Memo on Bill Clinton’s Character and how is being President a reflection on the American people.
TO: MY DEMOCRAT FRIENDS
FROM: MARK F. (THOR) HEARNE, II
DATE: OCTOBER 11, 1996
RE: THE CASE FOR CHARACTER
“Bill Clinton would rather climb a tree to tell a lie than stand on the ground to tell the truth.” So said an Arkansas official familiar with Clinton on CNN during the 1992 presidential campaign. Democrat Senator Bob Kerry has said, “Clinton’s an unusually good liar. Unusually good. Do you realize that?” Senator Kerry did not make this observation during the heat of a primary battle but this past January in Esquire Magazine. Kerry is not only a Democrat Senator but is a leader of his party and Chairman of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee. Senator Kerry knows whereof he speaks.
Forget what this says about Clinton – what does it say about us. We are told that Clinton is leading by a significant margin in his campaign to be our next president. (51% to Dole’s 38% according to last week’s Wall Street Journal/ABC poll.) We are told that “character” does not count. We are told that a candidate’s “personal life” has no relevance to the office of President and has no “traction” as a political issue. Indeed, we are even made to feel ashamed for raising the issue. (On July 15th Clinton said, “I think character is a legitimate issue and I look forward to having that discussion.” But, whenever the issue of character is mentioned Clinton dodges the discussion by claiming any question about his character is a viscous, Republican- motivated “personal attack.”)
Consider the current bestseller list. A list which includes an astounding number of books about the corruption which is the Clinton administration. Boy Clinton, Unlimited Access and Blood Sport are only a few. But let’s concede Clinton the benefit of his denials and explanations. Even by this analysis, in the light most favorable to Clinton and taking only those facts Clinton has acknowledged and granting him his spin on these facts, Clinton is far and away the most dishonest president or presidential candidate in the history of our nation.
Assume that only 10% of what these noted authors and a career FBI agent relate about Bill Clinton is valid. Assume that only 10% of the drug use, rampant promiscuity, financial fraud and blatant violation of state and federal law are accurate. Assume only 10% of the Wall Street Journal’s four-year, two-volume documentation of Whitewater, Travelgate and FBI Filegate is not innuendo and conjecture. Assume that Clinton’s unlikely explanation of Whitewater is correct. (It wasn’t a crooked deal to funnel taxpayer guaranteed funds from a Savings and Loan into his political campaign. Rather, we are told, Bill and Hillary, naive in matters of money — notwithstanding Hillary’s wildly successful commodities speculation — were duped by the crafty McDougalls into a foolish real estate investment scheme funded by kited checks and illegal loans. Frankly, even if valid, I fail to find any comfort in this explanation. Do we want a sharp crook or a financially unsophisticated waif in charge of our national economy?) Granted even these assumptions, impeachment should be likely, reelection unthinkable. Consider the following:
> Richard Nixon’s administration collapsed, Nixon resigned the presidency and Chuck Colson was jailed over misuse of one FBI file and the related cover-up. By contrast, Clinton and Craig Livingstone spirited away FBI files on their political opponents by the hundreds and the cover-up and stone-walling continues.
> Spiro Agnew resigned the vice-presidency over charges of tax evasion stemming from $16,000 he accepted from contractors when he was Governor of Maryland. By contrast, Clinton has conceded that he filed misleading tax returns that did not properly disclose illegal loans made by a now-defunct S&L the proceeds of which were used in his campaign for Governor. The reason he is not charged with tax evasion is that he released the tax returns after the statute of limitations had expired. Equally well established is the fact that Hillary enjoyed more than $100,000 in “profits” steered to her from commodities trading orchestrated by Tyson Foods in exchange for favorable treatment accorded Tyson Foods by her husband the Governor.
> Gary Hart bowed out of the 1988 presidential race because of one wild weekend in the Bahamas and a sleep-over in Washington D.C.. By contrast, Clinton is being sued in federal court for enticing a young woman – against her wishes — into his hotel room, dropping his trousers and suggesting she engage in a lurid sex act. Clinton’s known sex-partners could form a single-file line longer than the inaugural parade route. (At least JFK was honest about his philandering. During a 1961 meeting in Bermuda with British Prime Minister Harold McMillian Kennedy said, “I wonder how it is with you, Harold? If I don’t have a woman for three days, I get terrible headaches.”)
> Ginsburg is not a member of the U.S. Supreme Court because he used marijuana during college. By contrast, during Clinton’s term national drug use has doubled due to Clinton eviscerating drug enforcement. Remember also Josalyn Elders, Clinton’s selection for Surgeon General. In addition to her crusade to distribute condoms (for which she earned the moniker “the Rubber Maid”) and to have masturbation taught in public schools, she campaigned for the legalization of drugs. During her term as Clinton’s Surgeon General, Elders son was convicted of felony cocaine and crack distribution. (If she couldn’t keep her own son from pushing crack, how could she be expected to reduce national drug use?) It is simply beyond belief that, with someone of Elder’s views as his pick for the nation’s chief medical officer, Clinton expects us to believe he truly wants to battle illegal drugs.
