Is anyone really surprised that the same sorry dollop of pond scum masquerading as a man who would, in front of God and the American people, actually ask for clarification of the word "is," chose to dissemble when asked to respond yes or no to a simple material fact?
When Henry Hyde presented his list of 81 questions to President Clinton, some were encouraged that the questions required a yes or no answer. Some people were encouraged that the questions were to be answered in the form of an affidavit (under oath). Some people were either kidding themselves or engaged in mental masturbation. Clinton's responses to the 81 questions posed by the House Judiciary Committee were his chance to (as Representative Asa Hutchinson noted) "accept responsibility for any false statements. ... That opportunity was declined."
It was also a trap the president partially avoided. There were inherent consequences to whatever he did or didn't do. If he had complied with the congressional request, and responded truthfully, he would have been compelled to admit to things he still refuses to specifically acknowledge. If he lied (again) under oath, Congress would have had another perjury to add to the list. So he responded, not as instructed, but in the classic Clintonian manner.
Word games, rhetorical gymnastics, and refusal to acknowledge he even took the oath of office which network television televised (TWICE). Was his hand really on a Bible? Was it a Bible or a leather bound copy of Penthouse Forum? And what do you mean by oath? "President Clinton's letter is nothing more than a 24-page exercise in denying a clear case of perjury and obstruction of justice by using tortured legal reasoning and convenient memory lapses," said Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga.
Democrats and Republicans are alternatingly disappointed and incensed. Some Republicans (especially the moderates) are desperately seeking a reason, "even the smallest admission" that would have made it easier to negotiate an end to the impeachment mess.
Hyde's 81 questions was a brilliant finesse. However, for the finesse to work, it requires strength that neither Hyde nor Congress seem prepared to evidence. Eighty-one questions requiring simple yes/no answers, submitted in a sworn affidavit. It could and should have taken 30 minutes to comply. Instead it took three weeks of Clinton's personal attorneys and White House counsel laboring over his answers.
Some consider the evasive, rambling rhetorical rasslin' more lawyerly word games. Others might question if the president's failure to comply, as instructed, could be contempt of Congress. Clinton's refusal to answer "yes" or "no" to any of the 81 questions -- even the one asking whether he took the oath of office -- was at least an insult ... and could (if anyone could find a testosterone supplement) be contempt.
To date, unless I missed it, the president has not yet questioned the basic facts laid out in Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's report to Congress on Clinton's sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. Rather, "It appears that the word games continue and it is probably not going to be helpful in terms of streamlining the committee proceedings," said Hutchinson.
On Tuesday, Hyde's committee will hear from legal experts and convicted perjurers on the real consequences of lying under oath. Notwithstanding Maxine Waters, Barney Frank, and the other usual suspects itching and moaning, Chairman Hyde has invited the president or his lawyers to present a defense (any defense) for the indefensible on Dec. 8. The White House has not yet responded. Why should they?
Congress has routinely and consistently demonstrated it is only concerned with the latest public opinion manipulation, and doesn't give a rat's derriere about the concepts of principle, duty, honor or country. As reprehensible and contemptible as president has proven himself (and continues to prove himself) to be, the petty, venial, malfeasance of Congress ... both democrats AND republicans, is more than sufficient to gag a maggot.
Throughout this national embarrassment, that fictional "reasonable and objective" person has been struggling to understand, "Why does a smart, talented man do such stupid self destructive stuff ... so consistently and so routinely?"
Recently I received an e-mail from a listener to my radio program who said that as a grad student he was required to memorize the diagnostic criteria from the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.
301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five (or more) of the following: