This started with an E-mail discussion with Dean Obeidallah regarding Bill Clinton and perjury. Dean forwarded me the portion of the The Starr Report that recounted several examples of perjury that were supposed to be in Monica Lewinsky’s testimony. It was pretty damning.
The skeptic in me asked why the judge avoided citing Bill Clinton for perjury when she sanctioned him. Was the judge a skeptic too, and why? Did she have doubts, like I did? Did something about Starr’s tactics make her hesitant?
As I reviewed the origins of the 1990s fiasco, how Starr’s office behaved and Monica’s testimony according to the Report, the skeptic in me rallied. But if, dear reader, you think I’m going to re-litigate the impeachment, no, I’m not. Instead it’s more about how I realized I was reacting a lot like supporters of Donald Trump will probably react to Mueller’s report… which may be at least as damning as Starr’s.
Yet: considering all the speculation so far, to be fair, I admit I am a skeptic there too. There’s a LOT of supposition going on when it comes to the final report. I’m more of the “wait and see” mindset.
I do need to do a little review… my skepticism when it comes to The Starr Report is due to the very nature of Starr and how the investigation was held. How he got the job is also problematic: Republicans were unhappy with the previous Republican Independent Council: Robert Fiske. Apparently the conclusions weren’t damning enough. So they replaced him with Starr. The title “Independent” hardly applied.
So now let’s flip that: what if Mueller were fired and 2018 election empowered Dems appoint someone Starr-like from the left? Would be a skeptic there too? Depending on who: YES. Hmm… maybe someone about as partisan-ly compromised as Starr and his prosecutors were? Special Prosecutor Hillary? Oh, MY!
I’m joking. Kind of. Sort of. Partially.
I remember Starr’s damn near daily, very convenient, partisan skewed, leaks.
But wait, every time we hear about something that might be happening now couldn’t Trump supporters: right or wrong, claim the same? Whether it actually came from his office is beside the point because, like Starr leaks, it would be assumed to be from his office. Fair or not: this is the state of anything remotely political these days.
All the pressure, to ‘flip,’ if you will, made me a skeptic of Starr and anything his office might produce, like the Report. There are many examples: for one of the worst I suggest you read The Woman Who Wouldn’t Talk by Susan McDougal. In this one case alone tactics included denying diabetes meds to her husband in prison (he died), threats accompanied by promises she wouldn’t go to prison, or would be let out once incarcerated, attempts to force her to sign statements written by Starr’s office declaring things happened that never did: like a relationship with Bill Clinton. Susan was serving time for accepting a check she shouldn’t have her husband, Jim, sent her to get. She admits she was uncomfortable with doing it, but trusted her husband at the time. Starr’s office told her she wouldn’t have to serve any time for that if she signed statements she never wrote. So she went to prison. After that, for no reasons except continuing to refusing to sign statements she never wrote, not testifying to things she never did, she was placed in solitary several times. Once she was shoved into a section women who murdered their children: a high target populace in women’s prison.
How am I to know Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony as reported in the Report wasn’t also compromised with similar tactics? To this day are there things she can’t legally admit to?
Wait, wait, wait… aren’t some of the Mueller indicted folks and their lawyers saying there is pressure being exerted to flip? See where I’m going here? Public perception means so much these days: whether true, or not. When Nixon resigned most of the country was ashamed of what had been done, what had happened. The Buckley brothers and Barry Goldwater convinced him to resign. I’m not sure we have even the possibility of any of that anymore. Instead we seem to be living in a time of extreme narcissism: support your own team no matter what. Example: now when a digital form of the plumbers break in one side shrugs it off, “Well, everyone does it.” Another frames it as, “Worse than Watergate.”
Hence nothing gets done: stalemate. Once upon a time the crime matter more than political convenience, ethics mattered more than partisan skew. Like election hacking: regardless of how it affected the election, or not, cyber security should be a major bipartisan concern and focus for the good of the nation.
It’s not. I doubt it will be in my lifetime. Instead we have this inane competition: election fraud v. voter fraud. If both sides are so certain let’s have a big investigation of it all led by all parties. But that will never happen as long as the state of morality is what it is the days: DAMN NEAR NONE.
Our view what’s right, what’s wrong, our very perception of both justice and rule of law, is coming down to no more than whatever is politically convenient. Getting what we want, politically, is all that matters. HOW we get it doesn’t.
As a former conservative activist in the 60s I remember once there came a time when a lot of people on all sides decided, for the good of the nation, enough was enough. I’m not sure if we can ever have that again. Instead we live in a “lock her/him up/so what/big deal” culture regardless of the truth.
I admit: I feel queasy sharing similar feelings with those who will never trust anything Mueller. But the biggest danger, perhaps, is the divide is so bad, so blindly partisan, ‘winning’ by any means has become more important than anything else. Propelling that is the fact political discourse has become no more than what framing so often is: a name calling competition.
When it comes to peons has been screwed up for a long time. But there use to be at least the sense that public servants could step beyond blind partisanship to do what must be done to keep our nation at least marginally free, to represent all: not just some single faction. Instead partisans insist on weighing down the scale in their favor and lifting Lady Justice’s blind so she’ll only see what they want her to.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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