April 14th, 2021


Fun and Exercise With the Clintons

Bob Tyrrell

By Bob Tyrrell

Published Feb. 1, 2018

Fun and Exercise With the Clintons
"Scandalous" — that is the name that Fox News Channel has chosen for a multipart documentary it is airing on Sunday evenings. If you missed it this week, watch it in the weeks to come. It promises a lot of har-hars.

The documentary covers the presidency of ... who else? Well, with a title such as "Scandalous," it could cover the presidency of Warren Harding. But instead it deals with the presidency of that modern-day Warren Harding, Bill Clinton — and his lovely wife, Bruno. It begins with the Whitewater scandal. Now it is covering Troopergate, by which I mean the scandal involving The American Spectator's unmasking of "Paula." That is to say Paula Corbin Jones, one of a long line of women suffering the unwanted attentions of Clinton. Fox's treatment of "Paula" is not without its errors.

For one, her first name was included in the text of the piece by mistake. This is a matter I have written about before. The American Spectator meant to expurgate Jones' name. Were it not for our error, she would have had no reason to sue Clinton, and the present hysteria over sexual harassment charges would probably be muted. No Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey or any other friends of the Clintons, to say nothing of ithyphallic Bill Clinton.

Moreover, Fox inflates the involvement of Richard Scaife in the Jones story to the point of intimating a dark conspiracy. In truth, the Pittsburgh billionaire was not involved in the story. As I have written before, his assistance in The Spectator's investigations came later.

The Spectator had the Troopergate expose well underway by the time Scaife contributed to what we amusingly called the Arkansas Project. Let me state it once again: Scaife money played no role in our story about "Paula." However, an editorial error did play a large role, and I find that amusing given the present hysteria about sexual harassment. Fox might have researched the story a bit more thoroughly.

Yet that is the problem with writing about the Clintons. One is always trying to get to the truth about them through the torrents of lies, dissimulations and blatant falsehoods spread by this fabulous couple and their agents, and even their unwitting agents. Perhaps the best book on the Clintons' struggles with scandals is "The Death of American Virtue: Clinton Vs. Starr" by Ken Gormley, and even that book includes an abundance of errors.

Doubtless even the Clintons cannot keep straight in their minds the truth and falsehoods from the past, a past that now embraces almost 50 years. What is more, their confusion is going to get worse. For one thing, they are getting older and more lax in their ways. Just the other night, from a banquette in some tony restaurant somewhere, Hillary Clinton — obviously under the influence of what she now calls "chardonnay" — recorded an impromptu video that she said was "directed to the activist b——— supporting b———." The video traveled the country. How squiffed was she when she recorded it? It is hard to say, but she rarely did this sort of thing in the past. Now she does it frequently.

For another thing, the past is coming back to haunt her and Bill Clinton in ways they cannot anticipate. Over the weekend, there also appeared stories in The New York Times and the invaluable BuzzFeed about candidate Hillary Clinton's reluctance to discipline an accused sexual harasser who was on her staff during the 2008 campaign. The story is too rich to pass over. He is a fellow with the incomparable name of Burns Strider, which sounds like an exercise machine. Actually, he is a balding, pudgy, smiling fellow given to wearing what look like pin-on ties. Oh, yes — one thing more: He was Clinton's "faith adviser" during her ill-starred campaign.

As The Times put it, he "sent the candidate scripture readings every morning for months during the campaign," much as in 2016 her "spiritual adviser," Rev. Bill Shillady, kept the candidate well-stocked with inspirational reading and published it in a book around election time. The book had to be pulled from bookstores, as much of it was plagiarized.

Tsk, tsk.

The vast right-wing conspiracy strikes again!

According to the stories, Strider had his pay docked for the accusations of him harassing a young (female) staffer and was sent off to therapy, much as Bill Clinton was sent off to therapy after his dalliance with Monica Lewinsky.

The campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, urged Hillary Clinton to fire Strider, but she refused. Five years later, Burns was still with her, working for a group that supported her candidacy called Correct the Record. He lasted with Correct the Record only a few months before he again got caught with accusations of harassing a young staff member (once again, female). This time, Clinton had nothing to say about his fate, and he was let go.

Correct the Record, incidentally, is a super PAC run by David Brock.

Once again, the Clintons have gotten into trouble. They keep tripping up, and the Democrats stay loyal to them. It is a kind of madness.

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R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a political and cultural monthly, which has been published since 1967. He's also the author of several books.