Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Magazine article The Spectator

Diary

Article excerpt

The Reverend Barry Shucksmith, of Cosham, Hants, in an interesting letter in the Daily Telegraph, points out that God allowed King David to remain in office, despite that monarch's having committed an adultery that led to murder and coverup. Mr Shucksmith concludes: `Almighty God will determine the outcome for Mr Clinton.' Most of us had assumed that Congress would do so. If it is to be God, is that good or bad for the President? God's handling of the King David scandal looks good for Mr Clinton. God is not up for reelection. He does not have to listen to focus groups. He can do the unpopular thing. But what is the unpopular thing from His point of view: to forgive Mr Clinton, influence things on earth so that the President stays in office, and appoint him to heaven in due course? Or to punish him, either by forcing him out now, or later consigning him to eternal torment in the Lower House? We just do not know enough about the power structure in heaven to say. Constitutionally, God is omnipotent. But there must be the heavenly equivalent of one of those newspaper graphics of `top aides' or `key players' who will supposedly decide Mr Clinton's fate. You know the sort of thing: `hardball Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin', or `ball-breaker Attorney General Janet Reno'. Will God seek the advice of `German-born, kick-ass reformer Martin Luther', or of `unsmiling John Calvin, architect of the hardline predestination policy'? Mr Clinton, and his top aides, must be hoping that someone like Mother Teresa must by now have become a key player up there. So there's all to play for, or, if I were Mr Clinton, and the author of that Daily Telegraph letter is right, all to pray for.

I have never known a crisis in which the mood changes so often. One moment Mr Clinton's position looks hopeless; the next, he seems to be surviving. After Mr Clinton's fateful August television address, and after senators of his own party started publicly attacking him while he was in Ireland, we were told: he may be doing astonishingly well in the opinion polls, but wait till the American people read the Starr report's sordid details. Then they'll turn on him all right. The report came out just as I was going to the opera. In the interval, the friends whom I was with said that they thought the performance so awful - it was the English National Opera's new production of Verdi's Otello - that they could stand it no longer. They were going off for an early dinner, and then to watch Newsnight. I could join them to catch the end of the latter. I had a suspicion that, if Starr had not been the rival attraction, they would have stayed the production's gruelling course. I arrived in front of the screen for Newsnight, expecting a President facing certain impeachment. One of my friends greeted me with a relieved cry of, `He's bouncing back' - relieved because she is one of.the many who believe that hardly anyone deserves to be so publicly humiliated as Mr Clinton is being. In the BBC Washington studio, a young man who was formerly a `top aide' to vice-president Dan Quayle, and a young woman who was some sort of Republican apparatchik, were baying for the Presidential blood. But the politicians -- people who have to be elected by the public which had been so lenient towards Mr Clinton - were much more cautious. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.