In 1776, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense was being read throughout the new small nation celebrating its glorious independence. “We have it in our power,” he wrote, “to begin the world over again.”
Eric Foner, in his The Story of American Freedom (Norton)—an indispensable recent book that should be read in every school in the land—quotes again from Paine on the Revolution:
“We see with other eyes, we hear with other ears, and think with other thoughts than we formerly used.”
Yet here we are, 223 years later, with two out of every three Americans fiercely protecting the president of the United States from removal from office. It’s the old world all over again.
The people are speaking and demonstrating on behalf of a multiple perjurer, a sexual predator, a man who subverted another citizen’s right to due process by deliberately perjuring himself in a deposition in Paula Jones’s trial.
Due process—fairness—is the basis of our system of justice. William O. Douglas once said, “The history of liberty is the history of due process.”
Obstruction of justice destroys due process. Yet, as I have described—with facts, not speculation—in the last two columns, Clinton, through his agents, has threatened and otherwise intimidated a series of his disposable women to prevent them from testifying against him.
Liberals, intellectuals, members of the clergy devoted to situational ethics, and stars of stage and screen are rallying around a president who has continually defiled the Constitution, that guarantee of our rights and liberties that was born of the Revolution.
They hold teach-ins for the president, who has tried to demonstrate his machismo by selling out habeas corpus and championing the death penalty. In the first radio commercial of his campaign for reelection as president, he boasted of increasing the number of federal death penalties.
He has deported aliens without their being able to see the evidence against them. The record of his contempt for the Bill of Rights could fill many columns—and, indeed, has occupied a lot of this space for the past six years.
So why is this flimflam man, this bunko artist, getting away with it?
It’s the economy, stupid, as hordes of jejune commentators keep telling us. Folks are doing fine. Except for the millions of two-and three-job families and except for the fact that the demand from indigent citizens is outstripping the supply of soup kitchens.
The president so cherished by the illuminati, among others, created welfare “reform,” which—as Frances Fox Piven, distinguished professor of political science and sociology at City University, points out—has created a “financial incentive for the states to slash the rolls….Early reports on what has happened to the families dropped from the rolls are ominous… whether they actually find work or not, the policy of pushing hundreds of thousands of desperate mothers
into the search for work is certain to drive down wages at the bottom of the labor market where wage recovery has just begun.”
But “leaders” of the feminist movement are among the most ardent protectors of the president—as are so many liberals whose concern for the underclass has somehow evaporated.
Insofar as those benefiting from the economy may account for some of Clinton’s support, the poor—and God loved them so, he made so many of them—are being shafted as usual.
There is another reason why Mr. Bill—as his admirer, Stanley Crouch, calls him—keeps climbing up the polls. There is an American tradition of the charming rogue, the trickster, who is so daring in his evasion of the law that he becomes a romantic figure.
Or, as Katie Roiphe, a Clinton acolyte, said on Nightline (January 8): “We are tired of having all sides of sexual aggressiveness in a man be criminalized. Here comes, you know, this very charismatic leader and he acts on his appetites and he acts on his impulses, and even if we wouldn’t want to marry him, and even if we don’t condone his behavior, there is something about Bill Clinton that captures our imagination, that remains and is appealing.”
Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The superb New Encyclopedia of the American West (Yale University Press) notes that Cassidy was a rustler and robbed trains and banks. His dashing colleague, the Sundance Kid, was also a gunslinging desperado, reportedly even more charismatic—as Ms. Roiphe might say—than Cassidy.
Their exploits made them American legends, all the more after George Roy Hill’s 1969 movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, still often seen on television. The real Sundance Kid and Cassidy were supposedly killed by Bolivian troops in San Vicente, Bolivia, in 1911.
But, as The New Encyclopedia of the American West points out, “no proof exists that the men killed there were Butch and Sundance. The families of both men claim that they slipped out of South America and quietly reentered the United States.”
It might be worth digging up William Jefferson Clinton’s birth certificate. The Sundance Kid was reported to be alive as late as 1957. Could Mr. Bill be the Sundance Kid’s true hidden child?
Next week: Can only Our Bill save us from the Christian Right?