Monday, June 4, 2018

A President Pardons Himself

I'm not talking about Donald Trump's latest tweet.

I'm talking about Bill Clinton's latest interview, which aired on NBC Monday morning.

He was on TV to plug his new book, a "thriller" co-written with James Patterson, when the questions veered off into the Me Too movement and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Needless to say, Clinton was not too thrilled when past episodes of his sexual predations came back to haunt him.

Borrowing a page from the playbook of long-suffering wife Hillary, who once complained that she and Bill were "dead broke" from legal bills by the time they left the White House, necessitating a new career of extreme money-grubbing just to make ends meet, the former president portrayed himself as the real victim of his tryst with a White House intern.

As such, he's never felt the need to apologize to Lewinsky, whose own public profile and "wokeness" to the lopsided power dynamics of the affair has risen as much as Clinton's has fallen in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein crime spree and other revelations of bad behavior in the highest places. His relationship with Monica Lewinsky, plus the accusations of outright sexual assault have, as Hillary parsed it during her latest political campaign, already been "litigated" and are therefore not open to further serious discussion -- MeToo movement, or no MeToo movement.

Even if he were president today, Clinton insisted, the movement would do nothing to change how he viewed the Lewinsky episode.

“I don’t think it would be an issue because people would be using the facts instead of the imagined facts,” he whined in his best legal parsing fashion, bringing back memories of "it depends on what the definition of 'is' is" and "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky." (So much for his jab at Trump and the previously unheard-of phenomenon of "fake news" emanating from the mouths of government officials.)

He said he has never spoken to her let alone apologized to her in the decades following. Why should he? He already took the initiative, made his generic proxy apology once to the whole globe, for crying out loud. This unforced apology apparently inspired him so much that he then went on to rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from the Clinton Global Initiative branch of his family foundation. 

In exonerating himself yet again on Monday, Clinton gave the feeblest possible compliment to the MeToo movement, parsing his approval with the disclaimer that he "disagree(s) with some of the decisions that have been made." He didn't say if he was referring to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance's belated decision to charge Democratic mega-donor Harvey Weinstein even after Vance had accepted campaign donations from him, albeit carefully and legally funneled through the disgraced mogul's lawyer.

Vance said he has since returned Weinstein's cash. The Clintons, though, carefully parsing to the end, dodged the issue by claiming all Weinstein's donations to their Initiative and Foundation had already been given away to charity anyway, so they cannot possibly return the money. As far as her political campaign chest goes, since Weinstein was largely a "bundler" of millions of dollars from his fellow oligarchs, she won't be returning that money, either. Her running mate, Tim Kaine, has falsely claimed that since the campaign was over anyway, they couldn't possibly even return Weinstein's own personal donation. (The campaign is over, of course, but as notes, the excess cash was deftly funneled right into her super-pac, Onward Together.)


Meanwhile, Barack Obama has apparently pardoned himself for his own role in giving us Donald Trump by promoting Hillary Clinton, not to mention rewarding Wall Street over Main Street during his eight-year tenure, ensuring that the richest  Americans clawed back 94% of all the trillions of household wealth "lost" in the wake of the 2007-08 financial meltdown.

 The D.C. Bubble is full to bursting about of the latest blame-game book, this one from one of his former flacks, one-time aspirational novelist and national security adviser Benjamin Rhodes. Since I don't have my barf bucket close to hand at the moment, I'll just refer you to one nauseating positive review from the New York Times's resident palace stenographer, and to another much more palatable one from the New York Times's resident style maven.

Long story short: Obama was shaken, if not stirred, by Trump's victory. He confided to his flacks that the ingrates of America were just not ready for his awesomeness. The legend in his own time turns out to have been about ten or twenty years ahead of his time. So it's our bad, Bottom 90% of America.

But just in case you're concerned that Obama is wallowing in a dysfunctional depression like tens of millions of bad and unready Americans, you'll be happy to learn that fresh off inking his reputed $50 million production deal with Netflix, he'll be the headline act at a major Hollywood bash later this month. He will sell intimate access to his cool self for a cool $100,000 a pop. (the flashbulb kind, not the unwanted and odious Clinton/Weinstein kind.)
 “I am very excited to announce that President Barack Obama will be joining DNC Chair Tom Perez in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 28 to headline his first fundraising event for the DNC on the West Coast this year,” said the invite to the $2,700 to $100,000 priced event. “This will be a rare opportunity to spend an evening with President Obama,” the pitch added. “While at the event, President Obama and Chair Perez will discuss the strategy of the Democratic Party for winning elections in 2018 and beyond.”
And the Democratic functionaries still wonder why the party lost a thousand seats during the Obama years, not to mention a huge hunk of the working class vote to Donald Trump's paranoid-style populism. 

Meanwhile, former President Jimmy Carter took a much-needed break from building Habitat for Humanity houses last week, and visited a North Carolina McDonald's restaurant for an egg biscuit and a "senior" cup of coffee with his wife Rosalynn. And he isn't even running for anything.

He also isn't getting invited to headline Hollywood fundraisers or to appear on the Today show.


Karl Kolchak said...

When I tell people that Carter ranks as the only decent president of my life time (b: 1965), they usually look at me like I have two heads. "But he was a lousy LEADER," is a common refrain, to which I reply "because he genuinely tried to lead America into becoming a more just and equitable country."

Uncle Ho said...

Bill Clinton is a pig. He was rightly impeached, and should have been removed from office. He was later disbarred from the practice of law. As to "long-suffering wife Hillary", she was an enabler, salivating for the day when she would be president. If Hillary had kicked Bill to the curb, America would have loved her, and ultimately elected her president. But Hilary was to calculating, and too morally bankrupt, to dump Bill, like millions of ordinary women have done in similar situations. I say f-k em’ both.

How does Monica fit in #MeToo? "I'm going to the White House to get my presidential knee pads..." she said, according to a story by People Magazine. And she claimed Clinton, whom she called "the Creep," "wanted to have only oral sex". Poor little Monica didn’t get laid. :(

#MeToo is a long time coming, but lets face it, there are plenty of women, and men, who would drop to their knees for Clinton (either one) or Weinstein, to cash-in a hummer for a chance at fame and fortune.