To: Political Writers
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Remember, folks, Bill Clinton is a Bad Guy
I’m not kidding. If you think about it a bit, you will have to conclude that William Jefferson Clinton is the first truly evil figure to occupy the Oval Office. Yes, the American people continue to give him high marks in his conduct of public policy, and to tell you the truth, I give him passing grades as President, no less than a C+. The standard applied as President is much different than the standard applied as human being, however. If Clinton had made major errors causing the decline of living standards of the American people, or fomented war leading to the loss of American lives, he would be dragging his behind in the public-opinion polls. The reason for this memo on the margin is for all of us to remember that when we separate Clinton the man from his management of his office, there is no way we can consider him to be a good man.
It takes a fellow like Christopher Hitchens, a leftish British national who writes for Vanity Fair, to remind us about Bill Clinton’s basic immorality. In reading this transcript of a recent Hitchens speech, I realized I’d put out of my mind the man’s disgraceful record. It’s hard to disagree with Hitchens’ assertion that we have become used to living with a man in the Oval Office who is not only a perjurer, but also a rapist and a “murderer” -- a man willing to use his power to kill to further his personal goals. I’d come close to voting for him in 1992 if only to protest President Bush’s breaking of his “read my lips” pledge. After Clinton ordered the bombing of Iraq in September 1996 without consulting Congress and with the flimsiest of excuses, I wrote that he should be impeached on that act alone. He was clearly kicking off his re-election at the expense of the lives of a great many Iraqi civilians.
Subsequently, I at first opposed his impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal, but then changed my mind when it became clear to me -- and to Chris Hitchens -- that Clinton acted like the garden-variety rapist when confronted with the accusation. He insisted Monica came on to him, and when he rebuffed her advances, she invented stories about their affair. Hitchens got directly involved in the controversy when he revealed that Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal, a friend of his (and mine) in happier times, told him the Clinton lies about Monica. We’re not expecting to have this dreary story replayed for us during the Bush/Gore campaign this fall, but it is something that still weighs beneath the surface of the national consciousness. Here is the link to the Hitchens speech, which you should take the trouble to read. It is a much broader indictment than that which the Senate considered in Clinton’s trial. Hitchens reminds us that not one Democratic Senator, including Joe Lieberman, visited the evidence room before deciding how to vote, obviously not wanting to know how bad a guy Clinton really is.