JWR Jeff JacobyBen WattenbergRoger Simon
Mona CharenLinda Chavez

Paul Greenberg Larry ElderJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellMUGGERWalter Williams
Don FederCal Thomas
Political Cartoons
Left, Right & Center

Jewish World Review/Nov. 17, 1998/ 28 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez To Ken S. --- if you'll only listen

NOT SINCE THE FIRST CHRISTIAN faced the lions in the Roman Coliseum has one man entered so dangerous an arena as Kenneth Starr does when he appears before the House Judiciary Committee Thursday. So here's my advice, Judge Starr, based on my own experience having served on the Judiciary Committee staff during the Nixon impeachment inquiry and having testified before the committee numerous times.

The most important thing to remember is that these hearings are not a trial before an impartial judge or jury expected to render a fair verdict based on the evidence. A congressional committee is about the last place on earth you should expect an unbiased airing of facts. You won't change any minds on the committee itself, so don't even bother trying.

Your audience is the American public -- and this is your one chance to persuade them that you are not the Puritanical- zealot-out-to-destroy-a-popular-president that they imagine you to be. You have only a single opportunity to make a decent impression with a public that has never heard you speak -- and you'd better do so in the first five minutes, or they'll tune you out.

Ken S.
Second, don't mention sex. Americans don't want to hear about Bill Clinton's weird peccadilloes. And they already know he lies, so you don't need to spend a lot of time proving the point. But you should explain why lying under oath is different from other lying, how it undermines our judicial system, which is the bedrock of every civil society.

Your most important task, however, is to convince the American public that Bill Clinton has abused his office, something they don't yet believe. Richard Nixon's impeachment hearings provide a good guide. The public didn't care much about the Watergate burglary itself, but they did care about the elaborate cover-up that involved both the president and his staff. More importantly, they cared about Nixon's enemies list and the way in which he used federal agencies to hound and destroy people who disagreed with his policies.

Of course, proving that Richard Nixon was a vindictive, mean hombre -- even to a public that had just re-elected him in a landslide -- was child's play compared to your task. You've got to show that the 'I feel your pain' Empathizer in Chief is really an abusive politician who forces others to lie for him and has corrupted his secretary Betty Currie, the White House staff and the Secret Service, among others.

Although your initial referral to the Judiciary Committee didn't mention it, you really must say something about the whole 'Travelgate' affair. There is no clearer case of this president's abuse of power than his treatment of Billy Dale, the former career employee who headed the White House travel office until Hillary Rodham Clinton decided the job should go to a Clinton crony.

The president had every right to replace Dale -- and any other member of the White House staff -- but he did not have a right to sic the FBI, the IRS and the Justice Department on him and his entire family. Even if you can't produce a 'smoking gun' to show that the president himself made the call to audit Dale's taxes and to prosecute him for embezzlement -- a charge from which a District of Columbia jury exonerated Dale -- Bill Clinton did nothing to stop Dale's harrowing persecution. Not since the Nixon years has any administration been as systematic as the Clinton henchmen have been in their efforts to seek and destroy Clinton's political enemies.

The last thing to remember is that you can't count on any help from the Republicans during these hearings. Even before the election results turned GOP resolve on impeachment to mush, Republicans have never figured out how to use public hearings to their advantage. The Democrats are always better prepared and more disciplined than the Republicans. And the Democrats on Judiciary are the best attack dogs in the party's kennel.

The ranking minority member, John Conyers, D-Mich., will kill you with kindness, appearing to all the world the fairest of interlocutors while he filibusters your every chance to speak. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the smartest and meanest member of the committee, will use his rapier wit to eviscerate you if he can. And Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will figure some way to make you out a racist.

Your only protection is to control your temper and remember that the committee members aren't the ones you must convince. It's the rest of us watching who really count. If you convince us, the members of the committee will follow our lead.


11/10/98: What did you expect?
11/04/98: Shame on those who don't vote!
10/27/98: It's spreading!
10/20/98: It ain't over yet
10/15/98: Mourning motherhood
9/23/98: Sosa and the race card
9/23/98: Believable and truthful are two different things
9/16/98: Time for a new Amendment!
9/08/98: When silence is truly golden
8/25/98: Bears and blunders
8/25/98: Only consistency about Prez's anti-terrorism policy: its inconsistency
8/18/98: Is our 'broken-compass' beyond fixing?
8/11/98: Reno's risk
8/04/98: When Truth is of the highest odor
7/28/98: No way to protect ourselvesagainst a nut's wrath
7/22/98: These 'choice' advocates are being demonzied ... by the Left.
7/15/98: Will 'neonaticide' become the new buzzword?
7/07/98: Urge to mega-merge, stopped in time
6/30/98: Why take responsibility if
somebody else will pay?
6/23/98: Blinded by the red, or is it the green?
6/17/98: Flotsam in the wake of romance
6/10/98: We have a ways to go in the bilingual war
6/3/98: Tyson's triumph over tragedy
5/28/98: Why Univision's Perenchio is out to hurt his fellow Hispanics
5/20/98: Sometimes Buba actually tells the truth ... as he sees it
5/12/98: Chill-out on the chihuahua and ... Seinfeld
5/8/98: The revolution is just about over
4/28/98: Let's face it: both parties are full of hypocrites
4/21/98: Legislating equality
4/14/98: One down, many to go
4/7/98: Mexican mayhem?
3/31/98: Of death and details
3/25/98: Americans are unaware of NATO expansion
3/18/98: Intellectual-ghettoes in the name of diversity
3/11/98: Be careful what you wish for ...
3/4/98: The Press' Learning-disability
2/25/98: 50 States Are Enough!
2/18/98: Casey at the Mat
2/11/98: The legal profession's Final Solution
2/4/98: Faith and the movies
1/28/98: Clinton, Lewinsky, and Politics Vs. Principle
1/21/98: Movement on the Abortion Front
1/14/98: Clones, Courts, and Contradictions
1/7/98: Child custody or child endangerment?
12/31/97: Jerry Seinfeld, All-American
12/24/97: Affirmative alternatives: New initiatives for equal opportunity are out there
12/17/97: Opening a window of opportunity (a way out of bilingual education for California's Hispanic kids)

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.