As I read the crescendo to opprobrium directed at Bill Clinton, I am tempted to laugh, a hysterical, plea for sanity. Andrew Sullivan says, in psychoanalyzing Clinton's rationale for getting a blowjob from Lewinsky:
So the real answer has to be either that he simply couldn't control his impulses (in which case he opens up the question of whether he was too psychologically damaged to carry such immense responsibility); or that he had become drunk with his own power and felt he could get away with anything (which raises the question of whether he was ethically capable of leading the United States).Is it really so hard to fathom why a middle aged man might accept a blowjob from an available twenty-something? It might not be the most intelligent thing Clinton ever did, but surely it is not a deep mystery?
Unlike, say, the forces motivating the Bush administration. Clinton's fecklessness related to cheating on his wife - deplorable, but personal. George W. Bush's has related to war: life and death, misery and destruction, deficits and debt. Sullivan thinks Clinton may have "become drunk with his own power and felt he could get away with anything;" George W. Bush gets the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense to write legal memos saying exactly that. Bush wants power, and has enlisted our institutional gatekeepers in his effort to acquire it. Contrasting the two, I can't stop thinking about yesterday.
Similarly, the Washington Post, in a fit of unwitting parody, revisits its mid 90's hysteria.
Yet Mr. Clinton's new book, "My Life," is also part of a long effort on its author's part to deny, and not just breeze over, his profound disrespect for the law when it inconvenienced him.The impeachment proceedings certainly showcased plenty of "profound disrespect" for the law: the media establishment and the entire Republican party signed onto an effort by extremists to commandeer the full authority of government investigatory apparatus to destroy a legitimate President. Investigations motivated by partisan animus corrupt the law more than anything Clinton could ever have imagined.
The matters leading to impeachment aren't the only ones where Mr. Clinton veers from the nonfiction category. The tangled real estate investments that became known as Whitewater merited investigation, and the inquiry produced numerous convictions. The campaign finance scandal involved substantial questions as well. Mr. Clinton dismisses as "ridiculous," for example, the "implication . . . that I had been selling overnights in the White House to raise money for the DNC," insisting that "I would never have used the White House in that way." This from the man who scrawled on a proposal from his chief fundraiser, Terry McAuliffe, outlining the plan to entertain contributors at the White House: "Yes, pursue . . . get other names at $100,000 or more, $50,000 or more . . . Ready to start overnights right away."Whitewater did merit investigation - as a Savings and Loan scandal unrelated to the Clintons. That is what is was, after all, and that is what all of the convictions related to. None of them implicated the Clintons, and it is patently dishonest for the Post to imply that they did.
The Post's evidence for wrongdoing in the fundraising "scandals" is fucking ridiculous. Bill Clinton allegedly scribbled something on a napkin - George W. Bush produced a thousand pages of formal legal memoranda. Bush invites his fundraisers, people that "fuck grandma Millie" to the table to craft policy, with smoking gun evidence on both energy policy and Medicare policy. Even granting that Clinton sold sleepovers - who the hell cares?
I wanted to cancel my subscription to the Post. My girlfriend wouldn't let me.