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Gop Going Soft/; Msnbc’s Goofy Get-Out-The-Vote Drive; Gay Wrongs


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Jonah Goldberg

GOP GOING SOFT?
The Washington Times reported Thursday that Henry Hyde and the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee are considering not calling Monica Lewinsky to testify. The Democrats want her to appear. This may simply be a political gambit by Hyde to trick the Dems into calling Lewinsky, so that the Republicans don’t have to take the heat. Or, it may be that the Republicans are going soft, as many fear. Regardless, the idea that Monica Lewinsky should not testify is nuts. My confidence in Ken Starr notwithstanding, there are serious questions about Miss Lewinsky’s testimony before the Grand Jury. The Associated Press reports today that Vernon Jordan questions key elements of Monica’s testimony. Linda Tripp does not believe that Monica Lewinsky lied to her about obstruction of justice and subornation of perjury, as Miss Lewinsky contends in her Grand Jury testimony.

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The President’s defense against the charge of perjury hangs on the thinnest of split hairs. Therefore even tiny changes in Lewinsky’s testimony would have dramatic benefits for Clinton’s defense. And yet, this man who has not resisted attacking anyone — living or dead — if it would come in handy, has not attacked a single bit of Lewinsky’s testimony. Why? Perhaps because her testimony is still helpful to Clinton. This suspicion will only grow over the course of history. Congress has a duty to its own legacy to set the record straight.

MSNBC’S GOOFY-GET-OUT-THE-VOTE DRIVE
Has anyone else noticed that Soledad O’Brien is running get-out-the-vote commercials about the environment? Vote, she says, because there’s only so much time left to save the earth. Umm. Doesn’t this strike any of the suits over at NBC as wildly inappropriate? The ads are clearly aimed at “young viewers,” as is Soledad O’Brien herself, presumably. The “voting saves the environment” pablum is the same stuff kids get in schools and on MTV. The implication, of course, is that environmental concern should be translated into political activism and that activism is best expressed through voting. This is a staple argument of the Democratic Party. The underlying assumption is that societal problems are properly solved by government action. Whether or not it’s accurate (it largely isn’t), it seems to me not the place of news anchors to give little feel-good, agenda-ridden editorials.

GAY WRONGS
I was forced to listen to a ridiculous argument about hate crimes and gay rights on Diane Riehm’s NPR show today (I was stuck in a cab with a radio). When people say that America is spending too much time on the Clinton scandal to the detriment of serious issues, I often get a pang of guilt. Then I see what these people mean by “serious issues” and I feel greatly relieved. Frank Rich in yesterday’s NY Times and Richard Cohen in today’s Washington Post both (in Cohen’s words):

“…figuratively place the young man’s body at the doorstep of Trent Lott, Dick Armey, and countless other conservatives who maintain, somehow, that what President Clinton does in the privacy of the Oval Office has a baleful effect on the national morals but their own public statements about homosexuality evanesce into the Washington night leaving…no effect at all. They are wrong.”

This is such a stolen base intellectually they should both be called out of the game. The Left has defined anything critical of (for want of a better phrase) “the gay-rights agenda” or “gay culture” as homophobia. Homophobia leads to hatred, the argument goes, and hatred to violence. What a coup! There are things about African-American culture I do not love. I am not afraid of, nor do I hate, African Americans. And I am fundamentally opposed to any form of racially motivated violence against black people — for any reason. There are things about Japanese culture I think are downright terrible (brutal mysogyny being one), but I don’t hate the people. There are things about the Chinese I think all Americans should deplore. Does this make me a “Sinophobe”?

The exaggerated definition of homophobia is a brilliant and cynical ploy to close off any reasonable debate. I am against gay marriage. I am troubled by gay adoption. If I say so, does this mean that I am encouraging morons to kill gay people? Just a few years ago, black civil rights leaders adamantly opposed white people adopting black children on the grounds that it was “cultural genocide.” Did the phone lines light up with people charging “Caucaso-phobia” — even though this view was reflected in national law? While I think homophobia is a smear word, I am beginning to think that homophilia makes a lot of sense when describing how the Left views gays. For the Left, when was the last time anything was wrong with anything gays do?

Civil libertarians insist that thousands and thousands of hours of sex and violence on television have no effect on people. But many of these same people claim that a few minutes of religious ads about “curing” gay people results in murder. I don’t get it (though I don’t like the ads either).

As for the charge of hypocrisy against Conservatives who bemoan Bill Clinton’s actions for their coarsening effect on the American culture, I haven’t heard a single Conservative say this scandal is primarily about adultery. I haven’t heard a single Conservative say that Bill Clinton is encouraging old fat men to have sex with their Beverly Hills interns. They say that Bill Clinton is establishing the precedent that perjury, obstruction of justice, and defiling the Constitution are okay so long as it covers up “private” behavior — and you can get away with it.



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