Scott Tibbs
Published in Hoosier Review, 09-03-1998

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Stop bashing Ken Starr

Haven't we seen enough of this Ken Starr bashing? You would think he is the leader of a militia group trying to overthrow the United States, with all the venom directed at him from the Clinton defenders.

We've all heard the allegations. Starr has wasted $40 million on an investigation of an ancient land deal, achieved no results, has dragged on this investigation too long, and turned it into a witch hunt into President Clinton's personal life.

But Starr compares favorably to the Lawrence Walsh's Independent Counsel investigation of former President Reagan. The August 17 issue of National Review published a chart comparing Starr to Walsh. While Walsh achieved four convictions (two of which were overturned) and seven guilty pleas in the Iran-Contra investigation, Starr secured three convictions and eleven guilty pleas while investigating five different scandals, including the FBI files scandal, Whitewater, and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. While Walsh's $48 million investigation lasted seven years, Starr's $40 million investigation is four years old and not over yet.

Clinton's defenders cannot have it both ways in their attacks on Starr. They cannot claim the investigation has gone on too long while supporting every attempt by Clinton to delay the investigation with silly legal "protections" that are immediately laughed out of court. They cannot whine about the cost of the Starr investigation when it is Clinton's legal roadblocks that force Starr to spend resources to overcome them.

They cannot say that impeachment proceedings are too dangerous given the stock market's instability and dangers in foreign affairs while claiming Clinton has created a robust economy and has been the architect of peace in places like the Middle East, Bosnia, and Haiti. They also cannot claim impeachment proceedings are too dangerous now when we were able to survive an impeachment inquiry and the subsequent resignation of President Nixon in 1974. Then, we faced far worse economic times, a major war in Vietnam, and a dangerous Cold War with a nation who had enough nuclear weapons to wipe out America.

Why the attacks on Starr? Do Clinton's defenders think perjury, suborning of perjury, improper gathering of FBI files (a federal crime, by the way), and sweetheart land deals rife with corruption is not worthy of investigation? Could the real reason for the attacks on Starr be that the Democrats know they have nobody with a legitimate shot of being elected President after Clinton, so they must hold on for dear life to the only person capable of advancing their agenda?

Is Starr trying to overthrow the government? Is the Starr investigation going to overthrow the "will of the people"? What "will of the people" are Clinton's defenders talking about? The 58% and 51% of the American people who voted against Clinton in 1992 and 1996, respectively?

Clinton apologists have repeatedly claimed Starr is out of control. They accuse him of illegally leaking to the media, endangering the civil liberties of all Americans by fighting Clinton's phoney "privilege" claims, and having an obsession with Clinton and/or a personal vendetta against him. If Starr is truly out of control, Janet Reno can fire him at any time.

But Clinton does not want to get rid of Starr. In fact, Starr is Clinton's biggest asset in this investigation. The plan is clear: trash Starr as much as possible, and make him so unpopular that when he turns over evidence of a clearly impeachable offense, his reputation will be so tattered that Congressional Democrats will be able to make impeachment hearings a popularity contest between Clinton and Starr. We've seen it before with the smears against Paula Jones, Linda Tripp, and Rep. Dan Burton, to name but a few of the people on the receiving end of the White House smear machine. We're even seeing the president's defenders begin to take shots at Lewinsky, that she's an evil seductress who trapped our highly moral President in an adulterous affair.

Clinton can only make himself look good by making everybody else look bad. But events and attitudes since the President's August 17 non-apology admission of guilt show that while Clinton's defenders may not be jumping ship yet, they've at least taken note of where the lifeboats are. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt was quoted in the August 26 USA Today that impeachment hearings, while traumatic, would be survivable, and harshly criticized Clinton's indiscretions. As more lurid details of the affair come to light, and as clear evidence of crimes are revealed in the Independent Counsel's report to Congress, you can expect to see Democrats drop Clinton like a hot potato. The Unsinkable Presidency has already hit the iceberg. It's only a matter of time before it starts to sink.