Mementos You Won’t Find in Clinton’s Library

Bill never fails us. “Am I the only person in America”, the great triangulator proclaimed yesterday at his Library’s opening ceremony, “who likes both John Kerry and George Bush?” Having fired that one off, he addressed the criticism of carping architects that in silhouette his Library resembles a mobile home in a trailer park. “That’s all right with me”, Bill genially remarked. “I’m a little bit red and a little bit blue.”

Bill. Just to look at him makes one ask, What happened to the Nineties, when we were happy? And what fun times we had years ago excavating stuff for CounterPunch about the Boy Governor’s early days, dilly-dallying along life’s fragrant path. Join us on a little trip down memory lane, then make a contribution to our annual appeal.

Back in 1979 our friend Tim Hermach, now fearless leader of the Native Forest Council and breathing the righteous air of Eugene, Oregon, was a businessman seeking commercial advantage. In 1979 this search took him to Little Rock, Arkansas, where his associate Tookie McDaniel said the swiftest way of getting a certificate of origin necessary for a rebar deal was by conferring personally with the new governor of the state.

In short order a dinner was arranged with young Governor Bill at the Little Rock Hilton. Tim recalls that they were scarcely seated before Bill was greeting a pretty young waitress in friendly fashion, putting his hand up her dress while announcing genially to the assembled company, “This woman has the sweetest cunt in Little Rock.”

Tim, an Oregon boy by origin, tells us he listened with burning ears and mouth agape as Bill talked of womanhood in terms of astounding crudity. Badinage notwithstanding, some business was transacted. Hermach tells us that Governor Bill “very openly, nothing shy about it, said words to the effect that our end use certificate would cost about $10,000”, said transaction being of a personal, informal nature. “Since ours was a $2 million deal, we didn’t care,” Tim recalls.

Governor Bill also informed Hermach that they should go to the Stephens Bank the following day to complete all necessary arrangements.

These tractations concluded, Governor Bill repaired to the Hilton’s nightclub with boon companions, where they cavorted lewdly with sundry flowers of Little Rock before repairing to bedrooms in the upper regions of the hotel.
Bill the Landlord

Before his election as state attorney general in 1976 Bill and Hillary had lived in Fayetteville, instructing youth at the University of Arkansas. To celebrate his marriage Bill had bought a small house, much disliked by his bride and great was her relief when the voters’ nod compelled their removal to Little Rock.

Now the small house on California Boulevard had to be rented to supplement the modest income of Arkansas’ chief legal officer.

We have an account of Bill as landlord from a woman who, back in those years, was the best friend of one of the first tenants to pay the monthly check to the state attorney general in person.

In his self-appointed role as property manager Bill Clinton personally set the qualifications required to rent the property. Chief among them was the requirement to be young, attractive and blonde. Landlord Bill would show up regularly at 9 am Saturday mornings, the day of any home Razorback football game. He would invite one of the young renters to attend game with him, and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening together, exploring matters of mutual interest.

Bill developed a particularly keen interest in our source’s friend, who happened to be from Dallas, of striking appearance and a cheerleader for the Razorbacks. Bill’s Saturday morning arrivals at the house on California Boulevard were not welcome to the cheerleader. Nor were what she described as his incessant “gropings”. Despite her reproofs Bill persisted, with such obstinate pertinacity that eventually she transferred to Texas A&M and men of greater subtlety and refinement such as College Station is deservedly famous for.

Party Time

Now we’re in 1983 and Bill is back in the governor’s mansion in Little Rock, following the awful interregnum, after the voters had banished him from office at the end of his first term. The bearer of our story here is the son of an Arkansas Democrat state legislator who passed his formative years in the Dog Patch state, and at the period we are now discussing, in the town of Fayetteville, where he was an officer in the university’s student government.

In this capacity he helped plan a conference of student government officers throughout the state college and university system. Among the invitees were many of the big names in Arkansas’ political life, including Governor Bill and also Jim Guy Tucker (whose political career came to an abrupt halt in the mid-1990s, courtesy of special prosecutor K. Starr).

