2 December 1998
A Howler follow-up: One more outrage
Synopsis: If Bill Bennett would just tell the truth himself, his trademark outrage would be a bit more persuasive.
Hearing on Perjury Shows Partisan Divide
Edward Walsh and William Claiborne, The Washington Post, 12/2/98
The Death of Outrage
William J. Bennett, The Free Press, 1998
The penitent perjurers appeared before Congress, keening and wailing in painful contrition. Meanwhile, Walsh and Claiborne, in the Washington Post, help us close the books on Bill Bennetts Death of Outrage.
Yesterday, we pointed out how the perpetually-furious Bennett had pimped Barbara Battalino about in his book, asking angrily: Why should exactly the same standard of justice, for exactly the same offense, not clearly apply to Bill Clinton himself?
The dyspeptic Bennett, as is his habit, was raging, raging against the dying of the day! But todays article helps us see that Dr. Rage was just pulling our leg in his account of Battalino (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/1/98).
Heres what Walsh and Claiborne tell us about Battalinos case. The boys have just said the good doctor had been sued for engaging in a sex act with a psychiatric patient, Ed Arthur:
WALSH/CLAIBORNE: She then requested that the federal government certify her under the Federal Tort Claims Act, thereby making the government responsible for any monetary damages resulting from Arthurs lawsuit.
The writers go on to say that it was during a hearing on Battalinos request that she lied about her conduct with Arthur.
Well, we couldnt help noticing a small minor factor that Bennett had omitted from his account in Outrage. Like Pam Parsons, the co-perjurer whose conduct we parsed only yesterday, Battalinos perjury had occurred in a case which she herself had initiated. In other words: she had filed a perjurious court case for her personal gain, in the course of which she lied about her conduct. There wasnt a word in Bennetts outraged account to tell us that this was the case.
None of this tells us whether Bill Clinton lied under oath. None of this says whether Clinton should be removed from his office. We cant discern from this set of facts whether Clinton should be prosecuted in 2001. But we do perhaps get another look at why folks aint all outraged like Bennett.
Bennett tells readers that President Clinton committed exactly the same offense as Barbara Battalino. And it turns out thats not quite the truth. Its the very same pattern of spin and hyperbole we briefly scanned yesterday in Bennetts big book. Once again, the Crown Prince of Cranky fails to give it up straight, in the effort to bring down Vile Clinton.
Why hasnt the public just fallen in line, marching behind the Pied Piper of Pique? Maybe they got tired of being spun and deceived by those who call Clinton a spinner.
Now thats a lawyer: Is it worse to lie in a lawsuit that you yourself brought? To falsely bring claims against others? J. Lewis Cromer seems to think that it is, and he was the lawyer to the penitent Parsons when she brought her lawsuit against poor Sports Illustrated.
Heres what Cromer had to say in the article today in the Post:
WALSH/CLAIBORNE: Noting that Parsons had initiated the lawsuit, Cromer described her as the architect of her own destruction, and said to compare Pam Parsons with the president is to compare mules with Man o War. Its a totally different situation. It makes no sense to compare them...She was the architect of that case.
Cromer says that the judge in the case had ordered the perjury investigation out of his feeling that Parsons was manipulating the system.
Incidentally, weve said all along that a reasonable person could make a case that President Clinton should be hounded from office. But we repeat a key point we made yesterday. The conduct of Parsons and Battalino is distinctly different from Clintons alleged conduct. Do people get prosecuted for what Clinton did? If these are the best cases the GOP can find, searching all the way back to 1984, that would support whats been said all along: that it really is a rare thing indeed, to be prosecuted for what Clinton did.