Aug 98

I'm stunned at the outrageous spectacle of Secret Service agents forced to testify against the President. Have Starr and the entire judicial system gone mad,? Has the obsessive hatred of Clinton so clouded the mind of jurists that they're willing to kill a future president just to persecute Clinton for what aren't even crimes? And make no mistake about it- this will likely get a president killed- they will never trust Secret Service agents in any tryst and will hide from or banish them when they may need them most. Plastering the photos and names of Secret Service agents on front pages is an appalling breach of security. Think Saddam, Khaddaffi, Hamas, "patriot" leaders, or every wacko who blames the president for the radio transmissions in his head aren't making careful note of who these agents are? Starr is skirting close to treason in forcing the SS to abrogate their sworn oath to protect and defend the President- all in the name of his McCarthyesque sexual witch hunt.

"No one is above the law" goes the justifying refrain, but Mr. Clinton is apparently below it- he's been subject to standards no person has, only because of the political hatreds fueling this investigation. Everyone lies about sex: it's an American right- it's not a crime, except to a zealot like Starr. Could you (should you) answer a 5-hour deposition about your whole sex life. Prostitutes don't have to answer these questions- how can we subject our President to them? Any man with the fanatical drive and ego to become president also wants to bed every woman on the planet; the only President who didn't: Nixon- was a vicious vindictive paranoid who screwed the country instead. $40 million and 4 years could destroy anyone rich or famous- the fact that Starr's gone after this minor sexual peccadillo shows how clean Clinton is and how desperate the hate-Clinton forces, funded by tens of millions from right-wing millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife (he's given $200 million to Republican causes) are. Starr has served with 2 of his foundations and owes the Pepperdine U. presidency offer to him; the American Spectator that ran the Paula Jones story and other fulminating attacks also is funded by Scaife.

The entire concept of the special prosecutor, created because Nixon couldn't investigate his own serious crimes, has been perverted into a blunt medieval instrument with which to endlessly torture one's political opponents. All prosecutors are rightly limited by considerations of time, money, politics, and seriousness; they aren't judges balancing fairness, they are hunters looking for a kill. If you give a prosecutor unlimited time and funding on a single target, he can destroy anyone. Henry Cisneros, Mike Espy (spent $14.5 mil investigating $22,000 of gifts!), and others stand accused by special persecutors of incredibly minor transgressions. Starr has decided his task is to get the President and there's no real countervailing force balancing him. He even tried to quit, but right wingers and stupid Clintonites so excoriated him that he came back. Perhaps what is needed is a special judge to look into allegations and, if needed, appoint a prosecutor with a strictly limited mandate on time and money to make any case- say 2-3 months.

Starr was appointed by Republican judges because his predecessor wasn't partisan enough; he has managed to destroy Web Hubbel and several others whose primary crime was being friends of Bill Clinton (perhaps with tainted testimony- Scaife paid the main witness). Starr's conduct has been disgraceful: wiring "friends" to get incriminating sexual evidence is a tactic of sleazeball divorce lawyers; forcing a mother to testify for days about her promiscuous daughter's sexual affairs is cruel and unusual; jailing Susan McDougal for years and trumping up tax charges against Hubbel to pressure him into turning on the President is reprehensible; terrorizing a confused young woman with jail displays little decency, grinding the executive government to a halt and driving innocent people into poverty with endless fishing trip subpoenas and grand juries is abusive (while India + Pakistan where playing chicken with nukes, the President's secretary spent a week in grand juries), ignoring the massive weight of public opinion demonstrates his self-styled moral superiority, leaking grand jury testimony to newspapers violates his sworn legal oaths, and forcing the Secret Service to testify is simply.... a crime, one Starr may be called to account for someday.

He should be fired, but Clinton is handicapped by the Archibald Cox precedent, and the only other one who can: Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, is the source of the presidents trouble: she inexplicably allowed Starr to investigate Clintons alleged Lewinsky liaison, ... knowing it wasn't a crime + would open a bottomless pit of women and allegations (probably because Clinton almost replaced her).

The Supreme Court has made some very bad decisions: letting Paula Jones sue Clinton in a country where half of all suits are groundless, means no future President will ever not be sued; forcing his lawyers to testify violates the sacrosanct attorney/client privilege; and forcing the Secret Service to testify is an outrage.

When Starr was under fire for leaking testimony, it was hard not to contrast his childish nervous giggling with Clinton's courage and grace under pressure: aceing the State of the Union speech even after his closest advisors had said maybe he should resign; or lecturing the Chinese on their brutal past in an unprecedented nationwide address without alienating their leaders. Whatever his personal faults, Bill Clinton is probably the best pure politician of the 20th Century, and a President we can be proud of.