Saturday, August 03, 2002

 
A Wise Voice in the Wilderness

I don't know whether John Dean lives in D.C., but he sure seems uninfected by Beltwaythink, a disease even some of my favorite libs (e.g., Al Hunt, Mark Shields, Josh Marshall) have contracted from time to time, to a greater or lesser extent. Symptoms include turning a blind eye toward the blatant ruthlessness and thuggishness of the right wing and blaming Democrats, especially Presidents Clinton and Gore, for the GOP Smear Machine's relentless, vicious, venomous attacks on Democrats.

Ever since he re-emerged into public life during the impeachment travesty, John Dean has been one of the few voices of reason on the cable TV shoutfests. I remember that when one of the Beltway Blowhards was trying to compare Watergate to Monicagate, Dean practically laughed in his face, then patiently, rationally and calmly explained that President Clinton's alleged lie about his private sexual conduct came nowhere near reaching the level of the high crimes Nixon committed.

Now, Dean has written a piece that patiently, rationally and calmly explains why President and Senator Clinton should receive reimbursement for at least part of their legal fees relating to the Whitewater "scandal." Also, Dean is somewhat realistic about the high hurdles the Clintons will have to clear to win their case, particularly the fact that everyone who will make a decision on this matter -- people such as John Ashcroft and Jesse Helms' buddy, Judge David Sentelle -- just happens to be a right-wing Republican.

However, Dean is a bit too Pollyanna-ish when he says the Clintons may get their reimbursement because their legal case is strong. Hasn't he learned by now that the rule of law is utterly irrelevant to right-wing Republicans? What matters to them is getting the Clintons on something, on anything.

Personally, if I was deciding the case, not only would the Clintons be reimbursed for all their fees relating to this phony scandal, but if the law allowed me to do so, I'd take the money not from the U.S. Treasury but from Ken McStarrthy's private bank account.

That said, there's no way in hell the Clintons will ever get reimbursed for their legal fees, no matter how strong their case is. Judge Sentelle, for example, has consistently demonstrated that he has contempt for the law when it gets in the way of getting the Clintons.

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