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Jewish World Review April 29, 2002 / 17 Iyar, 5762

Diana West

Diana West
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It's the misconduct, stupid | By the time the General Accounting Office gets around to finalizing its draft report on the giant temper tantrum triggered by the inauguration of George W. Bush -- that notorious hissy-fit that put the White House office complex at the mercy of Clinton administration staffers-turned-vandals -- we'll have heard all about the $200,000 in taxpayer money that was spent to investigate what amounts to $14,000 in damage to White House property. So much taxpayer money, the Democrats will say, spent on what appears to be relatively little destruction. Or, as one former Clinton official has already put it to The Washington Times last week, "So much sound and fury signifying nothing."

That's Shakespeare, isn't it? While it's always nice to see former Clinton administration officials attempting a little cultural uplift, not even the Bard himself can elevate the tone this time around. What's needed now is an apology, not a soliloquoy. Remember when Rep. Anthony D. Weiner, D-N.Y., held a press conference last year to declare that the Bush White House administration had made up the whole story? The Bush administration, Weiner said, had "deliberately misled the American people and smeared the names of public servants who were guilty of nothing." Weiner, alas, seems to have been misinformed. According to the GAO report, the Bush administration was right, and those poor "public servants" were guilty as charged. The report offers more than enough evidence to prove that the White House was indeed vandalized by petty-criminalizing Clintonistas on their way out of power.

According to the newspaper article, the GAO probe has assessed the reimbursable damage to the White House at as many as 75 computer keyboards (destroyed by Clinton staffers who snapped off the "W" keys), broken chairs and tables, the theft of two antique doorknobs and one presidential seal, as well as a tangle of cut telephone wires. "Some (telephone) wires were cut," a former Clinton official who has seen the report admitted to The Washington Times, "but they had been inactive for a decade." You might wonder how this former Clinton official knows that the very wires that were cut had been "inactive for a decade," but what's more important about this blindly reflexive urge to justify not-so-petty crime is what it says about Clinton-style protocol: It's OK to disable government telephones so long as they're already out of order.

Meanwhile, the GAO report catalogues other vandalism -- the kind that doesn't necssarily show up on the taxpayers' tab. Incoming Bush administration staffers came to their first day of work last year to find desks overturned, garbage thrown on the floor and nasty graffiti defacing the walls. There were obscene voice mail messages programmed into White House telephones and pornographic pictures left in office printers. "In addition, the report says staffers disabled or reprogrammed at least 75 phones," the newspaper article continues, "sending the new Bush aides into chaos for the first few days of the Bush administration."

It was nothing that couldn't be fixed, of course -- nothing that couldn't be put right, picked up, painted over, erased, or removed. But this was a White House in transition, not a Woodstock mosh pit. That must have been some introductory task: Bush staffers cleaning up after Clinton staffers. Of course, that would be just the beginning.

JWR contributor Diana West is a columnist and editorial writer for the Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.


04/24/02: Medal of diss-honor
04/17/02: Holy sanctuary or terrorist shield?
04/12/02: Egyptian clerics solicit martyrs for murder
04/09/02: Defining terrorism down
04/05/02: The Wilder life
04/02/02: Acting, equality and the Academy
03/31/02: Speeding to conclusions
03/25/02: Hard to remove blood (libel) stains
03/21/02: The tale of Nixon's tapes --- again
03/19/02: The Big Lie lives on
03/15/02: The tunnel vision of '9/11'
03/13/02: The American Auschwitz?
03/08/02: Hating the indoctrination of hate
03/05/02: Clinton and Enron: Old friends
03/01/02: Pickering doesn't polarize, the process does
02/26/02: Destiny's prefabricated child
02/22/02: The White House heist
02/20/02: Making the grade
02/11/02: Studying student visas
02/06/02: Understanding arrogance
02/04/02: The professor's war
01/29/02: Disconnected dialogue
01/23/02: Anti-Indiscrimination
01/18/02: How much is enough?
01/15/02: Oh brothers, where art thou?
01/10/02: Air on the side of caution
01/04/02: Blacks seeing red at Harvard
01/02/02: Clinton's campaign continues
12/26/01: A tale of two exhibitions
12/24/01: Taliban Idyll
12/19/01: Right is right
12/17/01: Hillary strikes out
12/13/01: Lost files, lost presidency
12/10/01: Revolutionaries never grow up
12/05/01: Immigration reform talk is not just for 'haters' anymore
12/03/01: A new symbol of justice
11/30/01: Beyond morality
11/26/01: Can't keep a good man down
11/20/01: Tough talk at the United Nations
11/19/01: Hollywood's other battle
11/14/01: What's the matter with Sara Jane?
11/09/01: A beef with bin Laden's Beef Noodles
11/07/01: Facing up to the FBI's past mistakes
11/02/01: A school that teaches patriots to shutup
10/30/01: The gap between Islam and peace
10/26/01: The ties that bind (and gag)
10/24/01: This war is more than Afghanistan
10/22/01: The fatuous fatwa
10/19/01: Left out
10/16/01: Whose definition of terrorism?
10/11/01: Post-stress disorder
10/08/01: How the West has won
10/01/01: Good, bad or ... diplomacy
09/28/01: Drawing a line in stone
09/21/01: Prejudice or prudence?
09/14/01: When our dead will finally rest in hallowed ground
09/07/01: We want our #$%^&*() audience back!
08/24/01: The transformation from Green Mountain State to Green Activist State is all but complete
08/17/01: Enlightenment at Yale
08/10/01: From oppressors to victims, a metamorphosis
08/03/01: Opening the dormitory door: College romance in the New Century
08/01/01: How-To Hackdom: The dubious art of writing books about writing books
07/20/01: Hemming about Hemmings
07/13/01: Justice has not been served in the Loiuma police brutality case
06/22/01: When PC parades are too 'mainstream'
06/22/01: When "viewpoint discrimination" in our schools was not nearly so gnarly a notion
06/15/01: Lieberman flaunts mantle of perpetual aggrievement
06/07/01: Is graciousness the culprit?
06/01/01: The bright side of the Jeffords defection
05/29/01: Campus liberals should be more careful
05/18/01: 'Honest Bill' Clinton and other Ratheresian Logic
05/11/01: Dodging balls, Bugs, and 'brilliance'
05/04/01: Foot in mouth disease and little lost Tories
04/20/01:The last classic Clinton cover-up
04/20/01: D-Day, Schmee-Day
04/06/01: For heaven's sake, a little decency!
03/30/01: The sweet sound of slamming doors and clucking feminists
03/23/01: America's magazines and the 'ick-factor'
03/09/01: Felony neglect
03/02/01: Who's sorry now?
02/23/01: 'Ecumenical niceness' and other latter-day American gifts to the world
02/16/01: Elton and Eminem: Royal dirge-icist meets violent fantasist
02/12/01: If only ...

© 2001, Diana West