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Jewish World Review Nov. 15, 2000 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761

Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow
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Cleaning the Clinton stables -- PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON won't vacate the White House for another two months, but Americans have begun the transition by electing his successor. Soon we can, like Hercules, clean out the Clinton equivalent of King Augeas' legendary stables.

Washington desperately needs a fresh start. After all, in the waning days of the campaign, something truly shocking happened in the nation's capital.

Someone lied. And it wasn't President Clinton.

After Esquire magazine released its forthcoming interview with him, the president angrily complained: "I was promised faithfully that that interview would be ... released after the election. And I believed it."


The president lied about his financial dealings in Arkansas. Lied about his draft evasion. Lied about his endless sexual misconduct. Lied about his other life experiences.

He lied about his policies. He lied about the impact of his policies. He lied to a grand jury. He lied to a federal judge. He lied to Congress. He lied to the American people. And he lied to his family.

Few people make any pretense of believing him. Shortly after Clinton took office, Sen. Bob Kerrey, D-Neb., famously remarked that the president was an uncommonly good liar.

After the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke, leftish New York Times columnist Bob Herbert observed: "After so many years of his cheap lies and easy deceptions, why should anyone ever believe Bill Clinton?"

In a recent American Online poll, a majority of people suggested that the president become a used car salesman.

But, now, Bill Clinton is upset that someone apparently lied to him.

Even more bizarre, however, is the substance of his Esquire interview.

"I have apologized to the American people for what I did wrong," he says.

But, the Republicans have not.

"They never apologized for the country for impeachment, they never apologized for all the things they've done."

It sounds like Bill Clinton has been smoking and inhaling. He has apologized for dropping his pants in the Oval Office. But he has never apologized for committing perjury - before a grand jury, in a federal lawsuit and to Congress.

Nor has he apologized "for all the things" he's done: accepting payoffs from his business buddies in Arkansas (the Whitewater development and cattle trading), cheating on his taxes (taking improper Whitewater-related deductions), abusing his presidential authority (firing the White House travel office staff to turn the work over to friends), and limiting the Treasury Department investigation of his Whitewater activities (which helped destroy the federally insured Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan).

He has never apologized for filling his administration with cads and crooks who've ended up disgraced and in jail. He never apologized for sexually harassing Paula Jones, even after paying close to a million dollars to settle the case. He never apologized for skirting the law in shaking campaign cash from every known special interest, domestic and foreign.

He never apologized for impeding congressional and judicial investigations, with his appointees routinely withholding records, claiming poor memories and even denying their diary entries. He never apologized for obstructing justice, attempting to arrange a job for Monica Lewinsky and arranging payoffs to incipient jailbird Webster Hubbell.

And, Bill Clinton never apologized for violating his constitutional oath and degrading his official position by committing perjury on multiple occasions. To the contrary, he continues to insult the intelligence of the American people by claiming that he never lied in an official legal proceeding.

Then, there are his policies: using class-war rhetoric to promote tax hikes, attempting to turn health care over to federal control, carrying on unconstitutional wars, promoting welfare for corporate supporters, attacking the constitutional liberties of administration critics, undermining the rule of law in the name of fighting crime and terrorism, militarizing law enforcement and pushing government social engineering at every turn. When has he apologized for these?

Even more irritating is his whining sanctimony and determination to turn everything to political advantage. Clinton has yet to apologize for attempting to score points off tragedies like the Oklahoma City bombing.

He has never apologized for trying to escape responsibility for his actions - blaming, endlessly, always, in every circumstance, his adversaries. In Esquire he pointed to "the far right and their alliance with the Republican Party."

In short, President Bill Clinton believes that he can lie, cheat and break the law with impunity. But his critics should apologize.

Soon, it will end. Not that Clinton wants to go. He told Esquire: "What I have to figure out is how I can be an effective citizen, and effective force for the things I believe in when I get out of here."

The American people should help him figure it out. By telling him to shut up and go away.

JWR contributor Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Comment by clicking here.


11/07/00: Exprienced Gore? Yeah, right
11/01/00: Interventionist follies
10/17/00: America's brightening prospects in Ukraine
10/11/00: GOP budget scandals
10/03/00: How a pharmaceutical 'crisis' was created
09/27/00: Clinton's empathy has helped nobody
09/13/00: AlGore's risky budget policies
09/05/00: Military readiness and Korean commitments
08/29/00: Let sleeping hypocrites lie
08/21/00: Targeting a journalistic pariah
08/15/00: European garrison for Kosovo?
08/08/00: Journalistic cleansing at the Boston Globe
08/04/00: Junk science on trial
06/22/00: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty
06/15/00: The end of U.N. peacekeeping
06/07/00: The Clinton regulatory miasma
06/01/00: Administration stupidity, congressional cowardice
05/25/00: The silence of the international community
05/18/00: Protecting the next generation

05/11/00: Freer trade with China will advance human rights

05/04/00: How not to save the Constitution

04/28/00: American tripwire in Korea long ago disappeared: Why are we still involved?

04/18/00: Clinton administration believes the IRS is too gentle, wants more auditors

© 2000, Copley News Service