Let the Whitewater butt covering begin

By Joe Conason


Read the story

The only conclusion that can fairly be drawn about Whitewater is that the Clinton defense team accomplished what all defense teams try to do — it denied the prosecution the evidence necessary to achieve a conviction. The Clintons did this through both lawful means (assertion of attorney-client privilege) and less-lawful means (such as the payments arranged from Clinton allies to Webb Hubbell to keep his mouth shut, the assertion of frivolous privileges and the false testimony under oath by Bill and Hillary Clinton and Susan McDougal of their inability to recall the relevant facts).

Notwithstanding the Clintons’ success in orchestrating this strategy of denial, some damning documents were produced, such as the checks indicating payments to Bill Clinton.

A fair inference from this pattern, at least in the court of public opinion if not a court of law, is that the Clintons were guilty as sin. An honest man holding the office of president would have waived all privileges and cooperated with the investigators, as President Carter did when he was investigated.

– Douglas B. Levene

What Joe Conason fails to acknowledge is that the independent prosecutor law was flawed from inception in that it charged prosecutors to investigate fully without the budgetary or caseload limitations that check typical district attorney. This law was, in fact, put in place by the Democratic Party, and there were few complaints about it from them when the independent counsels were investigating Republican presidents. In those times, they typically spoke of being the target of independent prosecutor investigations as though it was tantamount to conviction.

– Richard Solomon

The important fact about the Clintons and Whitewater is that they should have been presumed innocent all along, unless and until proven guilty of some crime or other. Ray’s decision not to prosecute says this: “I have plenty of evidence to find the Clintons guilty, but not enough to persuade a jury biased in the Clintons’ favor to find them guilty as charged.” He still leaves a large cloud of suspicion floating above the heads of the Clintons because he’s too chicken to declare them innocent. If he can’t put up, he should shut up.

– Maurice Englander

Moral institutions (sometimes self-appointed), like prosecuting attorneys and newspapers, often cling to the issue because of the “rightness” of the cause. They believe that their cause is so righteous that they become blinded from seeing the truth. It is nice to be a seeker of justice, but better still to see the truth apart from the “justice” of the matter.

– Jim Merriman

No surprise here. Conservatives have been playing the “If we can’t run the country, no one will” game for years. Too bad for them the economy wasn’t driven into the ground as they so confidently predicted eight years ago, because their credibility is at an all-time low.

How they thought they could run an insubstantial candidate in this context is way beyond me, but I’m not complaining. Let them cover their butts, it will still be obvious to most that they are naked, scared and desperate. Until the conservatives can redefine what they stand for, something that has been largely successfully co-opted by the centrist Democrats, they will have little else to do besides try to dig up dirt on the other side.

– Jim Flynn

Those who award the Pulitzer Prize for journalism ought to appoint a commission to field complaints for bad journalism, and, where it is found to exist, strip the offending organization or writer of a past-won Pulitzer. The New York Times and Washington Post should be stripped — in my view, the Times should lose three Pulitzers, and the Post two — for their betrayal of the principles of journalism with respect to Whitewater coverage. The action of the commission would be accompanied by a written citation detailing the nature and extent of the bad journalism, and the effects of that bad journalism on the body politic.

– Fred Hoefle

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>