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Clinton's Fantasy World By: Don Feder
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Don’t bother buying Clinton’s  957-page excuse for a presidency that beggared the term pathetic – “My Life” – which goes on sale today.

If you’re interested in the truth about the Clinton years – one of the most embarrassing chapters in U.S. history – the last place to seek enlightenment is in the pages of an autobiography by this master of deceit.

A prominent member of his own party, former United States Senator Bob Kerrey, once remarked that Slick Willie is “an unusually good liar.”


R. Emmett Tyrell, Jr. elaborated on this thesis in his 1996 book, “Boy Clinton: The Political Biography.”  Clinton is a constant liar who has, on occasion, devised lies that are truly extraordinary,” Tyrell wrote well before Monica-gate.  “He tells huge lies when a little white lie would be sufficient and even pardonable. He applies a modest lie when no lie is needed. Some of his lies are admittedly artful and possessed of a bland lawyerly elegance, but others are juvenile. Nonetheless, he intones them all so smoothly, so coolly, so reflexively as to suggest that for him, there is no reality beyond himself. He lies like a man totally unencumbered by conceptions of right and wrong. He lies like a sociopath.”


Since Americans have short memories (to match their attention spans), and Clinton has been out of office for 3 ½ blessed years, it might be helpful to consider a few of his more notorious whoppers:


1)     To secure a draft exemption, he lied to the commander of the ROTC unit at the University of Arkansas about intending to join the program after his year at Oxford. He had no such intention, as he later admitted.


2)     During the 1992 presidential campaign, he lied to voters about his affair with Gennifer Flowers, as her recordings of their telephone conversations demonstrate.


3)     He lied about growing up with blacks in the rural South during the era of segregation.  (He probably would have claimed he was born “a poor, black child,” had not comedian Steve Martin beaten him to the punch.)


4)     He lied about trying pot only once, but not inhaling. Flowers and his brother, Roger, both declared that he used marijuana and cocaine regularly.


5)     He lied for the better part of 8 years about his Whitewater dealings and his knowledge of his partners’ fraud.


6)     He lied when he claimed he did not sexually harass Paula Jones – as the $700,000 she received to settle the case suggests.


7)     He lied about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. He lied to his family, his cabinet, his aides and the American people. He lied under oath. He perjured himself, in violation not only of the laws of the land but also of his oath of office. Here, his lying caused a constitutional crisis that distracted the nation at a crucial time when it should have been concentrating on the growing threat of  international terrorism.


During eight years in office, he made Dick Nixon at his worst look like Abraham Lincoln at his best. I wouldn’t trust the Great Pretender if he told me that hot-fudge sundaes are fattening, Charlize Theron is attractive and Osama bin Laden is a very bad man indeed.


The promotion campaign for “My Life” should be called “The Clinton Vindication Tour – Securing Bill’s Place In History – Summer, 2004.” A review in The New York Times says the book is “sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull.”  And those are its strong points.


The Times’ review reminds me of David Brinkley’s comment during Election Night ’96. After complaining that Clinton’s victory speech was “one of the worst things I’ve ever heard,” Brinkley said the then-president “has not a creative bone in his body. Therefore, he is a bore and will always be a bore” – probably not one of the dust-jacket quotes for “My Life.”


Beyond even the pleas for sympathy based on his trailer-park childhood, and the back-patting over his many imagined accomplishments, the book is blatantly dishonest where candor is called for most.


He was “immoral and foolish” in his affair with Monica, Clinton confesses. And he did it for the worst possible reason, the ex-president intones, “because I could.”


There’s no hint of remorse over the sexual harassment of Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey, the alleged rape of Juanita Broaddrick or the legion of bimbos his state-trooper bodyguards say he slept with as governor of Arkansas. Then again, he wasn’t caught red-handed in any of his other indiscretions (no DNA evidence), so why feign contrition?


