From Archibald Cox to James Carville

Article excerpt

It should come as no particular surprise that Clinton political consultant James Carville has decided to make it his business (and a profitable one it is likely to be, if one knows one's Carville) to go after Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr. He will, after all, be following what has come to be something of a tradition in Clintonian circles.

First came the editorial pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post, and the New Yorker, portraying Mr. Starr as the puppet of anti-Clinton Republicans because (a) he is a Republican; (b) he once did some legal work for school choice in Milwaukee; and (c) he represented a tobacco company. Wow.

Then there was the fascinating judicial dance in Little Rock, where Judge Henry Woods, who had been removed from a Whitewater case because of his long and devoted friendship with the Clintons, tried and failed to convince eight District judges to hear a petition for removal of Mr. Starr filed by a Connecticut public defender. The request was referred to the Justice Department, where Attorney General Janet Reno seems to be allowing it to languish.

Then convicted Whitewater felon Susan McDougal got into the act. From the jail cell she was sent to after refusing to follow a judge's orders to testify before Mr. Starr's grand jury (and still facing two years prison time for her Whitewater crimes, as well as an embezzlement prosecution in California), McDougal batted her big brown eyes, told every media outlet she and her lawyer could think of that mean old Ken Starr was trying to force her to lie, and suggested she'd rather spend the rest of her days in jail than say a bad word about her pal Bill Clinton. …