WASHINGTON -- The mighty are falling one by one. Or at least the mighty are being exposed for the frauds that they are. Last month it was the Boy Ex-President. This month it is the Rev. Jackson. Who will be next?
Why not Sen. Teddy Kennedy? I do not pick his name randomly or maliciously. He has had a special place in the cavalcade of frauds who since the 1960s have dominated American political life. These are special frauds, not merely a common balderdasher like, say, Sen. Joe Biden, who had to end a presidential bid after it was discovered that he stole not only lines from a British political leader's stock speech but apparently much of that leader's biography. And the Republicans have their charming balderdashers, say, Newt Gingrich, whose claims to erudition and learning simply defy the limits of the plausible.
Kennedy is the prototype fraud who leapt from triumph to triumph despite occasioning a string of scandals and lies that would have banished a lesser fraud to oblivion. Of course, the greatest scandal that Kennedy overcame was the scandal of Mary Jo Kopechne's death at Chappaquiddick, about which he lied and is probably still lying. What was special about it was the seriousness of the indiscretion, the vastness of the lie and that he corralled some of the most distinguished minds in the Democratic Party to aid and abet him in it.
Chappaquiddick should have ended the man's career. Instead he has sat in the Senate for decades and is now presented by many as the Senate's leading legislator and a man with a huge conscience.
Of course, the senator has accumulated other scandals en route to becoming the Senate's conscience: that rape charge against his nephew after a night on the town with Teddy, his public carousing here in Washington, funny financial dealings. As I say, Teddy is a paradigm for our era's special frauds, frauds whose scandalous lives are well known but ignored. Some have been explained away by their friends -- a stain on the liberals and Democrats that will be remembered by history whether today's liberals recognize it or not.
Boy Clinton's exposure last month should have surprised no one. During a career in Arkansas and a more publicized career of scandal in Washington, he got caught doing everything he was excoriated for last month and more. For eight years, various reporters have reported his abuses of power, his lies, his gargantuan and base appetites.
Was the stealing of the White House furniture new? The American Spectator reported the Clinton's pilfering last year in our March issue. Were the pardons unprecedented? The Washington Times reported in 1996 how Clinton pardoned one Jack Pakis, a convicted gambler who had been a gambling buddy of Clinton's mother. Incidentally, the fact that Clinton and his mother consorted with such low-lifers should have tipped off the bien pensants long ago when the first reports of scandal surrounding the Clintons surfaced.
Yet like Teddy, Bill's scandals were forgiven him. Both are that type of Super Fraud that has steadily progressed in American public life for forty years. And so we come to The Rev. Jesse.
Now the press has revealed that even as he was "advising" Clinton during Clinton's sex scandal and impeachment, the Rev had a cutie with child and he was -- THIS IS NO JOKE -- taking her to the White House as he advised the embattled president. What is more, at least one of the Rev's tax-exempt charities has been footing the bill. What is still more, it has not been filing its papers accurately with the IRS, and at least some of the Rev's charitable organizations seem to have been shaking down corporations.
Yet, as with the other Super Frauds, Jackson's record has been replete with scandals and examples of him delicately stepping from one lie to another -- all ignored by his politically powerful friends. At the outset of his career, he lied that he had left a football scholarship at Illinois University because racists would not let him play quarterback (he was under investigation for plagiarism while on probation, and the team's quarterback was black).
He lied that he had been the last person to talk with the Rev. Martin Luther King before the assassination and lied again about having King's blood on his clothing. Now there is pressure on the IRS to investigate his shoddy finances and the apparent misstatements on his records.
Before all this, he has been stirring up racial animosities since the 1970s. He is famous -- or he should be -- for the false charges he made against police during a wave of murders in Atlanta in the late 1970s and 1980s. And there were his false charges of racist church burnings. And his support of the Tawana Brawley fraud. And not so many months ago, he was down in Mississippi exploiting a young black's suicide; saying, against all evidence from authorities white and black, that the deceased had been lynched.
Any one of these scandals would have finished off the career of lesser frauds. But the Super Frauds have kept growing and expanding their turf. Now two of them are in hot water. Are their careers over? Let us see.