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Tucson Weekly Grope Springs Eternal

Bill Clinton's many boners.

By Jeff Smith

MARCH 30, 1998:  Before you know it we'll be eating snails and laughing at Jerry Lewis movies. Americans are getting so--how you say?--sophisticated that we seem almost to admire a president with a way with ze girls.

Almost.

Though the Clinton zipper watch is being updated almost on an hourly basis, making commentary on recent disclosures a dicey business from the standpoint of deadlines, I fear The Man From Hope (Hope I get lucky) is about to push his legendary luck--and the nation's tolerance--off a cliff.

It's one thing to be led into temptation, but quite another to go charging into that honey trap time after time.

It's one thing to dally with, well, one thing. Quite another to act the heat-seeking warhead, attacking targets of opportunity whenever and wherever you find them.

It's one thing to indulge your passions with partners of like mind and willing body, something else entirely to force unwanted attention on someone. Or for that matter, to take advantage of your power, position or fame to make accomplices of those who otherwise would show better sense. And taste.

It's one thing to be a womanizer and another to be a sexual predator. It was one thing to be a candid candidate and contrite confessor, standing by the woman who stands by her man, when Bill and Hillary told the nationwide television audience that he had slipped once with Gennifer Flowers, that their marriage had come through the fire tempered and strong, and that they had put it all behind them and were ready to run the country. Clearly it's something else when the presidential denials become so frequent that there isn't even time to call Hillary, get cozy together on the couch, and reassure America that Bill hasn't slept with, been drowsy with, extremely awake with, Biblical with or casually familiar with...this woman, that woman...you want them alphabetically, numerically, chronologically, what?

...Of course the White House, the First Lady, my 48 lawyers and I are doing everything we can to assist in this investigation.

Have you considered masturbation?

Sure, Ken Starr is out to get Bill Clinton. Does Bill have to make it so easy for him?

Sure, Bill Clinton is cloaked in the presumption of innocence, but the sheer volume of evidence and accusation lends increasing weight to the suspicion of some degree of guilt.

Sure, the Prez has been accused by some pretty trashy-appearing women, with some dubious motives, but that doesn't make them liars; and now he's up against an apparently tasteful, middle-aged, politically sympathetic lady with more to lose than gain from the charges she has leveled at Mr. Bill.

And now it's looking alarmingly like he's not this cuddly ol' teddy bear who's a fool for love, but a cold-blooded hot-blood who abuses his power to feed his weakness.

And you know what really gives me the red-ass about Bill Clinton and all this Geraldo Rivera horseshit?

He hasn't been much of a president from a personal liberty standpoint. Except of course the liberties he has taken with women, and those of a decidedly personal nature.

What's he done for the First Amendment? How about "Don't ask, don't tell." So much for his courageous stance on gays in the military.

As for the Second Amendment, forget it. Clinton is such a toady of the Sarah Brady, "let's-all-live-in-gated-communities," anti-gun lobby, that he views the people's right to keep and bear arms and to defend themselves as anachronistic.

Clinton has pushed through legislation to weaken the right of habeas corpus. He has proposed anti-terrorism and airport security measures that deprive citizens and resident aliens of freedom, based upon appearance, political profile and ethnicity.

He has presided over the unraveling of the safety net for poor mothers and fatherless children, without offering humane or workable alternatives. He has been a disappointment in his promise to be a guardian of the environment. He has shown himself willing to go to war, unilaterally, when it appears the only practical goals to be achieved by that war would be for his own political benefit.

Yet through all this, and through the episodes of his sexual soap opera, Clinton's approval ratings have risen and stayed there. Why?

Because the stock market's up and unemployment stats are down. Sure, Clinton boasts of NAFTA, an anti-labor program that sends mid-level jobs abroad and off-shore, but we've got more burger-flipping, french-frying jobs than ever before. The economy is top-heavy and price-earnings ratios for blue-chip stocks are way out of whack, but right now anybody complaining is regarded as a Chicken Little or a Cassandra.

Until Kathleen Willey told Ed Bradley about Bill Clinton playing touchy-feely with her in the White House, my major gripe with the man was related to his job skills. He's been a disappointment to me as a liberal, a Democrat, a baby boomer, a Bill of Rights voluptuary, a libertarian...

...and now, as a libertine.


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