Clinton's House of Cards Steady in the Storm; Monica Lewinsky's Testimony Is Unlikely to Bring Down the President, Sa Ys Dennis Ellam

By Ellam, Dennis | The Birmingham Post (England), July 30, 1998 | Go to article overview

Clinton's House of Cards Steady in the Storm; Monica Lewinsky's Testimony Is Unlikely to Bring Down the President, Sa Ys Dennis Ellam


Ellam, Dennis, The Birmingham Post (England)


If the long black limousine has to deposit him in person on the doorstep of a federal courthouse, that indignity would be the end of Bill Clinton's Presidency.

Otherwise, he might yet survive.

No-one can predict in detail what Monica Lewinsky is ready to say, this time,

about their sexual adventures in the White House, but whatever her revelations they are unlikely to be enough in themselves to bring about his downfall.

Most of the American public believes that the President did have sex with Ms Lewinsky and, therefore, that he must have lied when he said categorically that he did not.

But the detail is no longer what matters; Ms Lewinsky, after all, could hardly be described as a completely reliable witness.

Everyone in this affair is blemished, but as long as the President can remain in his Oval Office - albeit the setting for some of his alleged conquests - then he can be seen to remain at least one step removed from the legal catfight.

Hence his lawyers' eagerness that if he must give evidence at all to a Grand Jury, then it should be via a video link.

There could be a delay of many more months yet, before the courts decide whether he ought to give evidence at all.

Certainly the President now faces an awkward short-term future, and all of his legendary slickness will be required to construct explanations about his conduct which sound at least hallausible.

But by the end of it, the Clinton Administration is likely to be intact, and to struggle on, however grievously wounded, to January 2001.

For, amid all the allegation and counter-allegation, Mr Clinton has a major advantage in his favour - the American people actually like their President.

They like his "aw-shucks!" demeanour and they like his ofeat attitude to the solemnity of office. Which other leader could have arrived at a world summit in a wheelchair loaded in the back of an airline truck, having busted an ankle during a night out wi th the boys, and actually been applauded in by his waiting press corps?

Clinton charms wherever he appears, even going to the lengths of downing a pint of warm English beer at a canalside pub in Birmingham in order to give the next day's newspapers the right sort of image. …

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