Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Or just lots of favors. Slate's Mickey Kaus writes:

Even if the latest allegations about Marc Rich--that he helped broker Saddam's oil-for-food deals--prove accurate, that won't be the main reason Clinton's pardon of the fugitive financier was scandalous. Saddam could presumably always get someone to broker his lucrative schemes--if not Rich, then another high-level operater. The Marc Rich pardon was scandalous mainly because it taught a generation of young Americans that you could buy your way out of punishment. ... But buy with what? ... Here's an instance where the convenient case for public figure privacy in matters of sex--made most conveniently by Clinton himself, but also by Jeffrey Toobin,*** Andrew Sullivan, etc.--completely breaks down. It turns out to be fairly important whether Clinton was or wasn't not having sexual relations with Denise Rich, Marc's glamorous ex-wife, who lobbied for the pardon. It's hard to explain Clinton's gross error any other way. (Lord knows I've tried!) ... Someday some historian will focus on this interpersonal causal chain and win a National Book Award for his provocative thesis--as Philip Weiss memorably put it, "Follow the nookie." But if reporters had been more irresponsible in reporting on Clinton's personal life--and less cowed by the Stephanopouloses and Carvilles--actual voters would have had this highly relevant information in real time when they made their decision in 1992. ... P.S.: Do Democrats really want to elect the woman who let all this happen under her nose? Just asking! ... (full post)

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