After the usual perfunctory apology for Monica, Clinton launches a frontal assault on his enemies in the impeachment crisis: the “right-wing cabal” that tried to drive him from office – including the FBI Director he appointed and the special prosecutor (Kenneth Starr) whose selection his attorney general endorsed.


The forces involved in this illegitimate crusade to drive him from office – Starr, the Republican Congress, Rush Limbaugh and conservative activists – weren’t just wrongheaded or opportunistic political opponents, they were evil incarnate, Clinton implies in his book.


The impeachment fight was, the liberal Pinocchio writes, “my last great showdown with the forces I had opposed all of my life,” including those who supported segregation in the South and opposed equal rights for women, as well as politicians who believed that government should benefit shadowy and sinister special interests.


Here is megalomania peppered with paranoia. I’m only surprised that the blubbery Walter Mitty didn’t fantasize that, in struggling to stay in office, he was also fighting resurgent Nazism and attempting to find a cure for cancer.


Yes, most Clinton-haters (a fraternity in which I am proud to claim membership) hated everything about the man – his politics, his policies, his smarmy rhetoric, his lies, his smirks, even his Deputy Dog accent.


That doesn’t alter the reality that the 42nd president of the United States was eminently impeachable. If Democrats – who now whine that Bush exaggerated the threat of Saddam Hussein prior to the Gulf War – had voted on principle, Clinton would have been unemployed in 1999.


Clinton lied under oath. Despite the pleading of liberal apologists, there is no exception to the federal perjury statute for lying about sex. A lie is a lie is a lie.


Lying under oath is a felony. When the president of the United States commits perjury,  that is ample cause for impeachment and removal from office under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. That Clinton was also guilty of obstruction of justice (to cover up his crimes) and suborning perjury – two more felonies -- simply strengthened the case against him.


In way, it was all so exquisitely fitting: A man whose life was built on lies, whose political creed was based on lies, was finally undone by a lie – a lie he told in a sworn affidavit, a lie that was obvious (once investigators had the dress with the presidential stain), a lie that couldn’t be rationalized or explained away.


That Clinton persists in the fiction that his only offense was a moral lapse demonstrates the great truth of his presidency: Clinton lies even to himself.


Besides the standard sobbing about being victimized by an attempted “right-wing coup” (successor to the “vast right-wing conspiracy”), the rest of the book is equally predictable.


Clinton claims the crowning moment in his presidency came when our war on the Serbs ended. On his orders, we bombed the smithereens out of Christian people (who had been our allies in two World Wars), in order to create a quasi-independent Moslem state in Europe. What particularly pleased the ‘60s alumnus was that this application of military force bore absolutely no relation to our national security. Actually, it worked against our interests.


The architect of the Nude World Order is only slightly less gratified with his first great foreign-policy coup – “returning democracy to Haiti,” in the person of Castro crony Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Events this spring (when, after a decade of political turmoil, Aristide was ousted again) show the futility of  Clinton’s humanitarian interventions.


The ex-president also tries to demonstrate that he really did care about defense– that it wasn’t just an afterthought between bouts of oral sex (although, according to the Starr Report, the then head of state once was serviced by Monica while he was on the phone discussing troop deployments to Bosnia). The Clinton White House was “Animal House” and “9 ½ Weeks” meets “Liar, Liar.” 


I was deeply, passionately concerned about terrorism, Clinton now maintains, notwithstanding his refusal to accept custody of bin Laden (the Sudanese wanted to give him to us in 1996, in exchange for better relations), or his missile strikes on aspirin factories in retaliation for embassy bombings –- all of which persuaded Islamic terrorists that we were the Great Paper-mache Satan.


The 957-page tome (Clinton has a lot to say about his favorite subject -- himself) has an initial printing of 1.5 million copies. People lined up at midnight at bookstores in New York and other cities to snatch up copies of  this  fictional account of his presidency. The only thing to rival the phenomenon is the pet-rock craze of the ‘70s.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.

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