Mercy. Even I, a charter member of the vast right-wing conspiracy, along with Ed Koch, Jimmy Carter, Hamilton Jordan and other repentant Democrats, stand agape at the latest Clinton shenanigans.
Those of us who thought Mr. Clinton was spending the remaining months of his presidency working on peace in Ireland and complete disruption of the Middle East were mistaken. Our boy president, along with Baby Huey, Sen. Clinton's younger brother, ne'er-do-well and crackerjack pardon attorney, had their hands full (in many ways) with the international underworld.
Hugh Rodham is like Paulie, the hanger-on in the original "Rocky." In order to capitalize on his sister Adrian's beau's fame, Paulie has Rocky wear a satin robe emblazoned with "Shamrock Meats Inc." on the back. Paulie gets the dough from the endorsement, and the truly tacky graces world-class boxing.
If "Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco" were painted on the West Wing exterior walls pursuant to a Clinton departing billboard lease deal, few would flinch.
Just when MSNBC was reduced to coverage of dogs being rescued from frozen Chicago waters (they interviewed the fireman who operated the ice hook), along came the post-presidency Clintons. This network thrives again with "Pardon Watch." On Friday, Ashley the anchor drew a chart la Tim Russert tallying pardons and dollars.
So many thoughts, so little space and but one conclusion. The thoughts: The National Enquirer broke the Hugh Rodham story, thus losing valuable journalistic resources needed for the Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman break-up. The junkyard dog reporters of the Washington Post and New York Times missed this one.
There was a great deal of quidding and an equal amount of quoing by pros. The explanation for the Marc Rich pardon is obvious — cash. The only explanation for the two Rodham-sponsored pardons is cash for Huey. The Four Square Hasidic Jewish community got its four sons pardoned for cash and votes.
Hillary's campaign treasurer, William Cunningham III, must feel like a real rube. He only got $4,000 for work that brought Huey 100 times as much. Ambitionless chump. Banana republics handle this kind of thing with more finesse. But the Clintons had been emboldened by inaction in the past and felt possessed of a perpetual get-out-of-jail free card handed to them via a failed and farcical impeachment and trial.
Hillary Clinton looked just lovely at her press conference. It was reminiscent of her last such press conference involving Whitewater and a most elegant pink St. John ensemble — a fashion statement that says "lying" to me. With her hair finally coifed again, Sen. Clinton tossed her husband off the boat with Huey tied to his foot. Revenge is sweet. One understands the need for two homes now.
Hillary Clinton used the phrases, "I didn't know," "I had no knowledge," and "You know," more than a group of children on the lam from a broken window. An important safety tip on preventing the appearance of corruption: If your unemployed brother-in-law is flush with cash while he is living with you, some queries would be in order, particularly when the brother wheels and deals on hazelnut import scams involving Russian toughs.
Giving back the money does not solve the problem. It is the thought that counts. The other shoe has not dropped. Much more will dribble out until even Lanny Davis and Maxine Waters surrender. The Clintons will remain on the front pages for months.
However, to use our new president's jargon, I "appreciate" these scoundrels. As they wallow in their bad judgment and worse ethics, President Bush moves like a stealth bomber on his programs. He has been blessed, not just with an ex-president who will not leave the limelight, but also with a pathological deviant married to Lady Macbeth. Stay with us, damned spots. George W. Bush looks positively regal.
Now the conclusion. These pardons and accompanying scandals will be forgotten next election cycle; Clinton will be turned loose by the Democrats to energize the gullible base. All that is outrageous, all that is disgraceful and all that is illegal will be dismissed by Democrats who now join in the Clinton dissing party with minimal risk.
Watch for Mr. Clinton at the next convention in a satin robe. On the back: "Hugh's Hazelnuts — Imported from Russia Illegally." And James Carville called Paula Jones trailer park trash.
Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Her e-mail address is email@example.com .