Politics & Policy

Speaking With Forked Tongues; Friday Corrections Corner; Danny Boy;


“…the question of whether to call witnesses is emerging as a more urgent issue than acquittal or conviction,” reports the New York Times this morning. The reason for this is simple, for as they say in Cape Cod, “You can’t get there from here” (it sounds a lot more folksy if you say it with a thick chowder-head accent).

Just as in a bank robbery get-away, changing a flat tire can be a more urgent issue than how to split up the money, witnesses are far more important than the issue of conviction or acquittal at this point. If there are no witnesses, there will be no conviction. Of this, even the House managers are assured. If there are witnesses, conviction is by no stretch of the imagination a lock either. But without them, not-a-chance.

This fact is the only thing that explains Democratic stonewalling on witnesses. As Charles Krauthammer brilliantly points out this morning, there is no logic or principle behind the Democratic position. Charles Schumer, forever in debt to Hillary Clinton for his Senate seat, is the chief proponent of the spite-the-Republicans argument. They had their chance, and now it’s too late. Serves them right. Except for the fact that this argument is stupid, craven, and disingenuous, it is very compelling.

The Democrats say this isn’t a “real” trial despite the fact that the Constitution says it’s a trial and every textbook, history book, and probably even some cookbooks confirm that it is one too. The Democrats say it isn’t a trial in order to blunt the argument for witnesses since the sine qua non of trials are, what are they called again? Oh, yeah, “witnesses.” At the same time the Democrats are screaming that the president’s rights are being violated like a drunk hooker during fleet week. On issues from due process to evidentiary procedures the Democrats are pounding their high-chairs. But these things are the stuff of, darn now, what’s that word again? Right, right, “trials.”

The major complaint from the Senate mealy-mouth caucus at the end of the first day of the “trial” was that they “heard nothing new.” Well, Senator Lott had a response. “This is not surprising,” Lott told the Times, “because at their insistence this portion of the trial [!] is being presented only on the written record. If they wish something new, they have only to grant the House managers’ desire to call live witnesses.” Good point.

But the disingenuousness of such “impartial” Democrats as Chuck “would you like me to rub the arch or the heel, Hillary?” Schumer is staggering. In the House, Schumer himself pleaded for witnesses, saying justice could only be served by having them. Now, he’s in the Senate and because he perceives hypocrisy on the part of Republican House members, he is willing to forego what he considered to be the key ingredient for justice. Other Senators are no better. If this were Medieval Europe, the Pope would send Tom Harkin to Hell for violating his sacred oath so vociferously and so quickly. Slightly more reasonable Senators, like Chris Dodd on Larry King last night, fall all over themselves condemning the president for his behavior and his lies but then acquire statesmanlike reserve when it comes to whether high crimes and misdemeanors have been committed. Their argument is essentially: “He’s a lout and a liar, I deplore his stonewalling and the manner in which he has demeaned the presidency! But hey, I take the president completely at his word that there is nothing new to learn and witnesses would offer no truth testimony that contradicts his life-long record of lying.”

Wha, wha, What? How can you say that?

And then there’s the White House which has the cojones to say: “No witnesses, no way, no how. We need to move along with the business of the people. But if you call a single witness, we’ll tie up the Senate with motions and delays for months. We will drag this out with a scorched earth policy.” I just can’t listen to these people anymore.


The two most controversial issues were: 1) my assertion that Matt Drudge shouldn’t have reported the Danny Williams/Star/Clinton paternity story and 2) my suggestion that nobody “caught” the reference to “double secret probation” from Animal House. Talk about diversity of content.


Drudge himself wrote me to point out that the Globe tabloid — circ. 690,00 — did the story about Danny Williams in 1992 with a 5-page spread. Therefore my suggestion that Drudge broke the story was not quite right. Matt was nice about it but some of his more ardent fans were a little more colorful in their criticism. Regardless, it’s a fair criticism. My point was that the story was dead because there was no more evidence to substantiate it. At the time of the Drudge report about Danny Williams, there was still no new proof of the story. The only new development was that the Star was trying to find new proof — an effort I endorse, by the way. The fact that DNA tests are sexy stuff doesn’t change the fact that there was still no new evidence. In my opinion Drudge’s Star story could have waited. Nevertheless, I was wrong for suggesting that Drudge was breaking a new story. The allegation had been out there for a while and that does change the dynamic a bit and makes it considerably more of a judgment call.


Now as for the Double-Secret Probation thing, I said “nobody got, or pointed out” the DSP line. Asserting my privilege to wax Clintonian, that statement was accurate when I said “pointed out.” Nobody “pointed it out.” Or so I thought. One subscriber — Alan Perkins — reminded me that he in fact did point it out in an e-mail and that I even responded (sometimes, after being over-served, I answer e-mail and forget about it later. Which proves that fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life). Nevertheless, scores of you were profoundly offended by the contention that you didn’t catch Dean Wormer’s disciplinary regime. Indeed, many of you waxed Jesuitical about the usage and context of DSP, saying that the president wasn’t in fact on “secret” probation etc. Point taken, Hoover.

Other corrections were of the freelance copy-editing variety, and there were many. Yesterday I used gnarl instead of gnaw. On that I claim onomatopoeia “Gnarl” just sounds like what you do when you chew your own foot off. The day before I used crapulence when I should have used the unrelated “crap.” Though crapulence did work in a sort of crapulent sort of way. Unsolicited advice about content, tone, spelling, and grammar were offered as well.


This brings up a few points I’d like to mention. First, because we ( “we” meaning the home team of my couch, my TV, and my coffee maker) file every day, sometimes the file comes out a little raw. All of us are striving to be the best we can be in this, Bill Clinton’s America. So, if he can get your indulgence, I should too. Nevertheless, I think it is important to be honest about one’s errors and the web is a medium which allows for some two-way communication in a way TV (ah, beloved TV, you’ll never let me down) and print (good for fish wrappy-wrap, yes, but remote control no work on it. Baaad print.) don’t. So, every Friday I will try to address the important criticisms. You can help! First, if you have a correction, say so in your subject header, i.e., write “Correction” that way I will save them.

Second, please refrain from using phrases like “Yo! butt munch!” and “Stuff it, scum bucket!” if you expect me to read on. Also, to date, I haven’td received any intelligent criticism that began with an exegesis on my mother’s (fictional) sexual practices — just a heads up. These, along with death threats, hypotheses about the “Jewish connection,” and exhortations that Barbra Streisand is anything but annoying go in a “Freaks, Nuts, and Friends of Sid Blumenthal” folder that I’m saving for the FBI.

Lastly, those of you who subscribe to the G-file by e-mail rather than check it out on the web, should know that there is a remarkable delay between the web posting and the e-mail distribution. I do not know why this is, though I suspect it has something to do with the “Jewish connection.”

Anyway, please don’t bug me about it. I file this thing usually before noon. After that, I have no idea what happens to it. My best guest is my file goes down the same sort of conveyor belt that CP-30’s parts went across in Star Wars. Every day Chewbacca somehow salvages it from the grubby alien dwarfs in thick woolen robes who plow the desert looking for such things. A few hours later it’s up on the web, and hours after that it’s sent out to the subscribers, who must be as high as moon bats for clogging their hard drives with this stuff in the first place.

So you should check out the web page as many as 3,000 times a day to see if the file is up there first. While you’re there check out the many wonderful, sparkly features we have to offer. I have no ulterior motive here whatsoever.


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