IS HE THE GREATEST CAD IN THE HISTORY OF U.S. POLITICS? IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD “IS,” IS, DOESN’T IT?
Rush Limbaugh called Bill Clinton “the gift that keeps on giving.” When Darrell Hammond (as Clinton) responded to a reporter’s question in an SNL skit as to how he could survive multiple sex scandals, “Clinton” replied, “I am…bullet-proof.” It became an instant classic.
Bill Clinton is a legend – not for the reasons that tens of millions of Democrats still worship him – but for his insatiable lust for women, the other (excellent) scandals that surrounded him, and his incredible ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Comeback Kid truly was bullet-proof. Props, dude; seriously.
Of course, anyone who remembers anything about Bill Clinton will never forget his obsession with Monica Lewinsky and his kinky goings-on with her (and the cigar) in the Oval Office. But – for those of you who may have forgotten (or were not aware of in the first place) his indiscretions prior to Monica Lewinski, your humble blogger-servant is here to remind you of just how Teflon this guy who was incapable of keeping his weenie in his pants really was. Hats (vs. pants) off, Bill – enjoy your anniversary.
Without further ado – on the eve of the 20th anniversary of Captain Teflon throwing his hat into the ring as a presidential candidate – I present Bill Clinton’s top-ten scandals, (after Monica, of course), courtesy of U.S. News & World Report:
1. Gennifer Flowers. Almost out of the chute, Clinton was hit with allegations that he had an affair with a former cabaret singer, Gennifer Flowers. He would later go on 60 Minutes following the 1992 Superbowl to admit to having caused “pain” in his marriage.
2. “I didn’t inhale.” Back then, smoking weed was scandalous, and Clinton was hit with charges that he had smoked marijuana in college. In March 1992, he admitted “trying it” and he offered up one of his most famous quotes: “When I was in England,” he said, “I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn’t like it. I didn’t inhale and I didn’t try it again.” Uh huh, right.
3. Rose Law Firm. During the ’92 campaign, Arkansas first lady Hillary Clinton’s past work for Little Rock’s politically-connected Rose Law Firm erupted with suggestions of conflicts of interest regarding state business. The campaign dismissed the charges, and Bill Clinton went on to elevate the importance of his lawyer-wife when he said that America would be getting “two for the price of one.”
4. Draft-Dodging and War-Protesting. As the first Baby Boomer presidential nominee, Clinton was accused of dodging the Vietnam War draft, and criticized for protesting the war while on foreign soil – while he was a student at England’s Oxford University.
5. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. After his ’92 election and during his presidential transition, Clinton stepped into a political minefield by suggesting that gays should be allowed to serve in the military – a debate recently ended with the lifting of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, a compromise that Clinton authored in his first term.
6. Travelgate. In May of his first year, Clinton fired the entire White House travel office, alleging theft – charges that were ultimately tossed out by a U.S. District Court. The federal workers were replaced with Clinton allies from Arkansas and the firings were viewed as politically motivated. Clinton had said that if the alleged suspects were found innocent, he would find a way to pay their legal bills, but he never made good on that promise. Of course he didn’t.
7. Vince Foster. In July 1993, Vince Foster, a deputy White House counsel, and friend of Hillary Clinton’s in the Rose Law Firm, was found shot to death at a park on the Potomac River – from an apparent suicide. Controversy swirled when it was learned that Clinton aides had entered Foster’s White House office within hours of his death.
8. Whitewater. One of the cases Vince Foster was working on was a controversial land deal called the Whitewater Development Corporation. It was a failed business deal between the Clintons and Jim and Susan McDougal that eventually led to a probe by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, though his final report ended up focusing on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and barely mentioned Whitewater.
9. Healthcare. In 1993, the first couple attempted to overhaul healthcare. The first lady held several closed-door health care task force meetings for the purpose of crafting a proposal, but because the public wasn’t invited, Congress raised questions of influence – and at least one healthcare association sued to stop the procdeedings. The scandal played a role in dooming “HillaryCare.”
10. Troopergate. In December 1993, the American Spectator reported on allegations that Arkansas state troopers had arranged sexual liaisons for Clinton while he was governor. The story referenced a woman named “Paula,” who turned out to be Paula Jones – just one more of the many sex scandals that dogged Clinton for years.
Hell, it wears me out just to read the list – but here’s the deal: I would trade the loser in the White House for Bill Clinton any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Obama may have succeeded as a husband and a father where Bill Clinton did not, but – I’ve never voted for a “husband” or “father” to lead the greatest country on the face of the earth.
Remember that picture of Bill hugging Monica along the rope-line outside the White House? Doesn’t that image just warm the cockles of your heart?