Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / January 22, 1998 / 23 Tevet, 5758
Bimbo eruptions past and present
WASHINGTON -- WHEN GENNIFER FLOWERS first said in 1992 that she'd had a 12-year love affair with Bill Clinton and had the tapes to prove it, I was not one of those who dismissed her allegations as "cash for trash."
That's what the Clinton campaign called them. Clinton was running for president, and Flowers had sold her story to a supermarket tabloid, so her motives were suspect.
Clinton denied that he had an affair with her and said she was "an acquaintance, I would say, a friendly acquaintance."
But I read the transcripts of the tapes and found them very interesting.
In one tape, Flowers calls Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, and tells him that her apartment has been broken into.
"You think they were trying to look for something on us?" Clinton asks on the tape.
"I think so," Flowers replies. "Well, I mean ... why, why else? Um ... "
"You weren't missing any, any kind of papers or anything?" Clinton asks.
"Well, what kind of papers?" Flowers says.
"Well, I mean, did ... any kind of personal record of checkbooks or anything like that? ... Phone records?" Clinton asks.
Now this might all sound to you like the normal exchange between "friendly acquaintances." But if a woman who was a friend of mine called and told me her apartment had been broken into, my first response would not be "You think they were trying to look for something on us?"
Nor would I end the conversation the way Clinton ended his with Flowers: "Goodbye, baby."
None of this was proof of anything, of course. And because Clinton had already admitted causing "pain" in his marriage, which was code for adultery, the Flowers case did not damage Clinton.
He went on to win the presidency in 1992 and, as we all know, to be re-elected in 1996 even though Paula Jones had filed a civil suit in 1994 accusing him of groping her in a hotel room, dropping his pants and asking her for oral sex.
To tell you the truth, I found Jones' accusations so grotesque that I had a hard time believing them.
Now, a new story accusing the president of sexual improprieties has surfaced in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times:
Independent counsel Kenneth Starr is now investigating Clinton to determine whether he urged a 23-year-old White House intern to lie to lawyers for Paula Jones about having an affair with the president. And the woman did, in fact, deny under oath that she had an affair, beginning when she was 21. Did this denial, however, come under the instructions of the president, and is it true or not?
So what is different about this story?
Firstly, it accuses Clinton of having an affair while he was president.
Secondly, it accuses Clinton of having an affair with a woman less than half his age.
Thirdly, it accuses Clinton of a major felony, urging a person to lie under oath, which is called suborning perjury. This is very serious. There is some difference of opinion whether you can indict a sitting president or whether you have to impeach him first, but either way, the word "impeachment" is now being mentioned.
U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday, "It would seem to me that if (Starr) verifies the authenticity of these charges, impeachment might very well be an option."
Clinton denies everything. Just as he denies everything in the Paula Jones case. Just as he denied everything in the Gennifer Flowers story.
He said Wednesday that the charges are "outrageous."
Maybe they are, but it may be the American people who are getting outraged.
The president may be telling the truth.
But he seems to keep crossing the paths of a lot of liars.
1/20/98: Feeding the beast: Paula Jones gets the full O.J.