WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pondering the many scrapes with the law and with public convention that the Clintons have suffered over the past dozen years of the Clinton Glory, we can ascertain one weird quirk shared by both eminences that explains their unprecedented string of scandals. Having reviewed both their autobiographies now, I see this one weird quirk standing out ever more starkly. The Clintons land in the soup most frequently because they lie when they do not have to, and they tell a whopper when a little white lie would be perfectly understandable.
Whether this gratuitous mendacity is a profound moral defect I leave to the theologians. What is unconscionable and cruelly exploitive is that after being caught in their lies so many times, they continue to manipulate the passions of the more gullible sort of Democrat who has joined the Clintons in transforming their soap opera into one of the Democratic Party's national issues. Rather than "move on," as the phrase had it back in 2000, the Clintons' exploited dupes now devote their time to the Clinton cult rather than to fighting for preferred Democratic policies and untainted Democratic candidates.
In their autobiographies, the Clintons may have had to skirt the truth occasionally -- many lifelong politicians do. But they often tell lies that did not have to be repeated, many of which have clearly been refuted by subsequent legal proceedings and by scholarly or journalistic research.
In her autobiography, "Living History," Hillary did not have to lie all over again about when she first heard of her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky. Clearly she knew early on. Nor did she have to dismiss Gennifer Flowers' longstanding affair with her husband in Arkansas as a "whale of a tale." Her continuing lies about her role in firing White House travel agents are equally gratuitous and reckless. She had done nothing worth lying about in any of these instances.
In "My Life," Bill Clinton claims to be morally healed. He claims he is making a clean breast of things. But he goes on to insist that Independent Counsel Ken Starr was guilty of leaking information against him. In every alleged leak that has been investigated by the courts and by journalists, Starr has been exonerated. Clinton's lies are easily refuted, but he doggedly tells them anyway. Starr cannot comment, but his aides ought to.
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