Winkin’, Blinken and Nod

By Joseph Farah

Remember Bob Beckel, the tough-talking Democratic Party strategist who never tired of defending President Clinton for his indefensible actions in victimizing women at every opportunity?

Apparently it wasn’t just a matter of political partisanship with Beckel, a frequent guest on cable TV talk shows.

Like Clinton, Beckel risked everything – his family, his career as a political consultant and his reputation as an astute political analyst – for the private visitations of a high-priced call girl.

Here’s what happened, according to the Northern Virginia Journal: Between June 27 and June 29, Beckel paid a woman $1,900 to visit his Maryland home secretly and perform various sex acts.

But, as so often happens, Beckel’s sins found him out.

Afterward, Beckel received a letter telling him to drop off $50,000 in cash to keep his wife, employer and newspapers from learning about the trysts.

Beckel first went to his lawyer. Then he contacted authorities. On Aug. 21, Angela Anglin, Abdullah Hamid and Eric Holland were arrested on extortion charges.

Anglin, Hamid and Holland have not been charged with prostitution or running a prostitution ring because police are focusing on the extortion investigation, which carries a heavier penalty.

Beckel has not been charged.

Nevertheless, Beckel was forced to resign from a U.S. Senate campaign he was managing. And he has not appeared on television since the story broke.

No one is going around making excuses for Beckel like he made for Clinton. No one is saying what Beckel does in the privacy of his own home is his own business. No one is saying we have to separate the private Beckel from the public Beckel.

Even a U.S. Senate campaign in Idaho considers Beckel a liability, a campaign security risk, or worse, because of his imprudent behavior. He opened himself up for blackmail and extortion through his careless, immature actions. No one wants someone like that around them – at least not in a position where they can damage others.

I raise all this today just as a reminder of the double-standard people like Beckel created for Clinton throughout his term of office. He, remember, was above the law. He was above morality. He was above reproach. He was above it all.

Instead of holding the occupant of the highest office in the land to a higher standard of behavior – or even the same standard of behavior as ordinary mortals – we were told by the Bob Beckels of the world that this just wasn’t an important matter. Groping new widows in the Oval Office? Not important. Carrying on long-term affairs with at least two women during his governorship and then trying to buy their silence? Not important. Having oral sex with White House interns? Not important. Exposing himself as governor to a young woman he spotted in his home state? Not important. Violently raping another constituent in Arkansas? Not important.

But Bob Beckel found out that improper behavior is still important in the real world – even the way we comport ourselves in the most intimate and private settings.

Yes, no one likes a cheat – not spouses, not employers. And cheating opens us up to more sin – just as it did with Clinton. A cheater, like Clinton and Beckel, is an easy target for blackmail and extortion. A cheater, like Clinton and Beckel, can easily convince himself that committing perjury is OK if it’s only about his private life. A cheater, like Clinton and Beckel, can redefine words and construe new meanings in words as simple as “is.”

I often wondered about the consciences of those who apologized endlessly for Clinton. Now I realize they didn’t have any. Now I realize that they not only weren’t repulsed by Clinton’s behavior, they admired it. Now I realize that some of them are still going out and trying to live like Bill.

It’s time to bring back a simple concept called shame. It’s time for guilt to make a comeback. It’s time for Americans to realize how stupid they were for enduring eight years of Bill Clinton’s animal-house antics – completely aside from his other obvious failures as a political leader.

I’m glad Bob Beckel got caught. I don’t feel sorry for him. I hope more cheaters are exposed this way. We ought to have a zero-tolerance policy for adultery in this country. It’s not right for businessmen. It’s not right for stay-at-home moms. It’s not right for political consultants. And it sure isn’t right for presidents of the United States.