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Jewish World Review / Oct.7, 1998 / 17 Tishrei, 5759

Don Feder

Don Feder Friends of Billy Clinton

THEY SAY A MAN IS KNOWN by his enemies. But a politician's allies can be equally revealing.

Those who have risen in resolute defense of Bill Clinton are as much a commentary on his character as the footnotes in Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's report.

Among his most ardent supporters on the House Judiciary Committee are Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

"We're not fair-weather friends; we will be with you to the end," Waters promised the president at a fund-raiser for Democratic candidates. Starr's report is "nothing but hearsay," Waters harrumphs.

The lady has a reputation for standing by her friends. In 1992, this congresswoman from South Central Los Angeles went to the wall for the rioters who demolished her district after the acquittals in the first Rodney King trial. "No justice, no peace," Waters shouted at a Washington rally.

When criticized for refusing to condemn the rioters, Waters responded that calling these criminals -- including the trio who pulled Reginald Denny from his truck and almost beat him to death -- "hoodlums and thugs" only "makes them madder." By the same rationale, Winston Churchill should have refrained from denouncing the German civil disturbances known as Kristallnacht.

If Waters is willing to condone arson, robbery and assault, what's a little perjury and obstruction of justice?

Barney Frank, the committee's second-ranking Democrat, is one of Clinton's most voluble, if at times barely intelligible, defenders. Frank is no stranger to sexual scandal. In 1990, it was disclosed that the congressman had been living with a male prostitute he met through a personals ad.

Like his leader, Frank also had a problem with veracity. Among other services rendered to Steve Gobie, the congressman wrote a letter to the hustler's parole officer that, he later admitted, contained "misleading statements." Frank is sensitive to sexual witch hunts, especially those that uncover embarrassing facts.

The president has many media apologists, but none is quite like Geraldo Rivera, who has graduated from his days as a trash TV host -- "Geraldo" covered such timely topics as "What happens when the man you marry becomes a woman?" -- to "Rivera Live" on CNBC, where he's been reincarnated as a cross between a toad and a Doberman.

Rivera interviewed Rep. Paul McHale (D-Pa.) shortly after McHale became the first Democratic congressman to call for Clinton's resignation. Based on information supplied by his controllers in the White House, Rivera accused McHale of lying about his military record.

The charge, which was false, is doubly damning, as it was leveled at a decorated Marine Corps veteran of the Gulf War on behalf of a draft dodger.

Like Frank, Geraldo has "been there, done that."

In his autobiography, "Exposing Myself," Rivera boasted, "I've had thousands of women, literally thousands." Also, shades of Clinton's personnel policy: "It was common for women working for me in those days to wind up in my bed. It was like a part of the job description."

It must be comforting for the president to know that a man of Geraldo's integrity and high professional standards is in his corner. You might say that what Clinton is to the presidency, Geraldo is to journalism.

Even more than Washington and New York, Hollywood is Clinton's kind of town.

In Paris, an ad-hoc coalition of beautiful people -- including Vanessa Redgrave (friend of the Palestine Liberation Organization), Anthony Hopkins and Lauren Bacall -- signed a petition condemning Starr as a "fanatical prosecutor with unlimited power" who has violated the "sacred right" to privacy. Privacy negates perjury.

Says Marshall Herskovitz, executive producer of "thirtysomething," "Those people whose sexual morality accepts the possibility of complexity and ambivalence in a marital relationship have not judged Clinton as badly as those who see marriage as a monolithic simple entity."

Beverly Hills is the post office address of sexual non-judgmentalism, which is why the average Hollywood marriage lasts as long as the average campaign promise.

An entertainment industry that has done so much to sexualize and coarsen our culture rides to the rescue of a man who has demonstrated how much he shares its values, with the complexity and ambivalence of his own relationships.

"The scandal is really a referendum on sexual morality in this country," Herskovitz declares. He ain't just a-whistlin' "Dixie."

Clinton and his defenders are a perfect match -- hollow heads and empty souls. They are worthy of each other.


9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.