("Quid coniuratio est?")
The Pretty Prospect for November 1996
By Wesley Pruden
(From The Washington Times, National Weekly Edition, 5/22-28/95)
The president should try to look at the positive side of this: He's got enough people two steps ahead of the special prosecutor to start a support group within the Cabinet.
Whitewater's back, with a vengeance, arriving on a day the Republicans, gathering speed on the Hill, pushed the first balanced budget in years through the House of Representatives. At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue everyone was just trying to find a lawyer.
Not just Whitewater, but Browngate, Chicken water, and Girlgate. (There's a Republican version of Girlgate in the Senate, but that doesn't help Mr. Clinton.) The president insists that he won't ask Ron Brown to resign just because a special prosecutor is on his case. How could he? There's one on his case too.
Hillary, busy with her wifely project of re-inventing her man in preparation for '96, new shoelaces, new jogging shorts and all, is said to be "turning inward" to the roots of her suburban Illinois liberalism to fashion a winning re-election strategy, collecting kids to use as props to demonstrate how the president loves children more than Mother Teresa loves children.
The water continues to rise. Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, a member of the Senate banking committee, echoes what a lot of knowledgeable Arkansas people, humiliated and angry, have been saying for months: "The deeper we look, the worse it gets."
The Democrats in the Senate, who had no appetite for a genuine inquiry a year ago, voted almost unanimously with the Republicans this time because they, too, understand exactly what Sen. Bond is talking about, and are terrified of getting caught defending the indefensible.
Wombats, wampus cats and geezilbillies of all kinds, each uglier than the others, will be crawling over hill and hollow and out of the swamps and bayous over the months leading up to the '96 elections, as the Whitewater panel counts the ways the officers and gentlemen (and some of the ladies) at the White House and in the Treasury department assisted, expedited, facilitated, attended, sustained and otherwise folded, spindled and mutilated the efforts of the regulators trying to investigate the failure of the most accomodating savings and loan between Memphis and Texarkana.
And not just the money. The Senate panel will try to learn how Vincent Foster could blow off the top of his head and then lay himself out neatly, with a minimum of disruption of either himself or the pastoral tranquility of Fort Marcy Park, as if trying to save the undertaker the trouble.
Arkansas boys are taught to mind their manners and to be considerate of others at all times, but this was, even by the standards of the Clinton White House, excessive.
"Whitewater is a very serious matter," says Sen. Alfonse D'Amato of New York, who is chairman of the committee. "Some questions raised by Whitewater go to the very heart of our democratic system of government. We must ascertain whether purely private interests have been placed above the public trust... The American people have a right and a need to know the answers to these questions."
Senate hearings on the order of the Watergate example are just what the Clintons hoped against reasonable hope to avoid. These are hearings that became inevitable with the final returns of the congressional elections of November '94, and the pressure on the dynamic duo to consider new lines of employment will become considerable as the consequence of running on a ticket with the Clintons sinks in on hundreds of Democratic congressmen, governors, land commissioners, sheriffs, county assessors, auditors and even collectors of deeds, from sea to shining sea. Not a pretty prospect.
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Coming to you from Illinois -- "The Land of Skolnick"