Bill Clinton came on "60 Minutes" with that look of a spoiled kid who has been caught being naughty and has been punished for it — oh, so harshly. Dan Rather asked him what else he was sorry about, if anything, and he named two –his failure to pass a health care bill and his failure to reform Social Security, That gave him away entirely.
Clinton came out of Arkansas determined to wreck the New Deal , and he succeeded. He changed course during his campaign by promising universal health care and squeaked through. Then he and Hillary made a mockery of it. The Democrats lost Congress – no sweat, Clinton, in cahoots with Gingrich – put a lid on social spending and repealed that pillar of Social Security called Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Then he flirted with the idea of privatizing Social Security. His slogan "Save Social Security First" carried on the old hoax that Social Security was broke and needed, as he put it, reform.
Lies told often enough and loud enough tend to be believed. As with Saddam Hussein and 9/11. Dan Rather gave a small example last night, when he recalled how Saddam had kicked the UN inspectors out of Iraq. Clinton agreed and moved on.
But in fact it was Clinton who told the inspectors to get out, because he was about to begin bombing. He and Rather knew that – they were there. They also know now for sure that Saddam had ditched his weapons of mass destruction long before.
I’ve not mentioned that woman that Clinton did not have sex with. For me, the mystery is why so many people got so worked up just because he nearly got fired for it.
JOHN L. HESS is a former writer for the New York Times, a career he chronicles in his excellent new book My Times: a Memoir of Dissent. Hess is now a political commentator for WBAI.