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Jewish World Review Sept. 16, 1998 / 25 Elul, 5758

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell Judicial review

ONE OF THE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCES of the media's preoccupation with presidential sex is that many people will never see the woods for the trees. The whole pattern of obstruction of justice that was used in the Lewinsky episode had been used before by both Clintons, time and again, going all the way back to their days in Arkansas.

Whether the particular issue at a given time was money, sex or power, the pattern has been the same. And it has been the same for Hillary Clinton as for Bill Clinton.

Just as Bill Clinton said that he "never had sex with that woman," so Hillary wrote in her newspaper column in January 1996 that she had been cleared of any involvement in the massive frauds that led to the collapse of the Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan Association in Arkansas. To add emphasis, she said that a "prominent Republican, former U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens, headed the inquiry" by the Pillsbury law firm that supposedly exonerated her.

Several months of Senate committee investigations, however, revealed an entirely different story. Jay Stephens not only did not head the inquiry, he had nothing to do with writing the report and refused even to review it, since he knew that doing so would make it look as if he were involved with it or approved it. "I refused to do that," he said, "because I was not involved."

Mr. Stephens was not involved because the White House went ballistic at the outset, when it was first suggested that he might be involved. The billing records of the law firm confirm that Stephens was quickly phased out of this investigation that Hillary Clinton claimed he "headed."

Two other members of the same law firm wrote reports and one of them said: "I don't think our reports exonerated anybody of anything." Their whole purpose was to determine whether it made economic sense to launch a civil lawsuit against Madison Guaranty, not to determine which individuals might be guilty or innocent.

In the same column, Hillary Clinton said that she did "minimal legal work on Madison." Yet records showed that she had dozens of meetings with the people for whom she did this "minimal" legal work.

More records might have revealed even more information, but Hillary had many of those records destroyed at the Rose Law Firm, where she was a partner. Other records were stolen from the same firm by Webster Hubbell and turned over to White House lawyer Vincent Foster. This is the same Vincent Foster who committed suicide on the day when the FBI began seizing documents in Arkansas.

This is the same Vincent Foster whose office was ransacked for hours after his death, despite requests from law enforcement officials that nothing be touched until they got there. This is the same Vincent Foster whose fingerprints were found -- along with Hillary's -- on billing records that got "lost" in the White House for two years after they were subpoenaed.

In all of this, we see the same utter disregard for the truth and the same pattern of destroying evidence and obstructing justice that most people have heard about only through the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Consider this column the "family hour" account of how the Clintons operate.

These would be mere incidental facts about individuals if those individuals did not have and wield the enormous power and influence that come with living in the White House. Their clout has been used to corrupt the processes of government for their own personal benefit. Such abuses of power are not just their "private lives" or "family problems that are nobody else's business."

The question is not even what the Clintons do or do not deserve. Ultimately, the issue is not what their past has been like, but what this country's future will be like if holders of powers can use their positions to put themselves above the law.

The fact that nobody is above the law has given the United States and a relative handful of other countries the freedom that makes us different from the corrupt despotisms that have been the norm over most of the planet and for most of history.

It isn't fashionable to talk about the blessings of this country in this politically correct time of complaint and condemnation. But, if we ever forget these blessings -- or let them erode because we have become fat, dumb and happy -- we will learn the hard way what blessings we once had, but only after it is too late.

9/14/98: Hillary Rodham Crook?
9/14/98: Taking stock
9/11/98: Moment of truth
9/04/98: Random thoughts
8/31/98: The twilight of special prosecutors?
8/26/98: "Doing a good job"
8/24/98: America on trial?
8/19/98: Played for fools
8/17/98: A childish letter
8/11/98: Hiding behind a woman
8/07/98: A flying walrus in Washington?
8/03/98: "Affordability" strikes again
7/31/98: Random thoughts
7/27/98: Faith and mountains
7/24/98: Clinton in Wonderland
7/20/98: Where is black 'leadership' leading?
7/16/98: Do 'minorities' really have it that bad?
7/14/98: Race dialogue: same old stuff
7/10/98: Honest history
7/09/98: Dumb is dangerous
7/02/98: Gun-safety starts with
parental responsibility
6/30/98: When more is less
6/29/98: Are educators above the law?
6/26/98: Random Thoughts
6/24/98: An angry letter
6/22/98: Sixties sentimentalism
6/19/98:Dumbing down anti-trust
6/15/98: A changing of the guard?
6/11/98: Presidential privileges
6/8/98: Fast computers and slow antitrust
6/3/98: Can stalling backfire?
5/29/98: The insulation of the Left
5/25/98: Missing the point in the media
5/22/98: The lessons of Indonesia
5/20/98: Smart but silent
5/18/98: Israel, Clinton and character
5/14/98: Monica Lewinsky's choices
5/11/98: Random thoughts
5/7/98: Media obstruction of justice
5/4/98: Dangerous "safety"
5/1/98: Abolish Adolescence!
4/30/98: The naked truth
4/22/98: Playing fair and square
4/19/98: Bad teachers"
4/15/98: "Clinton in Africa "
4/13/98: "Bundling and unbundling "
4/9/98: "Rising or falling Starr "
4/6/98: "Was Clinton ‘vindicated'? "
3/26/98: "Diasters -- natural and political"
3/24/98: "A pattern of behavior"
3/22/98: Innocent explanations
3/19/98: Kathleen Willey and Anita Hill
3/17/98: Search and destroy
3/12/98: Media Circus versus Justice
3/6/98: Vindication
3/3/98: Cheap Shot Time
2/26/98: The Wrong Filter
2/24/98: Trial by Media
2/20/98: Dancing Around the Realities
2/19/98: A "Do Something" War?
2/12/98: Julian Simon, combatant in a 200-year war
2/6/98: A rush to rhetoric

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.