The collapse of communism presented America with an opportunity. Unfortunately, by 1998 our inattention had left us adrift. Financial crises were shaking the new Russian Republic. Yugoslavia was continuing its bloody disintegration. Framed by these daunting challenges, The Leader of the Free World took the podium beside the inspirational and iconic Czech President, Vaclav Havel, to take control of the narrative.
That plan didn’t survive three minutes. Once the preliminaries were out of the way, the press began to explore the most pressing question in the room – could President Clinton still lead the country. At this moment when the world looked to its lone superpower for a path toward a new global order, that superpower was otherwise engaged, hopelessly distracted by the sordid politics of a banana republic.
By the summer of 1998, the Clinton Administration had lost its capacity to govern. President Clinton, the Bill Cosby of politics, had sexually harassed one woman too many. In an effort to conceal a mind-bogglingly stupid tryst with a subordinate less than half his age, Clinton had perjured himself in a deposition. That deposition had risen from yet another episode of workplace harassment. For the final three years of his Administration, Bill Clinton was little more than a professional defendant. The Clinton Administration devolved into a drama that could have been co-written by Mike Judge and William Faulkner.
There was no reason for the country to be hostage to Clinton’s demons. A capable Vice-President could have stepped up at any moment to take charge without compromising any of the Administration’s political goals. There is no evidence that Bill or Hillary Clinton ever considered putting the needs of the country above their own vaulting ambitions. America would continue on auto-pilot while the Clintons borrowed its resources to protect and promote themselves. Hillary Clinton, “feminist” and “advocate for women’s rights” stood shoulder to shoulder with her husband the serial harasser in defense of nothing more noble than her own ambitions.
Bill and Hillary Clinton’s decision to insulate themselves from the consequences of his actions put the 2000 Democratic nominee in a nearly impossible situation. Their choices practically handed that race to one of the most catastrophically inept men ever to hold the office.
For all they took from the country, for all they dragged us through, the Clintons have never yet expressed any sentiment on the matter beyond their own narcissistic sense of persecution. To this day, we are all supposed to pretend that they were the victims.
I was disgusted by the Clintons for their blithe willingness to place ambition ahead of duty. I have despised them for their smug, self-serving politics, smothered beneath a treacly, sanctimonious veneer. Through naked self-interest and shameless abuse of power they have managed to convert a string of government jobs in to a nine-figure fortune.
After years of loathing, I am about to cast a vote to send a Clinton to the White House. Not only will I be voting for Hillary Clinton, I will do it in gratitude for her leadership. A Clinton is now all that stands between the country I love and a dangerous megalomaniac nominated by my former partisans. I am counting on Hillary Clinton to save us all.
As the sickness in the Republican Party has deepened, we can look back and see a far more complex moral portrait of the Clinton Administration. Clinton was not unique in his actions or attitudes. The stunningly hypocritical, self-serving, partisan prosecution of the President by ambitious Congressmen did more harm to the country than Bill Clinton’s abuses.
While Clinton was on trial for lying about employee sexual harassment, Republican Congressman pressing for his impeachment included the following seedy creeps:
While Gingrich was orchestrating Clinton’s impeachment he was cheating on his cancer-stricken wife with a pretty, young Congressional staffer. He later divorced his wife and married the object of his affair. Among the endlessly clanging ironies of their skeevy existence, the two of them now make a handsome living producing documentaries and children’s books (!!!) about character.
Gingrich hasn’t been as financially successful as the Clinton’s but not because scruples have stood in his way. He performed lobbying for Freddie Mac in the run-up to the financial crisis and built a dubious “think tank” that covered many of his expenses. He now has a (reported) net worth in excess of $6m.
When Gingrich’s scandals forced him to step down in the middle of the impeachment campaign, Livingston tried to succeed him. He failed after his own extra-marital affairs were exposed. On his resignation, he was succeeded by hard-core Christian Conservative David Vitter, who would later be exposed for his relationships with prostitutes. Livingston now enjoys a successful career as a lobbyist.
One of Mark Foley’s signature issues in office, apart from the Clinton prosecution, was an effort to ban the commercial photography of children. He claimed that child modeling was little more than “a fix for pedophiles.” Perhaps instead of mocking his bizarre fixation we should have taken more seriously the man’s veiled cry for help.
