By Michael Kelly
I believe the president. I have always believed him. I believed him
when he said he had never been drafted in the Vietnam War and I
believed him when he said he had forgotten to mention that he had been
drafted in the Vietnam War. I believed him when he said he hadn't had
sex with Gennifer Flowers and I believe him now, when he reportedly
says he did.
I believe the president did not rent out the Lincoln Bedroom, did not
sell access to himself and the vice president to hundreds of
well-heeled special pleaders and did not supervise the largest, most
systematic money-laundering operation in campaign finance history,
collecting more than $3 million in illegal and improper donations. I
believe that Charlie Trie and James Riady were motivated by nothing
but patriotism for their adopted country.
I believed Vice President Gore when he said that he had made dunning
calls to political contributors "on a few occasions" from his White
House office, and I believed him when he said that, actually, "a few"
meant 46. I believe in no controlling legal authority.
I believe Bruce Babbitt when he says that the $286,000 contributed to
the DNC by Indian tribes opposed to granting a casino license to rival
tribes had nothing to do with his denial of the license. I believed
the secretary when he said that he had not been instructed in this
matter by then-White House deputy chief of staff Harold Ickes. I
believed him when he said later that he had told lobbyist and friend
Paul Eckstein that Ickes had told him to move on the casino decision,
but that he had been lying to Eckstein. I agree with the secretary
that it is an outrage that anyone would question his integrity.
I believe in the Clinton Standard of adherence to the nation's
campaign finance and bribery laws, enunciated by the president on
March 7, 1997: "I don't believe you can find any evidence of the fact
that I had changed government policy solely because of a
contribution." I note with approval the use of the word "evidence"
and also the use of the word "solely." I believe that it is proper to
change government policy to address the concerns of people who have
given the president money, as long as nobody can find evidence of this
being the sole reason.
I believe the president has lived up to his promise to preside over
the most ethical administration in American history. I believe that
indicted former agriculture secretary Mike Espy did not accept $35,000
in illegal favors from Tyson Foods and other regulated businesses. I
believe that indicted former housing secretary Henry Cisneros did not
lie to the FBI and tell others to lie to cover up $250,000 in
blackmail payments to his former mistress. I believe that convicted
former associate attorney general Webster Hubbell was not involved in
the obstruction of justice when the president's minions arranged for
Hubbell to receive $400,000 in sweetheart consulting deals at a time
when he was reneging on his promise to cooperate with Kenneth Starr's
I believe Paula Jones is a cheap tramp who was asking for it. I
believe Kathleen Willey is a cheap tramp who was asking for it. I
believe Monica Lewinsky is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.
I believe Lewinsky was fantasizing in her 20 hours of taped
conversation in which she reportedly detailed her sexual relationship
with the president and begged Linda Tripp to join her in lying about
the relationship. I believe that any gifts, correspondence, telephone
calls and the 37 post-employment White House visits that may have
passed between Lewinsky and the president are evidence only of a
platonic relationship; such innocent intimate friendships are quite
common between middle-aged married men and young single women, and
also between presidents of the United States and White House interns.
I see nothing suspicious in the report that the president's intimate,
Vernon Jordan, arranged a $40,000-per-year job for Lewinsky shortly
after she signed but before she filed an affidavit saying she had not
had sex with the president. Nor do I read anything into the fact that
the ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, visited
Lewinsky at the Watergate to offer her a job. I believe the
instructions Lewinsky gave Tripp informing her on how to properly
perjure herself in the Willey matter simply wrote themselves.
I believe that The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New
York Times, Newsweek, Time, U.S. News & World Report, ABC, CBS, NBC,
CNN, PBS and NPR are all part of a vast right-wing conspiracy.