Normally I try to avoid direct political commentary on this blog, but this isn’t going to be a normal election year and so I’m going to posting a few observations between now and November. This one is an air clearer; it’s something I think needs to be openly acknowledged before discussion can shift to a more current topic.
And we need, both as party partisans and American citizens as a whole, to acknowledge what went on here, and why it is important, and what we need to do to improve things in the future.
For those willing to face the ugly truth, proceed apace.
For the rest of you, here's a cute gif of a cat eating spaghetti.
For all his gifts and abilities as a politician, William Jefferson Clinton also has some serious psychological problems. He has a narcissistic personality but usually is capable of understanding the give and take of politics: In return for the adulation he craves, he also recognizes he must deliver something to his supporters.
So far, not significantly different from most politicians, and then only by degrees, not orders of magnitude.
But he has a zipper problem, and while 20 years ago that sort of thing could be shrugged off with a he-said-she-said eyeroll, now we’re in an era that demands an accounting for unwanted behavior.
He jeopardized himself, his family, his office, and the entire country with his behavior. Even if he had not gone on to commit a felony, he still behaved recklessly and foolishly.
Let me spell it out clearly: He should have had enough political savvy and sense of self-preservation that when Monica Lewinsky snapped her infamous thong at him, the next thing that should have happened would have seen a team of Secret Service agents hustling her into an interrogation chamber until they were 100% certain she wasn’t a plant by political rivals, followed by the mass firing of all people who had recommended her for the job or been her supervisors.
I understand having a strong sexual appetite, and I understand employing discreet professionals or volunteers to address those issues away from prying eyes.
But running a risk like that in literally the most visible office on earth? That’s insane.
The Lewinsky issue would have been bad enough on its own, but Clinton compounded it by getting involved with her while he knew he was under intense opposition scrutiny during the Paula Jones lawsuit.
Let’s run through a streamlined chronology on the matter:
- 1978 to 1989: Bill and Hillary Clinton invest as passive partners in the Whitewater real estate development. The investment goes south, eventually costing the Clintons tens of thousands of dollars. It also triggers a serious of business failures and accusations of shady dealings involving the Clintons.
- 1991 May 8: Paula Jones claims then Governor Bill Clinton had her brought up to a hotel room where he propositioned her, dropping his trousers in the process. She left without having sexual relations with him.
- 1992 March: A report on the Whitewater failures by the legal firm of Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro exonerates the Clintons of any wrong doing.
- 1992 March 8: A New York Times article on the Whitewater failure triggers public interest in the investment and the Clintons’ involvement.
- 1993 July 20: White House counsel Vince Foster, suffering from depression, feelings of personal failure, and public criticism by the media, commits suicide. Files pertaining to the Whitewater case are removed from his office but later returned and handed over for investigation. Rumors that his death was actually a homicide begin spreading among right wing media.
- 1994 April 22: Janet Reno, Clinton’s attorney general, appoints Robert Fiske to investigate Whitewater as an independent prosecutor.
- 1994 May 6: Two days before the statue of limitations were to run out for a sexual harassment claim, and following a magazine article written specifically for a Clinton opposition publication, Paula Jones files suit against Clinton not for sexual harassment but for defamation, claiming his refusal to deny he had sexual relations with her damaged her reputation. [Let’s come to a full stop here and analyze this: Bill Clinton denied ever having met her; he could have just as easily said, “I remember meeting her but my recollection of the meeting is different from hers. However, I know we had no sexual relations and anybody who says so is slandering her” and sidestepped the entire issue. She would have had her public confirmation of a denial of sexual relations, he would be able to claim he didn’t harass her. Jones was bringing her suit based on information she gave the writer for the magazine in question, and her decision to sue only guaranteed a “Yeah? So?” story outlived its shelf life by years.]
- 1994 August: Ken Starr replaces Fiske as independent counsel investigating Whitewater to avoid any possible conflict of interest charges regarding Fiske and Reno. The suicide of Vince Foster is also folded into this investigation.
- 1995 June: Monica Lewinsky comes to work at the White House as an unpaid intern.
- 1995 November: Lewinsky and Clinton begin a sexual relationship.
- 1996 April: Lewinsky is moved out of the White House and over to a paid job at the Pentagon where she meets Linda Tripp who subsequently records Lewinsky’s conversations re her affair with Clinton.
