Politics & Policy

Arousing Suspicion


By now even children in African villages know that the President has testified that his sexually inappropriate behavior with Monica Lewinsky did not meet the definition in the Paula Jones deposition of what constitutes “sexual relations.” This contention hangs largely on two points. First, since he only received oral sex he was not involved in sexual relations as defined in the Paula Jones definition. Second, that he did not touch Monica Lewinsky sexually (breasts, genitalia, etc.) in order to gratify her. It is this second contention that has gotten him in a great deal of trouble. Monica Lewinsky testified that Clinton had touched her intimately numerous times. She has even testified that he used a cigar in an extremely intimate way. Aha! Say all. He touched her. He has violated the criteria of the Jones definition. Here’s the relevant question:

Q: . . . If you had a direct contact with any of these places in the body, if you had direct contact with intent to arouse or gratify, that would fall within the definition.

Q: So you didn’t do any of those three things —

A: You —

Q: — with Monica Lewinsky.

A: You are free to infer that my testimony is that I did not have sexual relations, as I understood this term to be defined.

Now, it has been widely commented upon that President Clinton is well-practiced at holding incredibly narrow, fragmented, tortured, definitions in his own mind and then employing them in such a way that he can tell “truths” which only he could recognize as the truth. Everyone is focusing on the fact that he must be lying about touching Miss Lewinsky in a sexual way. Perhaps, and I admit it’s no fun tromping through the immoral marshes of the President’s mind, so I may be lost, but perhaps the President is telling the truth. It’s not that he can’t remember touching her intimately. Perhaps he simply never cared whether his gropings “aroused or gratified her.” (If you even look at the cigar story in the Starr Report, Bill Clinton seems concerned solely with his own epicurean pleasure). As everybody from Maureen Dowd to Bill Bennett has pointed out, Bill Clinton cares only about Bill Clinton. It’s obvious that his pleasure came first in his one-way sexual relationship.

Is it all that odd to think that arousing or gratifying Monica Lewinsky was the last thing on his mind?


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