The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Monday, October 31, 2005

His Life

A month ago I promised to write some about Clinton's bio, My Life. Due to some sort of email screwup, I haven't received an Inbox full of messages asking where said posts were. But for all of you waiting with bated breath, here's a one:

Fitzmas was a bit of a letdown: while I was certainly happy to see a Scooter under the tree, I was really hoping for a brain chemistry set. Nonetheless, what was most striking to me was what an impressive figure Fitzgerald cut (at least on the radio). He was clear, articulate, ultra-professional, and showed some charming glints of humor. Only an embarrassing partisan could fail to find him convincing.

Then, yesterday, I got to the part of the bio where Clinton describes Starr's Congressional testimony, which was effectively his public coming-out event. People on all sides have been unable to resist comparing the two, but I really feel that these two events capture the essence of each, and the nature of their respective work.
Three surprising things came out of Starr's testimony. The first was his announcement that he had found no wrongdoing on my part or Hillary's in the Travel Office and FBI file inevstigations. Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts asked him when he had reached those conlusions. "Some months ago," replied Starr. Frank then asked him why he had waited until after the election to exonerate me on those charges, when he had submitted his report "with a lot of negative stuff about the President" before the election. Starr's brief response was confused and evasive.

Second, Starr admitted he had talked to the press, on background, a violation of the grand jury secrecy rules. Finally, he denied under oath that his office had tried to get Monica Lewinsky to wear a wire to record conversations with Vernon Jordan, me, or other people. When confronted with the FBI form proving he had, he was evasive. The Washington Post reported that "Starr's denials ... were shattered by his own FBI reports."

[p. 829]
In other words, Starr's crummy little operation withered in the first daylight shone upon it, while the heretofore reticent Fitz gleamed before the cameras. True, there was no explicit opposition, but I think there's no doubt that, to the casual viewer, Fitz was Eliot Ness, not Javert.


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