On a personal level Clinton acknowledges that he used marijuana but claims he “didn’t inhale”. Yet in an MTV interview with high school students Clinton states that if he had it do over again he, “probably should have inhaled.” Roger Clinton described his brother’s appetite for cocaine by stating, “He (Bill Clinton) has a nose like a Hoover.” (Referring to the vacuum cleaner not the president. who preceded Roosevelt.) But, we can discount this allegation because Roger Clinton, along with Friend Of Bill Dan Lasater, have been convicted of felony drug charges for the distribution of cocaine.
(As an entry for the “How’d They Do That” file consider this: Roger Clinton served only two years for his cocaine distribution charges and Dan Lasater only six months. Roger cut a deal with the prosecutor to testify against Lasater. Lasater was convicted but pardoned by Governor Clinton. (Clinton says the pardon was so Lassater could qualify for a hunting license.) However, even as Lasater was being investigated for drug dealing Clinton’s Arkansas Finance Authority awarded Lasater authority to underwrite a $30 million bond issue. An undertaking for which Lasater pocketed $750,000. The purpose of this bond issue for which the state of Arkansas awarded $750,000 to a drug dealer? An Arkansas state police communication facility. Clinton’s pardon of Lasater raises an interesting point. Why won’t Clinton promise to not pardon Susan McDougal (who is currently in jail because she refuses to testify about Clnton’s role in the Whitewater scandal) and other Whitewater defendants? Clinton has already indicated a willingness to put the power of a presidential pardon to a personal purpose. Clinton has pardoned Jack Pakis a Hot Springs, Arkansas bookie and close friend of the Clinton family.
Given this, why is Clinton the favored candidate for president? Have our standards for the office of president fallen this far this fast? What does it say about us and our esteem for our nation that we would trust Bill Clinton with the United State of America.
A question should be asked of each vice-presidential candidate in the upcoming debate. “Would you want your daughter to marry a man with the personal character of your running mate?” Recall the question to Mike Dukasis about how he would view the death penalty if his wife Kitty was raped. Well, why not a similar question to Hillary. How would she feel if Chelsea brought home a boyfriend with the same character and integrity as Bill Clinton? (Some may be upset with me for bringing Hillary into the discussion. After all, they may retort, she is not running for office. Would it have been fair they ask to deny Lincoln the presidency because Mary Todd was a lunatic? To which I reply, Yes, if Lincoln had threatened to put Mary Todd in charge of the Union Army as Clinton tried to do with Hillary and health care.)
Two responses, and only two responses, are possible. One, all the charges against Clinton are false and Clinton is, in truth, a noble and honest – though much maligned – man. (This is the official White House position.) Two, the charges are, in whole or part, true but it just doesn’t matter. Clinton’s character is irrelevant to his fitness to serve as president.
If you opt for option number one, “Clinton is a wrongly-maligned honest man”, than you probably also thought O.J. Simpson was framed. Halley Barber’s line, “Clinton may not believe anything but his friends have convictions – for bank fraud, embezzlement, conspiracy…” resonates because it is true.
Two-thirds of the Rose law firm, the source of Clinton’s closest colleagues including his wife, are either dead under suspicious circumstances (Vince Foster), in jail after serving in the Clinton administration (Webster Hubble) or under indictment or investigation by a special prosecutor (William Kennedy). A similar fate has befallen many of Clinton’s other top advisors. Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros and Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy subject to independent counsel investigation; former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown subject to an independent counsel investigation prior to his death; Clinton understudy and friend Arkansas Governor Guy Tucker and Clinton business partners Jim and Susan McDougal jailed for 24 count conviction for bank fraud and conspiracy. Clinton testified on behalf of the McDougals and Governor Tucker. After the trial, jurors told reporters that they did not believe Clinton’s testimony and several jurors stated that, based upon the evidence they considered, Clinton was definitely involved in the wrongdoing.
It is simply not possible to consider the incredible number of Friends Of Bill who are under indictment, under investigation by independent counsel, in jail or awaiting sentencing and conclude that all the charges against Clinton are false.
Clinton apologists reply that it is unfair to paint Clinton with the same brush as his jailed colleagues. Democrat Senator Chris Dodd claims that to view Clinton in light of his friends is to engage in “guilt by association”. These defenders argue that Clinton has just suffered the misfortune of being surrounded by dishonest people and is not, himself, dishonest. This explanation, even if credible, is of little comfort. Do we want as president a man so lacking in judgment that he has a profoundly uncanny ability to choose as his closest advisors a collection of crooks and felons.
Bluntly put, Bill Clinton is an unmitigated, dissembling liar. What Clinton says is meant to deceive not to inform. During an interview on September 23rd with PBS’s Jim Lehrer Clinton said, “There is not a single solitary shred of evidence of anything dishonest that I have done in my public life.” Most of us hearing this proclamation would understand it to be a blanket denial of any wrongdoing. Clinton clearly intended to communicate this understanding. However, reread Clinton’s statement. “There is not a single solitary shred of evidence….” Clinton does not deny dishonesty, rather he denies that there is any evidence of his dishonesty. Quite a different proposition. Continuing with a further qualification Clinton said, “…that I have done in my public life.” The injection of “public life” presumes a distinction with Clinton’s private life. Given the mountainous evidence of Clinton’s dishonesty, we can only conclude that Clinton believes using drugs, funding his Arkansas gubernatorial campaigns, funding his presidential campaign, managing the WhiteHouse travel office and FBI files and formulating national policy are all part of his private life.