Foley would resign over his sexual harassment of male, teenaged Congressional pages. He had been asking them for explicit photos in online chat sessions. He would go on to open a charming consignment shop in West Palm Beach while building a successful lobbying career.
After his years of noisy anti-Clinton, anti-gay, “pro-family” grandstanding, Rep. Craig would be arrested for soliciting gay sex in the Minneapolis airport bathroom. He refused to resign his Senate seat after his arrest and subsequent guilty plea were made public. In a now-legendary interview with Matt Lauer Senator Craig awkwardly denied the gayness while Lauer ran through a laundry list of previous accusations. Craig’s wife managed to hold a tense smile through the whole, super-hetero exercise.
Here’s what Larry Craig had to say about Bill Clinton in 1999. Let me emphasize that this is not satire and I am not making this up: “The American people already know that Bill Clinton is a bad boy – a naughty boy. I’m going to speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.” Oh, that nasty, naughty boy…
Craig is now a lobbyist for the coal industry.
Rep. Fossella had this to say about his vote for the Clinton Impeachment, “People are so turned off, so disgusted, so nervous about their children reading or learning about this salacious stuff that they may want it over and done with and fast.”
Fossella, who reportedly refuses to attend family events if they involve his gay sister, has a child through an adulterous relationship. It is likely no one would have discovered the relationship if Fossella hadn’t been arrest for DUI. Again, I’m not making this up, his DUI followed his attendance that day of a welcome ceremony for the Irish Prime Minister. Seriously.
And of course, Fossella now enjoys a successful lobbying career.
Do you like wrestling? Maybe you do, but I bet you don’t like wrestling as much as former Republican Speaker of the House Denny Hastert does!
While voting to impeach Bill Clinton, Hastert was working to conceal evidence that he had raped boys he had coached on his wrestling team. Over the years he spent almost a million dollars in hush money to keep the allegations quiet. His actions only surfaced after financial irregularities related to the payments were discovered. A substantial portion of his legal defense was paid with funds from a PAC he had established.
Hastert of course, was a successful lobbyist. And a serial child molester. Now he is in prison.
As the Special Prosecutor assigned to harry the Clinton Administration, Starr was relentless in pursuit of allegations against the President. On the narrowest of legal grounds he pressed the country into a Constitutional crisis over claims that Bill Clinton was covering up infidelity.
Over time he seems to have mellowed on the subject of sexual misconduct and even rape. In 2010 he became President of Baylor University and launched an aggressive campaign to build a lucrative football powerhouse. When students who had been raped by Baylor football players appealed to the school for help, their accusations were suppressed, investigations were mishandled, and the school aggressively protected its prized football program.
When victims began to press the matter Waco police moved into action and the cases were pursued. Two players in question are now serving prison sentences for rape. A damning independent investigation solicited by the school led to Starr’s resignation and the firing of the football coach.
As recently as June, Starr described the coach as “an iconic father figure who is a genius.” After all, nothing says “father figure” like helping to cover up a young man’s rapes.
Starr reportedly plans to continue his spirited legal activism in support of religious liberty.
There is not enough room in a blog post to reference all of the affairs, out of wedlock children, arrests, convictions, and other shenanigans of the Republican Congressmen who rode their high horses into battle against the Clintons. Names include Henry Hyde, Dan Burton, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham, Strom Thurmond, Pete Dominici, Helen Chenowith and on and on and on. In case you’re wondering, almost all of them who are still alive and not in prison are now successful lobbyists.
If anything at all distinguishes Bill Clinton from his prosecutors, it’s their hypocrisy and the Clintons’ subsequent record of service. Fast forward twenty years and the Clintons have existed under almost universal public scrutiny without a single subsequent instance of wrongdoing. Hillary Clinton has had years of her email communications turned over to her frothing enemies on Capitol Hill and they uncovered nothing worth pursuing.
Would I and other Americans prefer to see a man or woman of untarnished character in the White House? Absolutely, but we aren’t going to get that opportunity in 2016. And on a more unsettling note, we’ve had almost sixteen years under the leadership of Presidents who were paragons of personal virtue and family values. On further reflection that kind of moral character, as a qualification for running the free world, might be just a bit over-rated.