- 1997 May 27: The Supreme Court, over arguments by Clinton’s defense team that a seated president should not face a private lawsuit while in office, rules that Jones’ lawsuit may proceed. [Let’s come to another full stop: I think this was a terrible decision, if for no other reason it opens the office of president of the United States up to a never ending series of lawsuits that would sap time, resources, and energy away from the duty of running the country. Any lawsuit filed against a seated president should be put on hold until such time as the defendant has left office and can address the matter once again as a private citizen. This, of course, does not apply to lawsuits filed over executive orders, etc., which are a legitimate part of the governmental process.]
- 1997 August: Kathleen Wiley is allegedly groped by Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.
- 1997 October: Tripp plays the Lewinsky tapes for journalists. The information about the affair reaches Jones’ legal team.
- 1997 October 10: Ken Starr confirms Vince Foster’s death was suicide and no relation to the Whitewater investigation. This is the third official confirmation of Foster’s death by suicide.
- 1997 December 17: Lewinsky is subpoenaed by Jones’ legal team.
- 1997 December 28: Lewinsky visits the White House for the final time, claiming to have met privately with Clinton and that Clinton advised her to be evasive under oath regarding the Jones lawsuit. [Full stop again: At this point Clinton could have simply told Jones’ legal team that he wasn’t going to answer the suit and would accept a summary judgment. By Arkansas law, this meant the most Jones’ could receive would be the $750,000 she asked in damages plus a maximum of $85,000 in punitive damages as Arkansas had a law capping punitive damages in lawsuits where the defendant refuses to respond. As Jones eventually settled for $850,000 following Clinton’s impeachment, then Clinton would have saved $15,000 plus millions of dollars in legal bills as well as the attendant damage to his career and the country just by saying the legal equivalent of “Yeah, whatever”.]
- 1998 January 7: Lewinsky signs an affidavit in which she claims to have never had a sexual relationship with Clinton.
- 1998 January 16: Ken Starr is authorized to expand his Whitewater investigation to include Clinton’s involvement with Lewinsky.
- 1998 January 17 thru 26: In a series of meetings, Clinton allows and encourages several subordinates to provide false statements in Jones’ civil lawsuit, in particular in regards to his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
- 1998 January 19: Lewinsky’s name is mentioned publicly for the first time as a person having an affair with Bill Clinton.
- 1998 January 29: Lewinsky’s testimony is deemed unnecessary in the Jones case and is dropped.
- 1998 January 26: Clinton publicly denies having sexual relations with Lewinsky.
- 1998 March 10: Kathleen Wiley testifies to Ken Starr’s investigation that she was groped against her will by Bill Clinton in the Oval Office in August 1997.
- 1998 March 16: Clinton claims "nothing improper" occurred when Kathleen Wiley visited the Oval Office in August 1997.
- 1998 April 1: Jones lawsuit is thrown out.
- 1998 July 27: Lewinsky reaches an immunity deal with Ken Starr and testifies she had sexual relations with Clinton.
- 1998 July 31: Jones files an appeal.
- 1998 August 17: Clinton is questioned by Starr’s grand jury regarding Lewinsky. He initially denies the affair then obfuscates his testimony under oath. Realizing he can no longer keep it secret, Clinton immediately goes public and admits to having an affair. [Full stop: Remember Clinton began his affair with Lewinsky six months after the special independent investigation on Whitewater had begun, after Paula Jones had launched her lawsuit, after he knew he was the target of “a vast right wing conspiracy” to bring him down by any means possible and yet he still pursued his relationship with her and other women. This is the mark of a profoundly disturbed individual, a possible sociopath, certainly a narcissist, and most definitely a person whose judgment can and should be called into question.]
- 1998 November 3: Congressional election day.
- 1998 November 13: Clinton settles out of court with Jones for $850,000.
- 1998 November 19: Following that year’s congressional elections, Ken Starr exonerates the Clintons for their involvement in Whitewater.
- 1998 December 19: Congress, led by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, files articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton.
- 1999 January 3: Gingrich resigns as result of his own sexual affair. Bob Livingston is next in line for the speaker position.
- 1999 January 4: Bob Livingston announces his resignation effective March 1 and his refusal to accept the Speaker of the House position because of his own sexual affair.
- 1999 January 5: House Republicans select Dennis Hastert as the next Speaker of the House. Hastert will be the longest serving GOP Speaker in history, from 1999 to 2007. On May 15, 2015 he will be indicted on money laundering charges related to hush money he paid four men whom he raped as children when he was a high school wrestling coach. On October 15, 2015 he will plead guilty to both money laundering and being a serial child rapist.
