JWR Roger SimonMona CharenLinda Chavez
Jacob SullumJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellWilliam PfaffRobert Scheer
Don FederCal Thomas
Left, Right & Center
Jewish World Review / March 22, 1998 / 24 Adar, 5758

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell Innocent explanations

IT'S PAINFUL to watch old newsreels of Hitler and Mussolini making speeches and crowds cheering. Mussolini's posturing seems so transparent that you wonder how adults could have taken him seriously. With Hitler, what comes across is crude, passionate intensity and the rapture of his audiences, sharing his feelings, with their minds turned off.

What is chilling is knowing now how many tens of millions of human beings lost their Innocent Bill lives because of these almost musical-comedy performances. Shallow stuff can have deep consequences.

Few things today are more shallow than the reasons most people have for supporting President Clinton. Two crucial factors behind his popularity are the thriving economy and the sense that Bill Clinton "cares" about people.

Both are grand illusions. But they are illusions that may keep him in power -- and, worse yet, lower the standards of decency for future presidents and other politicians.

Even Kathleen Willey was taken in at first by what she called Clinton's "sincerity." She learned the hard way how phony that was when he got gross with her.

Bringing the federal deficit under control has been a major achievement, but it is an achievement that no president can legitimately take credit for, since spending and taxing are controlled by Congress. If Congress had passed all the spending bills presented by Bill Clinton, the deficits would be continuing on, in the hundreds of billions of dollars, for years to come.

Yet Clinton has been as shameless in taking credit for bringing down the deficit as he been in everything else that he does. Moreover, he is a polished con man who knows just how to say what people want to hear, however much it may contradict what he has done.

Nothing is easier than going around the country distributing largess from the public treasury, which has become the political definition of "caring."

White House spokesman Mike McCurry put his finger on a key point when he said that an innocent explanation of the Monica Lewinsky matter would have been given long ago, if there were one. That is true for a whole series of episodes -- and not just sexual episodes -- by both Clintons throughout their careers.

Go back to Hillary Clinton's miraculous turning of $1,000 into $100,000 in a commodity deal. Nobody -- least of all commodity dealers -- believes that any such thing happened. What then did happen?

What innocent explanation can there be for the sudden acquisition of $99,000 out of thin air by the wife of a governor -- especially when this money had obviously been laundered to look like something that it is not?

What innocent explanation can there be for Hillary Clinton's drawing up of legal papers involved in a fraudulent real estate deal that looted a savings and loan association and brought on multiple felony convictions for the Clintons' business partners, the McDougals?

What innocent explanation can there be for the disappearance of the subpoenaed documents that showed Hillary's legal work in this fraud and for her ordering other original records about her work on this case destroyed at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas and no microfilm copies kept?

What innocent explanation can there be for the ransacking of Vincent Foster's office for hours on the night of his death, after law enforcement officials had asked that the office be left undisturbed until they arrived to investigate?

What innocent explanation can there be for the new and cushy jobs that suddenly appeared out of nowhere for state troopers, for convicted felon Webster Hubbell and for Monica Lewinsky, when they were known to have damaging information about Bill Clinton?

What innocent explanation can there be for the hundreds of confidential FBI files that were made available to political activist and former bouncer Craig Livingstone? And what innocent explanation can there be for the fact that no one can even remember who hired him to work at the White House in the first place?

Corruption of the government is not a private matter or a transient scandal. It is dry rot that either has to be cleaned out or else allowed to undermine the whole structure in the course of time. But if we cannot see that, then our problems are much bigger than Bill and Hillary Clinton, and will be with us long after they are gone.


3/19/98: Kathleen Willey and Anita Hill
3/17/98: Search and destroy
3/12/98: Media Circus versus Justice
3/6/98: Vindication
3/3/98: Cheap Shot Time
2/26/98: The Wrong Filter
2/24/98: Trial by Media
2/20/98: Dancing Around the Realities
2/19/98: A "Do Something" War?
2/12/98: Julian Simon, combatant in a 200-year war
2/6/98: A rush to rhetoric

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.