Having mercilessly derided the Clintons for decades, I am now counting on one of them to rescue America. While many of Clinton’s prosecutors have ended their careers in disgrace, Hillary Clinton is on her way to the highest office in the land. If she can defend us as doggedly and capably as she defended her husband and herself, we will all be in very good capable hands.
Karma is a bitch…in a pantsuit.
For those who make the living in the world of technology, this article may be of interest.
I was still voting Republican during the Clinton administration, but my memory of the investigations are different than Lifer’s.
Bill Clinton took office in January 1993. Ken Starr began his investigation in August 1994, a year and half into Clinton’s first term. The investigation lasted into the Bush Administration. New insinuations were announced every few weeks, but nothing ever came of any of them.
I can’t find a reference on the internet, but I remember Ken Starr trying to get out of the investigation, and he was ordered to go back and *find something.* None of the significant allegations were solid enough to prosecute, so Clinton was asked questions under oath about his sexual relations with political groupies. He lied about what he did with whom, and the Republicans tried to hang him for that.
It seemed obvious to me back then that it was a politically-motivated process, designed to drain as much energy from the president.
Your conclusion that it was politically motivated was absolutely correct. That was MO during the Bill Clinton Administration and is was continued for HiIlary. The investigations will continue if Hillary is elected President. Fortunately, she is a tough, tough woman and knows what to expect.
For the Obama Administration they decided that continuous investigations would not work because he is an American of African descent and because his administration has been very clean and ethical. They felt that continuous investigations would backfire. So they decided to use total, scorched-earth obstructionism plus false rumors and innuendo. The exception was made for Hillary and Benghazi, because she is a Clinton and was planning on running in 2016. In the course of investigating Benghazi they found the private email server. It made no difference that Republicans had used private email accounts – the private server was the difference. Now it is the Clinton Foundation. Just the subject has changed, the MO is the same.
The perjury allegations came from a separate sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a woman named Paula Jones. It was an action independent of the Whitewater investigation Starr was leading.
Jones was a state employee in AR who claimed that then-Gov Clinton had her escorted to his hotel room by his guard detail and tried to press her into a sexual encounter – a pattern familiar from another dozen or so additional cases.
Her attorneys sought to demonstrate a pattern of behavior and found Lewinsky. Only after Clinton lied in a sworn deposition about his encounter with Lewinsky did Starr get dragged into the matter.
Because of the perjury, the Lewinsky episode ended up eclipsing the other sexual harassment and rape allegations.
I was living in the USA during this period and that is most definitely NOT what I remember happening!!
Neither does anyone else. All anyone remembers is the blue dress.
Wasn’t there also an accusation of rape against Mr. Clinton?
I once read a conversation on a comments board in which someone was under the impression that the Clinton scandal originated because “it was illegal to have sex in the White House.”
Cute misunderstanding. If that were the case, then most of our Presidents and First Ladies would be guilty.
Speaking for myself, a consequence of the 1990s investigations is to inoculate Hillary Clinton against similar attacks. My emotional response is to lump Vince Foster, Benghazi, and influence peddling into a single pile and ignore it all. She could do something shockingly unethical, and my first response would be to give her a pass because I’ve heard too many years of people crying wolf.
That’s mostly right. Though Paula Jones lost her sexual harassment suit because her own testimony made clear that Clinton did NOT try to “press” her into a sexual relationship. He did ( disgustingly) ” take it out” but when Jones indicated revulsion ( and this is HER testimony) he zipped up and said “Hey I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.” He made no threats or entireties (no ” hey I could really help your career”). She said no actions were taken against her after declining the then governors very crude advances.
As for Liwenski, her testimony to Ken Starr was that after she lifted up her skirt to show Clinton her thong he asked her ” would it be ok if I kissed you”
This is the behavior of a womanizer. Not a harasser. If you don’t understand the difference you’ll never understand sex harassment law.
Look up this “harassment law” concept: hostile work environment.
What about your assertion of rape in the Jones case? Did I misunderstand you?