What’s a student conference without a party? Our friend tells us he had taken particular care to invite Governor Bill since he was notorious throughout Fayetteville for being a devotee of marijuana and our friend was eager to get stoned in such illustrious company. Both Clinton and Tucker signaled that they would gladly attend the gathering.

The conference opened with a formal speech by Governor Bill, and our friend noted that the attention of Arkansas’ chief executive wandered somewhat during his oration, his eyes seeming to drift with increasing frequency to a nice-looking young woman sitting in the front row. Our friend left to make preparations for the party, which indeed turned out to be a most genial occasion. Joints were fired up, Jim Guy Tucker gracefully declined the offered of Ozark homegrown and responded to enquiries about Governor Bill’s whereabouts with the news that Bill would assuredly not pass up revelry such as this. But the hours flew by and Bill didn’t show.

Then our friend encountered a young woman from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock who asked if she could get a ride home to the hotel, confiding, “I don’t know how to say this, but my room-mate’s not here. I think she’s with the governor.” Our chivalrous friend drove her to the hotel and then, next morning, met her at a conference panel and asked how things had gone. She said her friend had not shown that night. An hour later who should show up but the attractive young thing our friend had seen the previous day drinking in the governor’s honeyed words in the front row. She was wearing the same clothes. Her roommate greeted her with welcoming cries and in the girlish glow of confidence that followed, she boasted of prolonged and intimate tractations with the governor.

M?nage a Trois

It may have been during the Fayetteville years that rumors began about the preferences of HRC, alluded to so coarsely by Dickie Morris in his notorious KABC radio interview, where he expressed himself in the following manner, in rhythms no doubt honed by his own recent sessions in therapy:

Dick Morris-Let’s…let’s…none of what I’m about to say is necessarily a fact. I don’t really know, but let’s assume, OK, that his sexual relationship with Hillary is not all it’s supposed to be. Let’s assume that some of the allegations that Hillary sometimes-not necessarily being into regular sex with men might be true. Let’s assume that this is a guy who’s been sexually active for a long time, and then got it that as President he’d have to not-have to shut himself down. You would then expect a variety of things which would be quasi sexual in nature, but which would fall short of it. Uh, and, uh, phone sex might be one of them, fantasies might be one of them, a close emotional relationship with a young person might be one of them. Those all could be real things without actually committing adultery and that includes oral-

Peter: Well, that’s a rational…that’s…

Dick: I could see that.

Peter: You just said a mouthful, uh, excuse the expression.

Where did all this talk start? Around Fayetteville, certainly, there were stories in the mid-to-late 1970s that Bill and Hillary were inseparable companions with a female political science professor at the University of Arkansas.

Coke and Catherine

Now we’re back in 1984 again and Bill is doing something entirely unique in his whole twelve years as governor of Arkansas. The state of New York has indicted and is seeking to extradite a 19-year old Little Rock resident named Catherine Nicole Cowan, who had been charged with trying to smuggle $30,000-worth of cocaine through JFK airport. The NYPD charged that Cowan was a leader of a cocaine ring operating at Choate Rosemary Hall, an elite prep school in Connecticut.

Clinton, for the first and only time, refused an extradition request. He said it would be “inhumane” to send Cowan back to face New York’s drug laws, which he considered “too harsh”. (This from the man who pulled the switch on Ricky Ray Rector to boost his standing in the 1992 presidential campaign and casually dined with actress Mary Steenburgen the night of the first execution in Arkansas after the Supreme Court legalized the death penalty.) Those probing New York’s laws found that the maximum penalty for Cowan’s offense was fifteen years. In Arkansas she could have have pulled anywhere from ten to forty.

Catherine Cowan’s attorney in Arkansas was William R. Wilson, an old friend and leading campaign contributor to Clinton. In the crisis hours when Bill’s brother Roger had been busted on cocaine charges (with Bill’s foreknowledge), the governor retained Wilson to represent his brother. Inevitably, it was noised abroad through Little Rock that Governor Bill and young Catherine had enjoyed some fruitful exchanges.

Like we said, what happened to the Nineties, when we were happy?


Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined!, A Colossal Wreck and An Orgy of Thieves: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents are available from CounterPunch.