Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Our President’s Sex Life

Jerry Stratton, February 22, 1998

I have to admit to ambiguous feelings over the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. My position is, pretty much, Clinton deserves what he’s getting. Honestly, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. But it also couldn’t be a poorer issue. Why sex rather than any of the numerous real crimes Clinton has committed? Americans are more hung up on sex than they are on murder, dishonesty, war, and robbery. Hell, we don’t even care so much about his flashing Paula Jones. If he’d just raped Lewinsky and had the Secret Service clean it up, this probably wouldn’t be as big of an issue as it is because they had consensual sex.

If President Clinton had sent off soldiers to bolster flagging ratings, as he has before, and as Bush before him, and Reagan, and even Carter has done, and as he may well do yet, there would not be such an outcry. Yes, he was fifty and she was only twenty one, but twenty-one is adulthood. She’s old enough to die for the President in battle, why can’t she give him a fucking blowjob if she wants?

Okay, he asked her to lie. He should have just told her to tell them it isn’t any of their business who she has sex with. In any case, it isn’t the lie that’s catching our attention. It’s the sex. This wouldn’t be any less scandolous if he’d never been asked about, and never had to lie about, Lewinsky. And it is far more scandalous than if the lie were about, say, laundering a couple hundred thousand dollars.

Clinton has been involved in more scandals than this: there is likely something hidden about the Vince Foster murder/suicide; there were certainly White House shenanigans involving the shredding of Foster’s papers moments after the death. There is also Filegate, Whitewater, Chinagate, all far more serious crimes than having sex with someone who isn’t Hillary, especially when Hillary doesn’t seem to care who he sleeps with. All of those crimes should matter to the American public, but they don’t. Instead, we want to hear more about his private life. So Clinton has probably had sex with hundreds of women over his political career? So what? I would have to say that sex is far less important than the hundreds of thousands, probably millions of dollars taken and given in bribes over his White House career alone.

It’s certainly ironic: Clinton himself has been a big proponent of intrusive government. He still opposes e-mail privacy; he strongly opposes letting people decide on their own what to smoke in their own home; he is most especially in opposition to private self-defense. So if we decide to intrude on his private life, we can call it payback time. But it’s still wrong. It is wrong to give the government a key to our personal secrets, it is wrong to put people in jail just because they choose recreational drugs other than beer or coffee, it is wrong to keep the tools of self-defense out of the hands of the people who need them, and it is wrong to put an individual’s sex life on the front page of the newspaper.

Calling it a “vast right wing conspiracy”, on the other hand, as Hillary Clinton has done, is just nutty. If Hillary wants to know where the conspiracy is, all she has to do is look at the person she’s sleeping with at night and then watch the evening news.

Let me repeat that Clinton deserves everything he’s getting. Clinton is the worst excuse for a liberal since the Democrats tried to co-opt all liberal stands except the second amendment back in the sixties. But couldn’t we be crucifying him for something real? I mean, Clinton is probably the most evil president we’ve had since Nixon, maybe worse. “Clinton,” said one Christopher Morton, “is about as liberal as an Aryan Nations jamboree.” A friend of mine from that area of the South “escaped” to Chicago after Clinton’s second election to governor in Arkansas:

Imagine my shock when they elected this yahoo President. And that election, ye cats. It was damned painful, because there was just no way I could explain to all these liberal co-eds why I had to snicker whenever they mentioned him.

The traditionally liberal New Republic accused him of an unprecedented level of corruption and greed. The White House staff is so certain that he’s a criminal that they go into cover-up mode even when he’s accused of things he probably didn’t do. Maureen Dowd called it the only White House in history guilty of a cover-up and not a crime, which is only partly right. It is increasingly obvious that there are many crimes. But each staff member, while knowing the depths to which the President has gone, doesn’t know the complete story and so starts into cover-up mode at the slightest hint of trouble.

There is talk that this latest scandal will lead to Clinton leaving the presidency early. If you believe that... Clinton is not going to leave on his own. He’s too power hungry. And the Republicans are not going to force him out. They aren’t courageous enough, and they don’t care about the important part. Sure, if having sex was an impeachable offence, they might get up the courage to vote on impeachment. But it isn’t. They’d have to get him on the lies. They, like the rest of us, don’t care about the lies. So while Clinton will be laughed at behind his back, made fun of on international television, and provide humor to governmental leaders around the world, he’ll stick with the White House and the power it gives him. He is, as political analyst Richard Hartman said, “in Sociopath Heaven. As long as he doesn’t care what other people think or say about him, there’s really very little that anyone can do to him anymore. Despite the pouty lips for the camera, the guy’s got to be absolutely laughing his a$$ off in private. I hope the American People remember that in 2000, but I’ll bet they don’t.”

And I know that there are at least some people out there, active as voters, who are completely blinded by partisanship. As the maintainer of “ElectedNet”, which compiles Grace York’s political e-mail list into an easily-used click-and-send format, I occasionally receive thanks for providing the service. I recently received a message from someone thanking me for providing a site that will “effect honesty in government”, and then went on to say that she would use it to email her representatives because she has “been so upset by Ken Starr”. If she were annoyed at the lack of privacy in the United States, her anger at Starr would be readily understandable. But Starr’s investigation is specifically looking into dishonesty in the Clinton White House. If honesty is her concern, she should be thanking him.

But this is a distinction that we all appear unable to make. The polls show that while we wouldn’t trust Clinton if he lived next door, we are perfectly happy with him living in Washington. Perhaps we all should be thanking President Clinton for this. A little sex on the evening news beats having to pay attention to the real crimes of the man we’ve elected leader of the free world, doesn’t it?

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