Jewish World Review June 12, 2003 / 12 Sivan, 5763

Bob Tyrrell

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Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | WASHINGTON Sen. Hillary Clinton's apocryphal memoir, following as it does upon the publication of her manservant Sidney Blumenthal's apocryphal memoir, reminds all serious students of the Clinton saga that the Clintons never let you down. They are always true to their nature. They lie. They lie when the do not have to, and they deliver a whopper when a little white lie would suffice. And another thing: They are not going to move on. They are not going to "put it all behind them."

For years, the mild mannered of the Republic have been importuning on me to "get over" the Clinton scandals. Well, with calamity threatening in the Middle East and terrorism menacing the civilized world, rest assured that I have concentrated most of my energies on the calamitous present and the uncertain future. Nonetheless, as Sen. Clinton is demonstrating with this simpering tome, "Living History," the Clintons will continue to keep the issues of their past alive, much as Alger Hiss and his defenders kept the issue of his innocence alive for decades -- even after Soviet archives demonstrated his guilt.

Luckily for the Clintons, they have many more issues to fight than Hiss. One exposure will not set them back. A semen-stained dress, an incriminating memo, a judge's charge of contempt of court might damage their case in one or two of their controversies; but they have so many more to carry on with, insisting all the time that they are victims of conspiracy, not inveterate scamps.

In Clinton's book, as in her manservant's almost unreadable pamphleteering, all the old scandals are brought up again. The Washington political sages will tell you this is very clever for one reason or another: She is addressing the problems now rather than during a future presidential campaign, or she is drawing attention to herself at the expense of the patheticos now seeking the Democratic nomination.

Actually, the reasons for rehashing her scandalous past are: A) being a 1960s kid, she cannot stop talking about herself, and B) being a narcissistic amoralist, she believes she is blameless -- rather, those who exposed her were the wrongdoers. Troopergate, Travelgate, Whitewater, Monicagate, the impeachment, the pardons -- there was no culpability on her part here despite the revelations, the evidence, those prosecutions that succeeded, and the judicial rulings that left the Clintons paying and Bill without his law license. All Hillary will acknowledge is that she and her unique husband were for years wronged. It has gotten under her skin and will bug her for years to come. She is not going to "move on."

This is where Howell Raines and his scandals at The New York Times come in. The Times is known as the nation's newspaper of record. For a certitude, a nation needs a tablet of record, preferably more than one. Journalists working for such a newspaper should take their role with the utmost seriousness. Raines was serious, but before he left the newspaper after revelations of plagiarism and fabrication shook it, he was not serious enough. He allowed his prejudices and arrogance to overwhelm his judgment. The confluence of Hillary's apocrypha and Raines' disgrace, reminds me of a run-in I had with him as I made a small attempt to set the historic record straight.

When Raines was editor of the Times editorial page back in 1993, one of the paper's business reporters interviewed me about The American Spectator's huge circulation growth caused by our Clinton reportage. The result was not so much a piece on our growth as a sustained attack on our accuracy, particularly with regard to Troopergate, the story reporting Gov. Clinton's use of state troopers as pimps that ultimately led to his sexual harassment charge and impeachment. The reporter claimed it was "near pornographic." Other Spectator stories "included important error." The Times gave no examples.

Then The New Republic's Michael Kinsley was called in to deprecate the Spectator as "untrustworthy" (within two years his magazine would commence publishing dozens of fabrications by Stephen Glass). After quoting our longtime critic, Kinsley, the Times threw in a butchered quote from me "justifying the article (which article was unclear) in a way that would not be acceptable at most serious newspapers and magazine."

Finally, the credulous and possibly malicious reporter repeats a deceit that the Clintons have relied on for a decade to refute the Troopergate story, namely, that a trooper signed an affidavit claiming the Spectator was wrong to write that President Clinton had "offered him a job to remain silent." That sophistry reappears now in Hillary's memoir.

In truth, Troopergate also noted that Clinton offered the trooper a federal job for information on what the troopers were saying -- a matter left unmentioned in the affidavit. That Clinton would call him from the White House was a damning indication of Clinton's reckless use of the presidency.

I called Raines on the telephone requesting that he allow me to reply on his op-ed page. It was the Times that had been inaccurate, not the Spectator. No errors had then been demonstrated in our stories, nor have they been revealed to this day. Actually, Clinton's subsequent behavior vindicated them.

Raines denied my request with arctic disdain, telling me to write a letter to the editor. I reminded him that in the recent past the Times had failed to print a letter from me, and that my friend the British journalist John O'Sullivan had remarked that that was normal. The Times was the only paper he knew of that did not publish letters even when they came from someone the Times had attacked. Raines insisted my letter would be printed. It never was.

Now, Hillary's section on Troopergate reechoes the 10-year-old Times treatment of Troopergate, the story that tipped the world off to Clinton's fundamental flaw. She can base her account on the nation's newspaper of record. In Raines' day, it assisted in creating myths.

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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/29/03: Shakedown
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :‘Grey’ turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
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09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
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08/15/02: Beachcombing among the fat of the land
08/08/02: They pave the way for corruption, not personal responsibility
08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
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05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
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02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies . Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
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12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
11/29/01: Welcome to Afghan, Maryland?
11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
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11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
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08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy

© 2001, Creators Syndicate