- 1999 February 12: The U.S. Senate fails to remove William Jefferson Clinton from office.
Let me spell it out as simply as possible: Knowing he was targeted both by political enemies and by a federal investigation, Bill Clinton couldn’t keep his dick in his pants.
That’s not an admirable trait.
I don’t care if you have an open marriage, a polyamorous relationship, or are swingers: If you want to lead you need to have enough self-control to avoid being suckered into traps.
We are lucky that Clinton’s chief enemies were equally corrupt / hypocritical / inept American politicians.
Had he faced a truly determined enemy, one with more insight and sophistication than his domestic opposition, the result could have been disastrous.
This is not to pat the GOP then or now on the head and praise them; quite the contrary. For selfish reasons they destabilized the country, but we will examine their culpability later and in more detail.
Further, Clinton did indeed commit multiple felonies by committing perjury and suborning perjury in a case where he was the defendant.
Again, granted he shouldn’t have been sued while in office. Nonetheless, as president of the United States he is expected to hold to a higher standard than the average citizen.
And if the average citizen can go to jail for lying under oath and getting others to do the same, then Bill Clinton should have as well.
And this is not trivial “everybody lies about sex”.
Had he limited his lies just to public utterances it would have been bad enough.
He Lied Under Oath.
His word, and the word of the office of the president of the United States could not be trusted.
Think that’s no big deal?
Look at who followed him.
Look how that administration had no compunction whatsoever about lying under federal deposition, about violating their own oath of office, about sending Americans to fight a war based on known lies, how they lied about the execution of that war, how they lied about their own incompetence, how they lied about the origins of terror in the Middle East.
We face a gawdawful mess now that we the western democracies Can Not Fix!
The solution has to be found in the Middle East.
And it will not involve the United States except, God forbid, as a foreign interloper who makes things worse.
All thanks to Bill Clinton not being able to keep his mind off sex for fifteen minutes.
Now we’re in the most unusual election this country has ever faced.
On the one hand we have a man who is even more of a narcissist that Bill Clinton, and whatever skills and abilities and insights Clinton possessed are totally lacking in Donald Trump.
On the other -- barring some heretofore unheard of rebound by Bernie Sanders – is Hillary Clinton.
The wife of Bill Clinton.
Now, we don’t know what kind of relationship she has with Bill.
It is clear it has never been a conventional marriage and in recent years they have not been living as husband and wife and both of them seem to be the better for that.
As to Bill’s past behaviors, we don’t know she knew or how she came to know about it.
We do know this:
- She is tough.
- She is unflappable.
- She is capable of learning from past mistakes.
And we’ll get more into her character, both its pluses and its minuses, in a future post as well.
Right now I’m limiting my examination of her as a person who will be attached, for better or for worse, to Bill Clinton for as long as he’s alive.
She’s capable of being president.
She’s shown she has the chops necessary for the job.
But she’s married to a narcissistic sex offender.
At the very least, Bill can’t keep his hands to himself, and he’s not capable of regulating his behavior so to avoid traps set by political enemies.
That’s bad for everybody.
What has been reported about Bill Clinton in the past was blown off because of the attitudes in that era.
Those attitudes have changed.
If similar accusations arose now, they would be taken far more seriously.
You can thank Bill Cosby for that,
No matter how brilliant Bill Clinton may be on political matters, Hillary cannot afford to have him wandering around loose.
I’ve got two words for you on that: Billy Carter
And Billy Carter was just ineptly, comically, conventionally corrupt.
Bill Clinton has the potential of turning into the First Rapist simply because he has demonstrated an inability to stay out of honey traps.
He won’t even need to do anything, he just needs to get caught in an awkward position and then the smear extends beyond him to Hillary and the rest of the Democratic party and then to the progressive movement.
And ultimately the entire country will pay the penalty.
So here’s my recommendation for Hillary should she win in November:
Lock Bill up.
Send him to Camp David, give him all the cigars and porn he wants, call him up if you ever think his feedback on sticky political issues would be useful.
But for the love of all that’s sweet and holy -- DON’T LET HIM LEAVE!!!
Surround the place with the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and give them strict orders not to let him leave unless it’s to the hospital under armed guard or the morgue.
He is a danger to any future Democratic administration.