Billy promoted “Billy Beer,” which like Billy went belly up. He also took money for lobbying on behalf of Libya in 1979, earning a federal inquiry, and bragged, “Nothing embarrasses me.” Similarly, Roger Clinton boasted of having a “walk-in closet full of skeletons.” Billy missed the boat. Look at all the money he could’ve made selling
pardons.

Myth No. 2: Jimmy Carter has legitimate standing to attack the Clinton pardons.

It’s nice to know that, now that the Clintons are gone from the White House, Jimmy Carter, his former chief of staff Hamilton Jordan, Ed Koch and other Democrats have finally come around to admitting what a louse Bill Clinton is. But where were they for the last eight-plus years? Didn’t they think that lying under oath, having sex with a White House intern, selling Lincoln bedroom stays, etc. were wrong? We never heard a peep from them. In fact, Koch campaigned for Madame Hillary. Thanks, Ed.

And have we forgotten Carter’s unprecedented wholesale pardon of every Vietnam War draft dodger? As former secretary of the Navy, James Webb, points out, they got to live in freedom and safety, while thousands of American blue collar boys gave life and limb in Southeast Asia, and like Marc Rich, they never served a day in prison. Mr. Carter’s outrage now is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Myth No. 3: Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich was no different than George Bush’s pardon of Caspar Weinberger.

Wrong. Weinberger is an American patriot who served this country in several administrations. He served in World War II with the 41st Infantry Division in the Pacific and on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s Intelligence Staff. Unlike Rich, he never traded with the enemy, never fled this country to evade charges and paying his taxes. And he never
renounced his U.S. citizenship or attempted to.

Rich and Weinberger are two entirely different animals. Rich is an arrogant rich guy who openly flouted the law, fled to Switzerland with his wife, Denise, cheated on her, divorced her, and then, to get a pardon, farmed her out to spend twice-a-week sessions with Bill Clinton over the last year of his presidency. (And those are only Ms. Rich’s visits on record at the White House. Former New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir confirms that Ms. Rich spent several visits alone with Mr. Clinton during various New York stopovers by the then-president. Rich, still living the high life, skiing in San Moritz with his bodyguard, is now being investigated for money laundering even by the see-no-evil, hear-no-evil Swiss government.

Weinberger, Ronald Reagan’s defense secretary, was charged with an alleged cover-up by Lawrence Walsh, the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra scandal. You know, the multimillion dollar investigation which brought almost no convictions, but which the liberal Democrats — who opposed multimillion dollar independent counsel investigations of Clinton — supported. The charges against Weinberger were trumped-up, and released to the public — surprise, surprise — just days before the 1992 presidential election contest between George Bush and Bill Clinton. Weinberger didn’t, in fact, cover up or lie about anything, and the evidence proving his innocence was in documents archived at the Library of Congress, where Walsh and his army of lawyers negligently and unethically failed to look.

The whole Iran-Contra investigation was a ridiculous goose-chase spurred by liberal Democrats, trying to micromanage Reagan’s foreign policy. Democrats like David Bonior and then-Speaker Jim Wright just couldn’t stand Reagan’s support of freedom and democracy versus Communist totalitarianism on our doorstep. Thank G-d the Contras did, indeed, receive arms to fight the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua. They helped eliminate Daniel Ortega’s Soviet-sponsored beachhead on the Western Hemisphere, and free, democratic elections ensued. Nicaragua is free today because of it. Equating Weinberger’s involvement in that with Marc Rich’s “activities” is like comparing a pumpkin to an ice
cube.

And the Weinberger argument also falls flat on another count. How do Clinton cronies justify Clinton’s other pardons — like drug dealer Carlos Vignali, or drug-money launderer Harvey Weinig, or child molester Mel Reynolds? The 176 pardons Clinton granted at the end of his presidency are only a portion of the over 400 pardons granted throughout his
presidency, including questionable 1996 pardons of his Whitewater partners in crime, well before Ken Starr had an opportunity to fully investigate them.

Myth No. 4: The Clintons are like “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

With all due respect to Rush Limbaugh, it would be a huge insult to Jed Clampett, Jethro Bodine, Elly May, Granny, and the millions of hard-working Americans they represented, to compare them to the Clintons. They may have lacked Hillary and Bill’s ivy-league diplomas from Yale, but the Clampetts made money the old-fashioned way — they earned it. They were decent, honest, hard-working country folk, who had to deal with the phoniness and snobbery of the Clintonesque Beverly Hills set.

Whatever the Clampetts may have lacked in style and grace, the Clintons outdo them geometrically in their lying, conniving, cheating and sheer prostitution of pardons, access, etc. You’d never see Jed or Jethro with Monica Lewinsky. And, unlike Hillary, Granny and Elly May had no problem staying home and baking cookies. Hillary’s $1,000-turned-$100,000 pork futures investment and her brother’s $400,000 pardons scheme are enough to make banker Mr. Drysdale and assistant Miss Hathaway blush.

As James Webb observes, unlike the Clintons, “Rednecks might hang a velvet picture of Elvis on their living room wall, but precious few would tolerate any sort of conduct that might demean the greatness of their country, much less take part in it.”

To paraphrase Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, I knew Jethro Bodine. I watched him on TV. Hugh, Roger, and Bill, you’re no Jethro.

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