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Jewish World Review Nov. 3, 2000 / 5 Mar-Cheshvan, 5761

Thomas H. Lipscomb

Thomas H. Lipscomb
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Clinton’s gotterdammerung -- AS THE DECEMBER cover of Esquire Magazine made the rounds of this Sunday’s talk shows featuring what Internet wags called a waist level “Monica eyeview” of a very happy and self-satisfied Bill Clinton, one might have expected Clinton’s “legacy” to be secure at last-- the GOP managers of his impeachment heading for defeat in their home districts, the House and Senate moving back into Democratic Party control, and the GOP’s airhead frat boy Dubya, trounced in the debates by the awesome intellect of Al Gore, fading further behind in the polls as election day approached.

But something has gone terribly wrong. In fact so wrong, that Esquire might be well advised to revive a caption they haven’t used in years when they repeatedly ran a picture of Nixon in their annual “dubious achievements awards” issue asking “why is this man laughing?”

Far from appreciating Clinton’s unique new approach to “defending the Constitution” through perjury, polls by Democrats of American voters show they clearly find him so repulsive that the Gore staff has done everything they can to keep Clinton away from their campaign. Most galling of all, his own Vice-President, who only a few months ago called him “one of our greatest presidents” no longer takes phone calls from what is increasingly looking like Clinton’s isolated “fuhrerbunker” in the White House.

Around him hover the stooges and shysters that have served him so devotedly whose professional futures depend as much as his “legacy” upon an nationwide endorsement of Clinton’s policies and conduct in this election. A Tinkerbell President who only exists while the audience applauds, Clinton has become increasingly desperate for attention as the clock winds down. He is now in a ridiculous fight with the GOP Congress over differences on a tax bill that is already a huge victory for him. And to his eternal shame, Clinton’s UN abstention sealed a final sellout of an Israeli government he forced into office and then demanded negotiate what could be the most one-sided abandonment of a nation’s territorial integrity since the Munich Conference. But the only thing that seems to disappoint Clinton about his Israeli blackmail effort is that it didn’t succeed and win him the Nobel Peace Prize.

As the electoral battle swirls around him, the commander in chief of the Democratic Party finds himself increasingly ignored by his Congressional subordinates and his chosen successor. But they found Clinton’s legacy more of a ticking stink bomb under their campaign effort than a rocket to help them bridge to the 21st Century and they now know they are fighting for their political lives.

Clinton’s rage is understandable. After all he struggled brilliantly to overcome the greatest array of potential obstacles to political success of any American president and he’d been decisively re-elected. The almost illegitimate son of a Mafia gambling town "party girl," a draft dodger, a one man crime wave when it came to charges of sexual abuse, rape, and blackmail, lackluster governor of one of the least significant and most corrupt states in the Union, convicted of perjury by his own former law student, impeached by the Congress of the United States—to name a few-- Clinton’s viable political existence itself is far more of a miracle than the flight of the bumblebee. And he was lucky. As ratings and poll-driven as Clinton himself, the news media’s coincidental fin de siecle decay into features, fluff, and conglomeration left it without the resources, concentration, or dedication to hard news to investigate the most scandalous President in American history. Historians will find it hard to understand the imbalance between press treatment of Nixon and Clinton and will speculate over what might have happened if Nixon had followed the “stonewalling” across the board obstruction of justice tactics devised for Clinton by former Watergate prosecution staff members like Hillary Clinton.

But attention must be paid and one suspects that Clinton would rather see the destruction of his own party in this election than allow it to ignore him. The Democratic Party is already paying a terrible price. “Miracle weapons” like the execrable NAACP TV ad equating a Bush legislative position with a racist murder do not enhance the reputation of the party that was going to give us “the most ethical Administration” in American history and gave us the largest number of special prosecutors. And a party that has been the butt of jokes for a century about its ability to move the dead from their graveyards to the polls is ill-advised to begin a new millennium by running the dead governor of a swing state for the Senate.

Saddest of all is the destruction of the reputations of some of the standard bearers of the Democratic Party itself. Some of its finest and most experienced senior statesmen have now been sent tottering into a losing battle like the aged members of Hitler’s Volkssturm milita during the last days of the war. The Democrat’s vice-presidential candidate and moralist in chief Joe Lieberman overlooks racist demagogue Alan Sharpton’s anti-Semitic remarks about his wife’s unsuitability because her name is Hadassah, and sucks up to Louis Farrakhan, willing to do almost anything he is told to get a larger black turnout. And eminent retiring Senator Pat Moynihan chooses to ignore congenital liar Hillary Clinton’s fraudulent reporting to the Federal Election Commission of a large contribution from the “American Museum Council” (claiming it was a typo for the radical “American Muslim Council”) and wades in to try to save her wavering campaign for his New York Senate seat, just so he can make sure the new Pennsylvania railroad station in New York City is named after him.

The last will Hitler sent from his besieged fuhrerbunker stated that the German people were not worthy to survive if they could not make his legacy prevail. It is hard to judge what will be left of the once great Democratic Party after this campaign if the GOP wins the Presidency and both houses of Congress after eight years of Clintonism. But one thing is clear at this point.

Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick, Web Hubbell, Vince Foster, Susan and Jim McDougal, Lani Guiner, Zoe Baird, his own wife-- Hillary, the Democratic Party--- and hundreds of others--- have all had their uses for Bill Clinton.

And now he could care less.

Thomas H. Lipscomb is the director of the Center for the Digital Future in New York. An an editor and publisher for many years, most recently as head of Times Books, he is also the founder of two public companies in digital technology. To comment, click here.

10/20/00: Gore wins the debate --- Bush wins the electorate
06/20/00: Fire Richardson now
05/01/00: Congressional hearings on Reno’s raid are not the way to go

© 2000, Thomas H. Lipscomb