Bill & Hillary & Monica & Paula:
An Impeachment Theory

Everybody else has weighed in with their takes on the Bill & Monica musical, so here's mine, in the form of a little myth-breaking. Its only claim of merit is that, unlike many interpretations, this one fits all the known facts.

Myth 1: Bill Dissed Hillary

Hillary may be a winner on the legal circuit but has always been a loser in bed. Back when Bill was running for governor of Arkansas, the two of them reached a simple accommodation: outside nooky was okay, so long as he didn't embarrass his wife publicly. This way, she could ride the coattails of a presidential contender without the acute discomfort of actually having to have regular sex with the guy. Or with anybody, for that matter.

The long-term goal was clear: make Hillary the first female president of the United States. If Bill was able to get elected and stay high in the polls throughout his term, and if Hillary could get herself out in front of the public in a positive light, she could run for president and probably win. Even those citizens who might balk at the idea of a woman president would be comforted knowing that she would always have the counsel of a recent ex-president if things got too much for her. Looked at another way, Bill would essentially loophole his way around the constitutional limit on presidential terms and become the most powerful Democrat in history. Imagine a popular ex-presidential husband of the current president campaigning on behalf of party Congressional candidates; Democrats would own the House and the Senate free and clear.

Bill's long-term affair with Jennifer Flowers was not cheating — it was part of the deal.

Myth 2: Bill Succumbed to his Addiction and Seduced Monica

After the '92 election, Bill and Hillary had a problem: how could he keep getting nooky from Jennifer Flowers when he was the most closely watched man on the planet? No way he could go out on a date. The answer came when Monica flashed her thonged bottom at him: by dipping his pen in White House ink, he could keep it all in-house.

Myth 3: Monica was a Victim

This one has been propagated by Republicans so bent on destroying Clinton that they forgot another part of their conservative creed, one which I happen to agree with: people should take responsibility for their own actions. Monica was over 21 and bright enough to have been chosen as a White House intern, so what makes us think she was a poor innocent lamb exploited by the big bad wolf and ought to be absolved of the kind of responsibility that is a cornerstone of conservative philosophy? She told Barbara Walters that she entered into bad relationships because of "low self-esteem," a phrase undoubtedly drilled into her by some $20-an-hour counselor of the nothing-is-your-fault school of psychotherapy. Even so, what was Bill to do…administer a psych evaluation in order to determine that she wasn't competent to polish his knob?

Myth 4: It Was Just Nooky

No, he was in love with her. They bought each other cute gifts, they spent hours on the phone, they played sex games Hillary wouldn't recognize if they bit her on the...never mind. He didn't wear that tie as a warning for her to stiff the grand jury: how would that be possible, since he wore it on the same day as her testimony, and there was no way she'd even know about it until she was finished testifying?

He wore it to show his support for her. He was crazy about her. If she thought he might actually leave Hillary when his term was concluded, maybe she had good reason to.

Myth 5: There Was No Intercourse Because That Would Have Been "Sex"

There was no intercourse because Bill didn't want to risk getting her pregnant, which would have ruined everything.

Myth 6: Bill Lied to Save his Political Butt

When Bill testified in the Paula case that he'd not had an affair with Monica, he wasn't doing it to save his political career: he was doing it to keep his promise to Hillary not to embarrass her in public. To tell the truth would have been selfish, cowardly and promise-breaking.

Myth 7: Bill Dissed His Aides By Lying To Them

Not really. He was keeping his promise to Hillary. She knew every one of the key people around her husband. For them to know the truth about his girlfriend would have been intolerable for her. How could she walk amongst those people knowing that every one of them knew her husband was doing the nasty with Monica? She didn't mind the nooky, but she would have minded open knowledge of it.

Myth 7: Paula was Denied Justice

Paula wasn't entitled to any "justice." There are two possibilities here:

1) Her claim that her career suffered was demonstrably false, as evidence by her employment records.

2) If Bill knew that her claims were false, then he knew that his lying was immaterial because she wasn't entitled to anything in the first place. Why should he break his promise to Hillary when 'fessing up about Monica was completely irrelevant to the Paula case anyway, regardless of whether it was true or not?

Not incidentally, Paula's primary suffering came about as the result of her pursuit of a ridiculous and groundless lawsuit, not to mention the public display of a dubious attempt to alter her appearance while the entire population looked on. Her personal version of the Truman Show backfired badly, and all she had to do to prevent it in the first place was stay quiet. Bill is not responsible for the kind of ongoing humiliation that occurred when she said that all she wanted was a public apology but settled for a million dollars.

If Bill really did drop trou' in that hotel room, she should have filed a criminal complaint that night if she was so horribly offended, not a civil suit years later. But it would have strained credibility for anyone to have believed that mere sight of the gubernatorial schvanz would cause a psychic tizzy in a woman who would traipse her made-over face and squeaky, grammatically challenged voice all over the talk show circuit.

Myth 7: The Congressional Impeachment Votes Were Partisan

Well, they were, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Everybody seems to think that all the Republicans voted against Bill because they want to get rid of a Democratic president, and that all the Democrats voted with him to protect a Democratic president. (My use of the word "all" is justified, since 99% is a pretty good approximation).

But what really happened is a rare moment in which very critical differences between the two increasingly indistinguishable parties came into glaring light. The fact is that Republicans, standing on their traditional ground of family values, moral righteousness and honesty as the best policy, truly believed that Bill's actions constitute impeachable offenses.

The Democrats, on the other hand, from the basis of their traditional laissez faire cultural persuasions, think maybe Bill is a little bit of a rascal but that's hardly reason to throw the guy out.

So everybody really did vote their conscience, and now we understand a bit better what separates the two parties: each has its own unique brand of pretentious bullshit.


from: A Practical Guide for Everyday Living, by Lee Gruenfeld
* © Copyright 1997, 1998 by Steeplechase Run, Inc. - All Rights Reserved

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