AP, reporting on the contents of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new book, says that she did not believe her husband had had an affair with Monica Lewinsky until the day before his grand-jury testimony. It is not exactly a surprise that Sen. Clinton is sticking to this line in her book. But I don’t believe it for a minute.
Maybe it’s partisanship, and maybe it’s Clinton-hating paranoia — but I doubt it. The Washington Post account
about the book helpfully repeats Mrs. Clinton’s words to Matt Lauer a few days after the Lewinsky story broke. If the story about the president having an affair and lying about it were “proven true,” she said, it “would be a very serious offense.” She added, “That is not going to be proven true.” Twice, she used the construction “proven true.” Are those really the words that you would pick if you were convinced of your husband’s innocence?
The Lauer interview is famous because it was the one where Mrs. Clinton blamed the scandal on a “vast, right-wing conspiracy.” In recent weeks, there have been a few references to those words as a gaffe on her part. But there was no mistake involved. The invocation of an anti-Clinton conspiracy rallied Democrats behind Clinton, and changed the direction of the media. Even now, there are still liberal journalists willing to argue that the Lewinsky scandal was a VRWC concoction. Mrs. Clinton was less her husband’s victim than his accomplice. Her spin was successful in 1998. It appears to be successful again today.