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Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 1999 /23 Shevat 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen

Prepare for

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) GOP SENATORS ARE HEAVING great, huge sighs of relief now that the impeachment trial is limping to its lamentable conclusion.

One would have hoped for some faint sign of moral life among the Democrats, but since they offered nothing more substantial than the portentous but ultimately empty words of Sen. Joseph Lieberman and the fulsome fulminations of Sen. Robert Byrd, there is now another matter to attend to: the post-impeachment spin. It is not just Bill Clinton but the entire Democratic Party that has shown itself adept at the instant reinterpretation of events. We all recall the tectonic shock that the country underwent during Clarence Thomas' confirmation hearings.

Do we recall as well that most people, at the time, believed him, not her? A year later, thanks to a spin machine that would make the old authors of Soviet history books envious, most Americans came to believe that Anita Hill, not Clarence Thomas, was the truthful one.

And so it went with Pat Buchanan's 1992 Republican Convention speech (a good speech now remembered as a right-wing rant), Bill Clinton's second-place finish in the 1992 New Hampshire primary (now memorialized as a victory for the "comeback kid"), and the economic boom of the 1980s, which -- unlike the boom of today, seen as an unmixed blessing to all and sundry -- was decried as a decade of greed and increasing inequality.

(Note: Inequality has increased more under Clinton than it did under Ronald Reagan.)

The liberals do not always win political battles. But they are masters of winning the battle of interpretations.

Accordingly, let's imagine what the preferred liberal lessons will be from the impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Lesson One: no more prying into politicians' private lives. Bunk. If we had paid more attention to the ample evidence of Bill Clinton's compulsive womanizing in 1992, the country would have been spared all of this muck.

Moreover, though the president persists in calling this an inquisition about his "private" life, it was nothing of the kind. This behavior took place in one of the most public rooms in the world, with a government employee. If Bill Clinton had had an affair with a non-employee in some Georgetown townhouse, it would have been bad but not as morally outrageous, and -- this is key -- it would have been utterly irrelevant to Paula Jones' suit, as the "affair" with Lewinsky was not.

Lesson Two: no more independent counsels. Well, perhaps we can agree finally on a cease-fire in this area. But don't count on it. Last week, the Internal Revenue Service cleared Newt Gingrich of the charge that his famous college course violated the tax laws.

The course, the IRS ruled, was a true academic enterprise and not a ruse for plotting Republican ascendancy in America. Are the Democrats going to rescind their censure of Gingrich? Pay back the $300,000 fine? They called him every name in the book, perhaps forgetting their leader's exhortation to eschew the politics of personal destruction.

Lesson Three: Impeachment can never succeed if it is partisan. Perhaps, but the lesson of this impeachment is not -- as the Democrats will spin it -- that the Republicans were hellbent on getting Clinton for something and the Democrats refused to cooperate. Instead, what this episode revealed is that the Democrats are so unprincipled that they will countenance even clear felonies rather than permit their side to suffer a defeat.

Why use the harsh word "unprincipled"? Because it was the Democrats who gave us sexual harassment law in the first place, the laws that require defendants to answer embarrassing questions about sexual matters. If there is "sexual McCarthyism" in America, it is the consequence of sexual harassment law run wild, not Kenneth Starr's feeble efforts.

It was Democrats, and their strong allies in the "official" feminist movement, who insisted that sex between bosses and low-ranking employees could never be considered "consensual." And it was they who preached, in the Nixon days and following, that lying to the American people was an impeachable offense.

In the coming weeks, the Clinton forces will work overtime to convince the nation -- and history -- that the president was the innocent victim of a partisan witch hunt.

In the absence of a spirited counter-argument from Republicans, they will succeed.


2/03/99:Teaching morality
2/01/99: What did he say?
1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
1/07/99: Shall we dance?
1/05/99: Try him!
12/30/98:The price of virtue
12/28/98: The gift of giving
12/22/98: Party of shame, party of shamelessness
12/18/98: Wag the country
12/16/98: Is this impeachment constitutional?
12/14/98: Republicans find courage
12/09/98: Nappy Hair and other racial slurs
12/07/98: Stranger in a strange land
12/02/98: Dangerous ground
11/30/98: Involuntary fatherhood?
11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
11/18/98: Another victory for cowardice
11/16/98: Separatism plus welfarism equals a dead end
11/10/98: Did conservatism lose campaign '98?
11/06/98: Democrat venality, Republican timidity
11/04/98: Are girls being shortchanged?
11/02/98: Believe the children?
10/28/98: What 'Measure 58' would do
10/26/98: The officers are bailing out
10/20/98: Using Matthew Shepard's murder
10/19/98: The school voucher that saved a family
10/14/98: Are powerful women different?
10/09/98: Can just sex be impeachable?
10/07/98: Repeal Miranda
10/02/98: Understanding the polls
10/01/98: What school texts teach about marriage
9/28/98: Fear of choice
9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.