Clinton’s cover-up was the right choice

David Soler

This last summer’s arrest of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig has just disproved a long-held theory. It just demolished what many political scientists wanted us to believe since 1998: that Clinton’s impeachment was the result of his lies, instead of his sexual misdemeanors.

If Clinton would have acknowledged the affair with Ms. Lewinsky in the first place as Larry Craig had about cottaging in a public restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — Craig pleaded guilty of a disorderly conduct after being arrested on June 11— Clinton would have probably followed Nixon’s victory fingers. Oh yeah, that’s how puritanical we are.

We have been told several times that “the public was upset with Clinton because he lied to the people.” Political commentators maintained that what nearly destroyed him was his attempt at covering it up, instead of the deed itself. Dead wrong! As Craig-gate just demonstrated, the American public can handle lies but never acknowledged illicit sexual acts. The public at that time was actually upset with Mr. President because he had been unfaithful, not because he lied. Clinton was a master of Joe Schmo’s psyche. He understood that fact so well that he used his immediate denial to successfully shift the eye of the storm from sex to lies. The economy might have helped him too, but that change of course might have been critical.

Sen. Larry Craig’s case will be more hapless. He accepted the charges in the first place, hoping for History’s dust and forgiveness. But after a Capitol Hill journal raised sails and blew some printed wind on it, the publicity that followed forced him to tentatively resign his tenure after 27 years of representing Idaho in Congress. I say tentatively because now, if the latest grapevine’s rumors are true, Mr. Craig will fight the charges and try to retain his seat.

But sadly, his case has already sent a strong message that the audience didn’t pick up yet: Instead of being honest, be dishonest and lie at all costs because it will save you lots of troubles. If he would have done so, denying the accusations in the first place as Clinton did — who, me? — an investigation would have surely followed and blah blah blah . A chance to get acquitted ala Clinton could have been raised as well, and what the heck, life without risk is no fun, right? But now, everything will be tougher because he admitted his guilt. And the reason he backed up? Well, to avoid the “we appreciate your honesty . OK next please” reaction from the American public.

Huey Long of Louisiana had it right when he said, “The only way I can lose is if they find me with a dead girl or a live boy.” This time has been one on the toilet as well. No lies.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].