Throwing Elbows Over Enron
by L. Brent Bozell III
January 18, 2002
January 10 brought us the first hilarious liberal
attempt to tie George W. Bush to the moral black hole of William Jefferson
Clinton. With the opening of government investigations into the bankruptcy of
Enron, the same people who would have thrown Arkansas farm products at anyone
who would dare use the words "Bill Clinton's Watergate" are asking
that we seriously consider the question: "Is this Dubya's
Liberals all choked and coughed any time anyone would
compare Whitewater to Watergate. Their boy genius just was not capable of any
scandal that matched the political depravity of Tricky Dick. Though scandals
looked like rats following the Pied Piper of Hamelin, to most in the press
they were all lies and nefarious plots hatched by "Clinton haters"
who only wanted to "embarrass the President" and prevent him from
his rightful place in the pantheon of presidential greatness.
But liberals have no problem comparing the runaway
train of Clinton scandals to this phantom of McCain-Feingold fanatics. Simply
connect Bush's hundreds of thousands of Enron contributions to Enron's
ignominious demise, and voila, the President supports wiping out the savings
of gullible Enron employees who were told their employers were a great
Earth to the new scandalmongers: Bush and his team did
absolutely nothing wrong in accepting the contributions, and nothing wrong
thereafter. In fact, there is nothing to discuss because they did nothing at
all. Just imagine for a moment what would be the media's reaction had the
Bush administration agreed to intervene! Bush just can't win.
Implicit in all the "Bush's Whitewater"
pleading is the notion that somehow the Clintons were plagued with snarling
press watchdogs who tore apart their every move and now there must be parity.
But this is myth.
When Whitewater broke in March of 1992, everyone left
the story within weeks, and didn't return until the Clintonites creepily
combed Vince Foster's office for documents after he was found dead in Fort
Marcy Park. Their roughest Whitewater press emerged in March of 1994, and
never regained intensity.
The most bizarre episode in this tale came in May of
1996, when Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and the Clintons' Whitewater business
partners, Jim and Susan McDougal, were convicted of multiple felonies in the
failure of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, which cost the taxpayers more
than $60 million. The networks had no interest in covering the trial, then
spent the first 48 hours after the guilty verdicts chanting that this in no
way could be connected to the Clintons.
George W. Bush never sought out Enron lawyers for help
in scoring on the energy market. But Hillary Clinton used Tyson chicken's
counsel Jim Blair to reap $100,000 out of a $1,000 investment in a few weeks
of cattle futures trading. When that story hit the newspapers on March 18,
1994, ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC aired just 18 stories on their evening newscasts
in the first six weeks - fewer than Enron got during the past week alone.
When Mrs. Clinton held a press conference to put the
media to sleep on the cattle-futures beat, telling odd stories of picking
cattle winners out of the Wall Street Journal, the media could only smile and
salute the First Lady's forthrightness in supposedly setting the record
straight. Tyson executives could have given her the money outright in small
bills in a Manila envelope in a TV studio, and the media would still have
suggested that "Clinton haters" were trying to demean Arkansas and
mommies who work as lawyers by even hinting that something disagreeable had
Now those same reporters are predicting that Enron
could cloud Bush's political picture. "Firm's Saga Could Dog Bush in
Election Year," predicted the Washington Post, leaving out only the
unnecessary addendum "Or So We Hope." The double standard is
When it comes down to it, these hyperventilations
about "Bush's Whitewater" are not only unfair because Bush had done
nothing that the Clintons enjoyed doing regularly. It's unfair because the
Bushies came to office by refusing to say anything about the sleazy Clintons
except talk vaguely about "restoring honor and integrity to the White
House." They were quiet little lambs when the House managers and Kenneth
Starr could have used a few lions. It was a calculated strategy designed to
avoid media brickbats. But will they be able to keep that game up when their
own legacy is on the line? Stay tuned.
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