Monday, August 11, 2003

A Small Postscript: By way of disclosure, and to avoid the rest of the topic in general, I'm not one of those who romanticizes the impeachment debacle as a shining moment, a selfless crusade by the GOP. It was an awful affair, run by partisan hacks who, far from being, as was said at the time, sex-obsessed, were simply power hungry and saw the brass ring within reach. To put it more bluntly, Newt Gingrich himself apparently had an eye for the staff (though not to the point of getting skull while on the phone with Yasser); his replacement, Bob Livingston, got to about the "I" in "I accept the job . . . " when his own closet burst; Henry Hyde had his own dalliances forty-some years ago (when he was 50-ish?). These guys weren't puritans shocked by Clinton's embrace of 60s-style bed-hopping, to be sure -- although they definitely hoped to sell it to a self-righteous and hypocritical American public. But yes, Virginia, there was a case for perjury and obstruction, connected to sexual liberty only by an obscure law (which Clinton signed).

I won't preach a gospel of enlightenment and impartiality. Yeah, I would've been fine seeing Clinton go down in flames -- and I surely don't think it would've been a "Constitutional crisis of any sort. But I surely didn't have a horse in the race the way Gitlin did and clearly does. And this, too, is confusing, since Gitlin seems to bill himself as a progressive and an activist (whatever the hell either of those words mean anymore) -- the very group that Clinton shafted at every opportunity; whipping the hard left like a rented mule was, in fact, his preferred method of working his way toward the center. Anyway, the fact that someone like Gitlin is still willing to give puff to Clinton's first lady and to his former first flack (and how's that for a post-modern book review -- giving puff to the guy whose job was to give Clinton puff?) shows how much principle is involved in being progressive. It's obviously either just a hip pose, like a watered down radical chic, with twits like Castro filling in for Stalin and Mumia for Huey Newton, or a sado-masochistic relationship with the Democratic party. I don't particularly care which.

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