Clinton’s legacy not all economy, but pardons and affairs

By Tyler Vincent

And you thought he would go away when his term was up?

Former President Bill Clinton found a way to stay in the public spotlight after stepping out of office in the form of presidential pardons that he gave to more than 170 criminals, including billionaire Marc Rich. Rich fled the country in the ‘80s as a result of being indicted for 51 counts of tax fraud (and his ex-wife Denise was a large contributor to Clinton’s presidential library). Other pardons included cocaine trafficker Carlos Vignali, whose father was a Democratic contributor and whose lawyers helped pay attorney Hugh Rodham, Hillary’s brother, $200,000 for his services.

The backlash is overwhelmingly negative. Clinton’s approval ratings have fallen by 15 percent since this latest scandal erupted.

Even Hollywood’s entertainment industry, whose power base normally has been loyal to Clinton, shows signs of seething anger.

During last weeks’ Grammy’s, musician Robbie Robertson, while presenting the first award for best Native American album commented, “We couldn’t get Leonard Peltier (a Native American, whom many believe was falsely accused of murdering FBI agents in 1975) out. Guess he wasn’t Marc Rich enough.”

The pardons serve as the icing on the cake for the Clinton administration. An administration that was investigated seven years out of its eight-year life span, whose leader decided to have an affair with a 21-year-old intern at the height of his defense against Paula Jones, despite knowing Republicans wanted him out of office.

Whatever the history books say about his intellect or his resuscitation of the economy, Clinton is a disappointment on a grandiose scale. Not a disappointment to the “honor and dignity of the White House” and other vague intangible statements Dubya and his lackeys on the right are always talking about but a disappointment to the Democratic Party. The Democrats lost Congress under his watch, and are so rudder-less they jump through whatever hoops their Republican counterparts place in front of them. He disappointed the people and organizations who defended him against whatever scandal the right wing was going after on a given week.

You remember the Clinton defenders, don’t you? The people with the now seemingly thankless job of parading around TV in front of hired killers like Chris Matthews and Bill O’Reilly, having to bend, twist and shape their talking points to meet whatever story came from the White House on a given day, whether it contradicted previous statements or not.

One of them was his hapless former vice president Al Gore. Gore’s statement that Clinton was among our greatest presidents was a favorite clip among Republican Political Action Committees in their election commercials last year.

Gore, and those like him, were the ones that stuck their neck out for him, whether it was Whitewater, Travelgate, Wacogate or Monica Lewinsky.

And what was their reward? Not a president who saw their constant defense of his actions as a sign to get his act together. No, he rewarded them with his most flagrant offense, giving pardons, and the only thing that those who haven’t left his side are left to say is “it’s time to move on.”

It’s time to move on. What a hollow statement. No more claims of a vast right-wing conspiracy. No claims of a witch hunt. The Clinton defenders want him to go away as bad as the public does.

But alas, the investigations will continue. And even though he cannot be impeached, this latest incident proves two things. One, that Clinton is as self-centered and morally corrupt as the right wing claimed, and two, that his ego is larger than Hugh Rodham’s belly.

Truly he was a wicked man.