Politics & Policy

The Logical Contortions of Richard Cohen; McCurry Blows Lid On Security Risk; Do as I Say, Not as I Do


The U.S. Patent Office receives about a hundred submissions per year from people who claim to have invented perpetual motion machines. The British Patent Office refuses any submission that involves perpetual motion, because it believes such notions are in flat contradiction of the laws of physics. In the U.S. we are more practical. If you want to patent your perpetual motion machine you simply need to bring in a working model (blueprints will suffice for any other device).

I have an idea for how I can get the most coveted prize in all science. Now, all I have to do is throw a net over Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen and drag his ass out to the Patent and Trademark Office in Arlington, Virginia. Cohen’s columns are the product of a constant — albeit random — series of pendular swings from rigorous serious thinking to, well, unserious, unrigorous thinking.

Today’s column is one of the great examples of man-bites-dog sophistry. Mr. Cohen identifies Bill Clinton as the tripwire of our civil liberties. “If this could happen to the President of the United States, the generalissimo of the entire armed forces and leader of what used to be called the free world, then it could happen to us in a snap.”

I see. “First they came for the President, then they came for my…Postman”?

I would flip over Cohen’s argument like an egg timer. If the President of the United States, the chief guardian of the Constitution, both symbol and enforcer of our laws, the moral authority of our secular national government, can violate sexual harassment laws and credos he has largely implemented, lie under oath — repeatedly — with impunity, marshal the instruments of government at his disposal to conceal his perjuries and his “private” acts, and attack his accusers for pointing all this out, then anyone can and should get away with it — “in a snap.”

Dan Rostenkowski got sent to the slammer for stealing some stamps — and lying about it. Bill Clinton invoked Executive Privilege, froze in place the government, the media, the national conversation for eight months. You can’t have it both ways. If it’s purely private behavior the President doesn’t get to invoke some privileges and create others that the rest of “us” don’t have.

Mr. Cohen singles out Ken Starr — and those who think Starr is following where the law and good conscience dictate — for opprobrium, because he is shameless. I’m not kidding.

The Stockholm syndrome has truly set in. Bill Clinton is the defenseless victim and Ken Starr who has been more mistreated than any public official in recent memory, is somehow the “shameless” villain.



Former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry told a University of Pittsburgh audience yesterday that the President was “exasperatingly stupid” in his private life.


The New York Times (barely) reports today that Commander Thomas Rossi, the captain of the Navy Destroyer John Hancock was relieved of command after a female sailor accused him making a sexual advance. “The charges,” reports the Times, “if proved, could lead to severe punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including a court martial.”

Just a reminder: Bill Clinton’s lawyers tried to argue that the President was immune to the Paula Jones lawsuit because he was on “active duty” as Commander-in-Chief.

Damn that shameless Ken Starr.


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