JWR Jeff JacobyBen WattenbergRoger Simon
Mona CharenLinda Chavez

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

Jewish World Review /Sept. 18, 1998/ 27 Elul 5758

Larry Elder

Larry Elder

It's the perjury, stupid

"NO MATTER HOW YOU SLICE IT," said a friend, "it's still about sex."

My friend, of course, refers to the Ken Starr Report, which alleges perjury, subornation of perjury, witness-tampering, and obstruction of justice on the part of President Clinton. Initial polls suggest that my friend's attitude reflects the majority view.

Over 60 percent of Americans approve the president's performance in office, while a majority believe him unfit to serve as a moral leader.

But, according to one poll, nearly half believe the president should resign if he encouraged others to lie under oath.

Well, the evidence set forth by the Independent Counsel makes a persuasive argument that the president, in fact, did encourage others to lie. The president allowed his attorney, in the Paula Jones case, to submit an affidavit signed by Monica Lewinsky. The affidavit denied any kind of sexual relationship with the president. The president knew the affidavit to be false when he both denied a sexual relationship in a civil deposition, as well as before the criminal grand jury.

The report accuses Clinton of leading Monica Lewinsky through a series of false, uh, "suggestions" for the sake, it clearly appears, of shaping her testimony.

The president, while admitting an "inappropriate relationship" with Monica Lewinsky maintains that he did not commit perjury when he denied a sexual relationship during his deposition in the Jones case. Clinton bases his denial on the definition set forth in the Jones case: "A person engages in 'sexual relations' when the person knowingly engages in or causes -- (1) contact with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person ... 'contact' means intentional touching, either directly or through clothing."

So, based on Clintonesque logic, Monica Lewinsky had sex with the president, but the president did not have sex with her.

Yet Lewinsky, in the report by Ken Starr, alleges that the president touched and fondled her -- conduct and contact that clearly fall within the Jones definition of sex.

Does this mean, a reporter asked one of the president's lawyers, that Monica Lewinsky is lying? Well, said the Clinton defender, we've not "trashed" Ms. Lewinsky in seven months, and we don't intend to start now.

Oh, really? See page 88 of the report's section on the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Following the president's deposition, Clinton said to attack-dog-aide Sidney Blumenthal, "I haven't done anything wrong ... Monica Lewinsky came on to me and made a sexual demand on me." The president said that he "rebuffed her," ... and that Ms. Lewinsky had "threatened him. She said that she would tell people they'd had an affair, that she was known as a stalker among her peers, and that she hated it, and if she had an affair, or said she had an affair, then she wouldn't be the stalker any more."

Even now, Clinton shifts blame. At a prayer breakfast meeting, Clinton apologizes and asks for forgiveness from, among other people, Monica Lewinsky and her family. Yet, in the same breath, he says that he expects to mount a "vigorous defense" against allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

And now the White House adds a new line of attack -- that the Ken Starr Report contains unnecessarily explicit material, designed solely to embarrass the president. Presidential lawyer David Kendall accused the Ken Starr Report of being "personal." Perhaps Kendall meant the report describes "personal" activity. But Kendall's words implied that Ken Starr simply continues his vendetta in submitting a report that some say borders on pornographic.

Never mind that the president practically demanded the inclusion of this material by denying perjury, and by refusing to answer specific questions during the grand jury testimony. But, wait, didn't the president already admit this? No, he didn't. He admitted an "inappropriate" relationship, but denied perjury. It is, therefore, necessary to include details to demonstrate that, even under the Jones definition, the president did have a sexual relationship, and, therefore, committed perjury.

Pre-Starr Report, the line was "let's wait and see how Starr spent four years and $40 million." Well, the report comes out, and the same crowd yells, "Too much detail!"

In 1974, during the height of Watergate, a young Congressional candidate said, "Yes, the president should resign. He has lied to the American people, time and time again, and betrayed their trust. He is no longer an effective leader. Since he has admitted guilt, there is no reason to put the American people through an impeachment. He will serve absolutely no purpose in finishing out his term; the only possible solution is for the president to save some dignity and resign." The speaker? Bill Clinton.

It was good advice then, and it's good advice now.


914/98: The "Larry List" of the most fascinating women in politics
9/07/98: Why blacks shouldn't support Clinton
8/27/98:The Brown bomber strikes Justice Thomas
8/21/98:So very clintonesque
8/17/98: Gary Coleman, hate criminal?
8/07/98: How much mea culpa?
7/24/98: ATM Al?
7/24/98: Advising the advisors
7/17/98: Camille Cosby's carelessness
7/9/98: Moses mugged
7/2/98: Al Campanis -- forever a racist?
6/25/98: And you thought "coke" was worse than smokes
6/19/98: Is Jasper ‘America'?
6/12/98: Guess who's not coming to dinner
6/5/98: What now, NOW?
5/29/98:What's next, ‘burger busters'?
5/21/98: 'Stuff' happens
5/18/98: This just in
5/11/98: Stepping up
4/30/98: Who's faking whom?
4/16/98:To spank or not to spank

©1998, Laurence A. Elder