Annie, You seem to know details on the Jones/Lewinsky encounters that I have never heard, but that directly refute Lifer’s claim that Clinton attempted to “rape” Jones. Legal parlance aside, one of you is wrong…The only reason this matters to me is to have more confidence in the facts of what happened and the accuracy of the opinions/statements of those who make public comments on this issue. It is obvious that Clinton was a womanizer and it is helpful to differentiate the legal difference between that activity and sexual harassment.
Ah, the blue dress. I thought President Clinton was lucky in so much as the Republicans had exhausted the public credulity over 6 years with some wild accusations that led to expensive go no where investigations ie Whitewater…had they cried WOLF! only during the Paula Jones suit depositions they might have forced a resignation with some integrity. They still would have had egg on their faces as the next 2 Speakers (Gingrich and Hastert) were reprehensible men.
More info from Trump’s best pal and unofficial campaign advisor Roger Ailes.
Warning: It’s gross.
“Andrea Tantaros claims that fired Fox News CEO Roger Ailes referred to network contributor Stacey Dash as “the black girl” and co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle as a “Puerto Rican whore” in a newly filed sexual harassment lawsuit.”
Sexist, verbally abusive and racist. Or as I like to call it now, “The Roger Ailes Trifecta”.
Please tell me again why black people, women who don’t like their bosses grabbing their a$$ and Latinos should support Trump and his bid for president?
Clearly he is not picking “the best people”.
Rumor has it Ailes will be helping Trump prep for debates. Yeah, against the first major party female candidate for president.
I imagine their first debate encounter will be further illuminating of the mentality of the GOP’s “Mad Men”.
This post is the appropriate venue for this story about the damage to Clinton’s campaign from the Clinton Foundation news…..Clearly, the Trump campaign and the GOP are doing cartwheels. 76 days is a loooong time……….
Even in an optimistic scenario, it may be worth considering that a Basic Income could be too tough a lift all at once. Perhaps transforming the EITC into a full negative income tax would be a good first step to open the door and get more people to think and talk seriously about it.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Words to live by, Republican Party…
I think I have the comment of the day that wins the internet.
Here is something someone wrote on ABC news website regarding Donald Trump and black voters he hopes to woo.
It is beyond elegant and juicy…
“By all means they should vote for the guy that wouldn’t even rent to them. Great idea.”
If you lived in NC, this pending SC appeal would look pretty interesting to you about now. We’ll see if the SC punts (deadlock 4/4) or truly looks at the merits of the case – For SC “Justice Roberts, the case tests his prevailing view in the decision in Shelby County v. Holder to eliminate the Voting Rights Act’s pre-clearance decision on the ground that things have changed in the South since the law was enacted in 1965. The recent spate of voter ID laws and other vote suppression laws provides an ironic confirmation of sorts: disenfranchising minority voters is now practiced not just in the South but in other states, such as the once-progressive Wisconsin. Still, Texas and North Carolina carried vote suppression further than any of the states to the north.’
Gutting the Voting Rights Act has really helped eliminate voter suppression………Not. It is clear that (1) voter suppression is ongoing and expanding, and (2) it was always about ‘freeing’ states to engage in the very voter suppression tactics as seen in the NC challenge.
I think Justice Roberts is a fair man and I give him the benefit of the doubt that he truly DID believe (pre Ferguson, pre BLM etc) that race was a thing of the past.
Four years ago is a lifetime ago w/r to race relations, and it is plausible that a well meaning privileged wbite man could have truly believed that.
But that time is past. If he still holds to the view that the voting fraud laws are not race related, and that race isn’t really a problem anynore, then he’s being wilfully clueless.
That said, it would be a powerful validation of the problem if the CJ of the SCOTUS says “I said race was no longer a problem. I now see I was wrong”. Im optimistic he’s going to have a mea culpa moment.
I’m not as trusting of CJ Roberts as you are, but there is plenty of evidence of amped up new voting laws to support vigilance and action as needed. NC is a grievous example of targeted abuse and if he passes on his opportunity here, it will clearly open the way for even more voter access infringement. This is a real problem and a real opportunity for the SC to send a clear message on voter rights. If he allows the court to simply deadlock, you might have to rethink your opinion. If he weighs in to uphold the lower court ruling, I will have to rethink my opinion.