Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Day in Court for Hillary Clinton

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Day in Court for Hillary Clinton

Article excerpt

Everybody I know has been calling to get ringside tickets to the fight. Sorry, guys; direct your requests to the promoter, White House press secretary Mike McCurry. He was the one who reported the president's desire to deliver "a more forceful response to the bridge of Mr. Safire's nose" to a column of mine detailing three episodes that I believe show Hillary Clinton to be "a congenital liar."

After publicly confirming his frustration that only the presidency's constraints prevented him from delivering the punch, Clinton pointedly associated himself with scrappy Harry Truman, who once told a critic "you'll need a new nose." Clinton cleverly responded to an attack on his wife's veracity with a defense of her virtuous character.

That rescued from obscurity an essay that had disappeared into the Blizzard of '96. Hardly anybody in Washington received that issue of the paper. Were it not for the Clinton decision to strike his Trumanesque pose, that column would have vanished into the deep-six deep freeze reserved for Rose Law Firm files.

The imageers' choice of metaphor put my proboscis into pugilistic play. My publisher offered a nose guard. New York tabloids published boxers' match-up sheets (his previous kayo was Bush, mine were Lance and Inman; Clinton's mascot is a cat and mine are two Bernese mountain dogs, etc.).

Dukes-up faxes and calls reveal a gender difference in reader reaction: 90 percent who say "you are an obnoxious boor" are women, and 90 percent who say "it's about time somebody said what she was" are men.

That raises the question: How does any male geezer denounce a politician with a record of untruths, evasions, lawyerly deceptions and outright lies - who happens to be not only a lady, but the First Lady?

If you are a sexist journalist, you give her a free pass, or preserve access by hiding behind a question mark. If you are a euphemist, you say she "trifles with the truth" or "plays fast and loose with the facts" or "fibs" or "dissembles" - shying from the harsh L-word.

If you are a member of a congressional committee worried about appearing insensitive, or getting Anita-Hilled, you fret about political fallout raining down on interrogators who allow villains to play victims. …

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