JWR Roger SimonMona CharenLinda Chavez
Larry ElderJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellWilliam PfaffRobert Scheer
Don FederCal Thomas
Political Cartoons
Left, Right & Center

Jewish World Review / June 5, 1998 /11 Sivan, 5758

Mona Charen

Mona Charen

Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest

SIX MONTHS AGO, William H. Ginsburg landed on the national stage, popping off his mouth like an outlaw firing his six-shooter.

The very first we heard of Monica Lewinsky's lawyer was to the effect that "If the president of the United States did this -- and I'm not saying that he did -- with this young lady, I think he's a misogynist. If he didn't, then I think Ken Starr and his crew have ravaged the life of a youngster." In addition to being hyperbolic, this first of the Ginsburg pronouncements was, like so many of those to follow, completely contradictory.
Bumblin' Bill

After all, if the president could be called a misogynist for having an adulterous affair with a woman less than half his age, then it stands to reason that Ken Starr would be right to pursue the truth. Ginsburg's statement assumed that Starr had some God-like knowledge of the truth of the matter. How else does one make sense of the notion that if the president is innocent, then Starr has "ravaged" the life of Monica Lewinsky?

In any case, Ginsburg made that first utterance before checking with his client. With the benefit of fuller information, he later reportedly made a proffer to the independent counsel admitting the sexual relationship but denying subornation of perjury.

And along the way, Ginsburg made a series of statements that suggested his client was a liar, a victim and just plain guilty. While thus serving her interests, he allowed himself this reverie on his own talents: "It's always possible that I'm not as good as Alan Dershowitz, but I don't think so. I could have put Mike Tyson in jail just as well as he did." Or in his parting self-justification in The Washington Post: "I am not a Washington insider but a hell of a trial lawyer."

Actually, as he departs the national scene, Ginsburg will be remembered as one of the worst lawyers ever to disserve a client. He lapped up publicity like a hungry hound, bragging at one point that "I'm the most famous person in the world!" Too self-worshipping to think of his client's interests, he accepted every interview request he received -- even performing a triple play on the Sunday morning roundtable shows -- and reporting on private matters like his client's restaurant choices, exercise regimen and emotional state.

At one point, he arranged a professional photo shoot to cheer her up, explaining to The Washington Post, "You have to realize that a 24-year-old girl who's imprisoned -- her ego, her libido, her mind imprisoned by Ken Starr and the press -- begins to feel that her self-worth is diminishing. So she's starting to get depressed. So the avuncular friend, the surrogate father, has to figure out ways to get her back to par. One of the ways is to express her beauty."

Perhaps the avuncular friend, who at another time recalled kissing the inside of Monica's thighs when she was a baby, may have had his own erotic imagination inflamed by the situation. Day after day, week after week, just him and Monica together, dining, shopping, strategizing. And he knew she went for older guys, right?

Over the course of the last several months, Ginsburg transformed Bill Clinton from a misogynist into a wonderful man, an "honorable" man and a great president. He told an Israeli newspaper that he owed it to Clinton not to damage his presidency because the president was such a great friend to Israel (tell that to Benjamin Netanyahu). What had any of this to do with defending his client?

No competent defense lawyer attacks the prosecutor. No decent lawyer offers contradictory explanations of his client's conduct or suggests that she is anything but truthful.

But Ginsburg suffers from an advanced case of self-worship aggravated by confusion. His confusion is similar to that suffered by many other Americans, the confusion of notoriety with renown. Ginsburg was more like a guest on "The Jerry Springer Show" than like a professional lawyer. Springer's guests don't care how ludicrous they appear, so long as they have their moment of televised existence. Ginsburg achieved notoriety -- and mistook it for greatness.


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.