Rich is a scapegoat for Florida

Published February 20, 2001 3:02PM (EST)

Singing the blues

Washington insiders and the media are working extremely hard to follow the money trail regarding Bill Clinton's recent pardons of Pincus Green and Marc Rich. However, why isn't anyone looking for the money trail that led to George W.'s election? Why are no questions being raised by Congress regarding the ethics of Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas, both of whom had family members working on the Bush campaign?

It seems that the more we talk about the ethics of Clinton's pardons and Clinton's office location, etc., the less we hear about the ethics of an election that, to quote many Republicans who hate Clinton, "poses many more questions than answers." As far as I am concerned, the Clinton haters are using him as a scapegoat to avoid issues that are much more troubling and dangerous to our democracy than the pardon of two oil tycoons.

-- Ilene Hurwitz Schwartz, Pittsburgh

Submit your own rant or direct us to a good political online discussion by e-mailing us at, or jump right into a Table Talk discussion about Red vs. Blue.

Anger management

"WOW!!! What a great Freep of the creep!" [Free Republic]
While most media outlets gave only glancing attention to the protesters who gathered outside former President Clinton's $100,000 appearance at an Oracle conference in New Orleans Monday (On CNN: "They were mostly ignored by everyone but the television cameras"), posters on Free Republic recognized placard wavers as their own. On a Free Republic thread, the protesters are trading stories ("Saw the gang on Fox cable news this morning," writes bmwcycle. "It was a nice sight to see in the morning"), and have even posted an online photo album of their public displays of aggression toward the 42nd president or, as they call him, the "X42."

Meanwhile, Clinton's Sunday Op-Ed in the New York Times explaining his pardon of Rich has set off a chain of handwringing, including:
"Clinton Blames It on the Jews: How Low Can He Go?" [Free Republic]
"No 'Quid Pro Quo,' Says Clinton" []
"NYTimes issues statement on 'errors' in Clinton's Op-Ed Article on Pardons for Fugitives" [Table Talk]

Now, if anyone still thought that wild-eyed Clinton hating was on the wane, National Review online's John Derbyshire came through last week with stomach-turning evidence to the contrary, confessing that "truth will out, I will be heard. Brace yourself: I hate Chelsea Clinton." As ludicrous as it sounds, the column wasn't a joke, and it prompted fellow Brit (hardly a Clinton apologist) Andrew Sullivan to condemn it in his online journal as "simply beneath contempt. National Review owes its readers and Chelsea some sort of apology. It makes Mary Eberstadt's neo-McCarthyism look positively enlightened."

Brazile: Clarence Thomas a "role model for black Americans" [American Spectator online]
That's the surprising gist of this Spectator interview with former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, who is not the only one who can contain herself about Thomas these days. Back in the National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru stomps his foot over the rough treatment the Supreme Court justice received last week by "liberal critics" at the New York Times, Slate and the Washington Post who criticized his highly political and angry speech to a conservative think tank last week. "It takes a curious lack of empathy not to see why Thomas would say what he did," Ponnuru writes. "What [Slate's Tim] Noah, [the New York Times' Maureen] Dowd et al. are saying, in effect, is: Who is this cretinous jerk to be complaining about people calling him names?"

Ponnuru conveniently avoids mention of a Salon piece critical of Thomas' speech, written by a fellow conservative, the Weekly Standard's David Skinner. But it certainly riled readers, many of whom missed the fact that Skinner is a conservative -- labeling him as just another "liberal" writer -- or were simply angry that Skinner, like Thomas, is a conservative. Some examples:

While David Skinner "found it easy to see the qualities that have made [Clarence Thomas] a conservative hero, ... [Skinner found himself] wishing [Thomas] didn't show them to the whole world."

And why not, Mr. Skinner?

Would it simply be that the "whole world" would find Judge Thomas' views to be every bit as abhorrent as they truly are?

-- Thomas E. Turpin

Actually, it was supposed to be "pinup":

"Actually, one can hardly imagine a better picture of moral courage -- or a better *pinup* for liberal outrage." You misspelled "pimp."

-- Guy Teague

No, really, it was supposed to be "pinup":

Really, Mr. Skinner. I am not at all troubled by Clarence Thomas becoming a "pimp for liberal outrage." Frankly, after the gut-twisting stress of living in a state of more or less constant outrage throughout most of the last eight years, hearing liberals wail is positively cathartic. I find myself incapable of becoming angered anymore by the usual redistributionist, politically correct, sanctimonious, veracity-challenged nonsense that used to drive me up the wall. All I seem to be able to do now is smile. Indeed, I never realized how beautiful the word "former" could be until I began seeing it preceding the titles of the endless parade of Clintonistas appearing on TV regarding the Marc Rich pardon or some other nascent scandal. Whatever happens in 2004, I must admit that smiling is a much more pleasing sensation than tooth grinding. Tell it like it is, Clarence. For just a little while anyway, who cares what they think?

-- Mark Stephenson

Did "Yet Another Good Show [Fall] Prey to Gay Agenda"? [Free Republic]
The culture wars rage online over gay story lines in TV sitcoms and dramas. On Free Republic, Monday night's "Everybody Loves Raymond" has Texaggie79 angry because "Ray is persecuted for not wanting his two 5-year-old sons to play 'fairies' in a school play." This, the poster says, "perturbs me ... the message portrayed of horrible homophobe dads, [who] should see the light of allowing their kids to pursue any lifestyle that makes them happy." The posting is met sympathetically: "Now the only TV I watch is 'Iron Chef' and old 'Card Sharks' reruns on the Game Show Network. And of course Fox News," writes StrictTime. And fullchroma helpfully points out that "Raymond" costar Patricia Heaton is a spokeswoman for Feminists for Life.

Another poster, Texanared, complains: "'ER' has always been one of my favorites. I enjoyed reruns of the reruns -- watched faithfully until a few weeks ago when one of the main characters kissed another woman on the show. No more 'ER' for me!" But the show's burgeoning lesbian romance between two women doctors has sparked a whole world of online admirers and obsessives, from a forum devoted exclusively to charting the twists and turns in the relationship to an ongoing discussion on (click under "Popcorn Q Queer TV"), where posters squabble over topics such as "I think that Dr. Kim is wayyyy too cute for Dr. Weaver."

By Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------