Option Two, “Clinton is dishonest but character doesn’t count when choosing the President”, is equally untenable. Consider the purpose of the election. For starters, this November we will decide who will take the constitutionally prescribed oath next January. A candidate for president does not become president by winning the election. The candidate must also take the oath of office and does not become president until he does so. (Recall the photograph of Lyndon Johnson taking the oath of office in Air Force One on the tarmac in Dallas standing next to a blood- splattered Jackie Kennedy.)
We do not make much of oaths now days. Yet, the men who crafted our form of government, founded our nation and authored the Constitution placed great significance on oaths and, correspondingly, the integrity of the individual taking the oath. A man’s honesty and integrity were vitally important to our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson, founder of the Democrat party, wrote, “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Of what value is Bill Clinton’s “sacred honor” and to what cause would he pledge it? (Obviously not his wife, nor his country when called to military service.) More importantly, would you believe him if he did?
This is a more troubling question for my principled liberal friends. (Especially for those who make so much of Republican scandals whether it be Watergate, Iran- Contra or the Teapot Dome.) The most outrageous Republican is a piker compared to the mythomaniacs, miscreants and poltroons which populate the Clinton administration. (Will someone please tell me George Stephanopoulos’s job description and how whatever it is he does furthers the legitimate business of the presidency.)
Those Democrats who support Clinton (and their allies in the media who overlook the Clinton scandals) have lost the right to ever again mention Watergate, Iran-Contra or any other allegation of Republican corruption.
Most liberals acknowledge Clinton’s fundamental dishonesty. However, they appear willing to tolerate or overlook his moral failings because they believe Clinton will advance a liberal ideology and Bob Dole will oppose the liberal’s agenda. But, in choosing Clinton as their standard bearer, what are liberals saying about their own integrity and the validity of their ideology?
How can the noble ideals proffered by the liberal be reconciled with the tawdry and untrustworthy reputation of their candidate? What does is say about the validity of liberalism that the adherents chosen advocate is a consummate fraud? In choosing Clinton as their candidate (a candidate who liberals support because they believe he will govern with a liberal bent even though he publicly campaigns as a conservative) aren’t liberals saying that their agenda is best advanced by disguising and concealing their ideology and, by implication, recognizing that if American voters truly appreciated the liberal agenda they will reject the ideology?
If I believed I had a worthy policy to advance I would not choose an unworthy spokesman to advance the policy lest the message be sullied by the messenger. If I was trying to sell a drug to cure cancer I wouldn’t choose Jack Kavorkian to be my spokesman.
Indeed, Clinton’s failure to keep the faith even with political bed-mates is why two high-ranking administration officials resigned when Clinton signed the Republican welfare reform bill. A bill that Clinton had previously promised to veto. Abandoning Clinton is the only rational response available to honest liberals who truly believe in the merits of their ideology.
Others don’t defend Clinton but disparage us. They argue: “So what if Clinton lies, uses drugs and cheats on his spouse, most American’s behave this way and it is hypocritical to hold a leader to a standard higher than the standard by which we measure our own behavior.”
While I don’t agree that Clinton’s behavior is characteristic of the typical American, I will grant this point for the sake of argument. Granted even that assertion, I dispute the central premise. Americans aspire to greatness and have always been an optimistic people. Our leaders should be the best from among us not the worst.
A far sadder event than a second Clinton term will be a second Clinton term because a majority of Americans believe a man of Clinton’s integrity is representative of the character of our nation.
It has been said that hypocrisy is vice’s tribute to virtue. Well, if so, Clinton should be Master of Ceremonies hosting a Telethon for Virtue. Within hours of being elected president Clinton proclaimed that his administration would be the most ethical ever. This promise was made in the context of Clinton’s campaign attacks upon the Bush administration for, what Clinton claimed was, unethical behavior such as the State Department official who allegedly tried to pull Clinton’s visa file and document Clinton’s trip to the Soviet Union during the time Clinton was leading anti-American rallies overseas. Clinton was “shocked” at the Bush campaign’s “outrageous” use of official personnel and records to gain an advantage on a political adversary. Clinton can not understand, however, why everyone seems so exercised about the hundreds of FBI files on Republican opponents he and Craig Livingston have squirreled away in the White House.
What does it mean when the victor of this fall’s campaign will take the oath of office to lead our nation into the next millennium? For me I want to believe the man who places his hand on the Bible and says, “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
November 5th is national examination day. The question is one of character. Not Clinton’s character but our character; our character as a nation and as individual voters. And, if the answer is Bill Clinton, we all fail.
Also posted in the TOWNHALL
Mark F. (Thor) Hearne, II
October 11, 1996
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute this memorandum.