August 21, 1998 Ira Pilgrim

The President Strikes Back

An awful lot of people are predicting the president's downfall --not only predicting, but praying. We are a funny people. We elect our presidents, be they Republicans or Democrats, then go home and start daring 'em to make good.

Will Rogers (1879-1935)

I chuckle when I think of Dan Rather,Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw all scrambling for something to say and do when President Clinton's speech to the American public ended four minutes after it began. I can almost hear them now: "What do we do for the next 56 minutes(excluding commercials)." The president pulled a fast one on them and they are not likely to forgive him.

All of the experts were lined up to comment on Clinton's speech. Commentators, congressmen, retired politicians, former president's advisors, were all waiting in the wings. They had everyone except, perhaps, Miss Manners and Ann Landers. All of them were listening intently, fully expecting a good half hour speech in which Clinton spilled his guts and wept. Clinton is renowned for long speeches, so they thought that they would have plenty of time to think about what they were going to say. Instead, they all had to jump up and start scribbling on their note pads. Some may have even spilled their coffee.

They were expecting something like Nixon's checkers speech. What they got was Clinton essentially saying that he did something that he was ashamed of, that it was between him, his family and God, and it wasn't anyone else's business. Now he wanted people, especially Kenneth Starr and his crew, to get off his back. And that was it; finish! Full stop!

The three TV news anchor men are coolness personified. I got a hell of a charge out of seeing them flustered. I imagine that the control room was total pandemonium. I wish that I could have seen it. I can almost hear the expletives when I think about it.

It couldn't have happened to more deserving people. For what seems like an eternity, we have been bored to tears with all sorts of pundits speculating on what Clinton was going to confess, or if he was going to confess. The evening before the speech, twenty of the thirty minutes of the TV news was occupied with speculation about what Clinton would say. It was all total garbage. There wasn't 30 seconds of it that was worth hearing, much less seeing. And it still hasn't stopped. When the media gets on someone's back, they don't let up. We can expect lots more.

With this master stroke William Jefferson Clinton has showed the world that he is, without exception, the sharpest politician who ever lied to the public. I doubt that there has ever been a politician who hasn't lied to the public, including Clinton's namesake Thomas Jefferson. There is an old adage that the way that you know that a politician is lying is that his lips are moving. The only one who may not have lied to the public was Calvin Coolidge, and he accomplished that unusual feat by saying absolutely nothing.

Well, if Clinton can say all that he had to say in four minutes, I can say all that I have to say in three. The End.

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