Of all the pathetic excuses for humanity to slouch across the scene over the past couple of decades, none, perhaps, is more difficult to comprehend than the so-called “Friends of Bill”. This term refers to the loosely-structured gaggle of reprobates, toadies, groupies, and half-wits that had at least one thing in common – namely that they were unquestioning, adoring, and obsequious slaves of Bill Clinton. I have spoken about these people before, and pointed out that their primary flaw seemed to be a complete lack of what is sometimes referred to as “ego strength”. In other words, their own identity and self image were on such shaky ground that they felt compelled to subsume themselves under the all-embracing (if that is the word), all-powerful, all-knowing, and admittedly charismatic super-identity of Bill Clinton, to live vicariously through him, and to become his supporters and facilitators... to actually cease to be their sorry selves and _become_ him, in the heart of their delusional thinking. They wanted to emulate his aloofness and his immunity to harm and to troublesome human emotions... to bask in his glory... to appear at the edge of the picture... to have his signed photograph on their wall... to be the Kato Kaelin to his O.J. Simpson. In short, their personalities were vacuums waiting to be filled, preferably by an irresistible, brutal, and heartless force that would render them invincible as well. In this, they did not differ significantly from people who have, down through the ages, aligned themselves with a powerful figure – generally political or religious – primarily for the sake of feeling truly alive, and being part of something much greater than themselves (not that it would have taken much). The down side of this syndrome is: What else do they get in return? Do they win love and respect from their idol? No – only contempt. Do they win his loyalty? No, because he has none, except to himself. What they get is exploited, burned, used up, and thrown away like toilet paper. But do they care? No – that just makes things worse (or better – for them. There is a strong element of masochism in all of this.).
This topic came up again about a month ago when one of the pantheon of Clinton supergroupies, namely Susan McDougal, failed to acquire transcripts of her own grand jury testimony in the Whitewater probe. Why did she want those transcripts so desperately? Why, she's writing “a screen play or a novel about the investigation into her business relationship with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.” Thus we see that the delusional system never stops producing new fruit – a screenplay or novel about an investigation into a business relationship? I see Oscar or Pulitzer Prize material already. But to a Friend of Bill, any event in which one encountered The Great Man, in any capacity, is a fit subject for an epic – because, to them, it _is_ an epic. It is, in fact, their whole life. Please recall that Susan McDougal is the one who went to jail rather than testify in the Whitewater matter. She stood by her man! (I wonder how Hillary felt about that. And did Bill visit her in the pokey, or send her any “care” packages? Not bloody likely!) And in this she actually made out better than her actual man, namely her husband Jim McDougal (AKA “Lex Luthor”, per Rush Limbaugh), who ended his days in jail.
But just to give you an example of the typical fate of a “Friend of Bill”: “McDougal was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in the probe, which produced no charges against Bill Clinton or Hillary Rodham Clinton, now secretary of State.” Thus, as always, the slaves take the hit while the masters go free and move on to exploit other weaklings and blight other lives. It is also noted that “[McDougal] served 18 months in jail for civil contempt based on her refusal to answer grand jury questions. She then was indicted on criminal counts for refusing to talk to the grand jury in 1996 and 1998.” Why did she refuse – other than standing by her man? “McDougal said she thought she would be charged with perjury unless she falsely implicated the Clintons.” Gee, and here I thought “the paranoid style in American politics” only applied to conservatives. So she thought that by telling the truth (as she understood it) she would wind up charged with perjury. But a perjury charge can only be based on a comparison between a person's testimony and the actual truth, independently determined. Was she afraid that the grand jury would pick and choose which “truth” it preferred, then throw her in jail for testifying otherwise? But this is nothing more than a reflection of the perennial approach of the Clintons to the truth, which is that there is no such thing in reality. Bill Clinton expressed this eloquently at one point when he used the expression “which truth”. To these people, truth is not an absolute; it's strictly political, and it can change based on the whims of the electorate or the elected... on political expediency... or on one's mood upon getting up in the morning. The Clintons are not merely, as has been said, “strangers” to the truth; they don't recognize it as a meaningful concept. In this, they are in league with Pontius Pilate. Now, if they were just a couple of moral imbeciles living in a trailer park somewhere in Arkansas, or in tenured positions at some university, it would be one thing. But they are at the pinnacle of the Democratic Party, and one of them is currently secretary of state, representing America to the world (when not dodging bullets in Tuzla, that is). And, I suppose, when you're heading up the diplomatic corps, you have to be a bit “flexible” when it comes to the truth, and to principles in general; after all, in the diplomatic world, everything is relative. But our strength in dealing with other countries has traditionally been that we actually believe things – we believe that “A” is good, true, and right, and that “B” is not. This position is widely derided by the blasé cynics of Europe, of course... but it is the way we are, for good or ill. And now we have a secretary of state for whom the concept of truth is as alien as some life form on Neptune. It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. But in the meantime, we have the ongoing spectacle of the likes of Susan McDougal carrying the torch for someone who ran roughshod over nearly everyone he ever encountered in life, and destroyed many of them. In fact, there are people who have actually gathered data on this. One source is a web site entitled “The Clinton Body Count”:
Another is called “Dead Men Don't Talk”:
And I'm sure there are many more people out there keeping similar counts. These are the sorts of data that historians usually collect about people like Hitler, Stalin, or Chairman Mao – but this is an American president! And one who is still very much in power, and whose influence extends world-wide – anywhere, in fact, that there are still “Friends of Bill” waiting to be next on the list.
In the light of our current economic unpleasantness, it may seem a bit obsessive or at least quaint to be bringing up “ancient history” of this sort. But the mindset that the Clintons represent – other than the truly frightening fact that they are still in positions of power – is the same one that, arguably, led to our current woes. And my feeling is that those woes will continue unless we can, somehow, recover a few of the principles that contributed to our productivity and prosperity for so many years. And yes, I realize that the American myth of “moral superiority” is vastly exaggerated and overblown. But in moderation, it certainly beats the bleak, depressing relativism that has always come out of Europe – or the moral anarchy that characterizes most of the rest of the world. We could be an example again – but first we have to start from scratch, and eliminate people like the Clintons from positions of power and influence in our national life. Otherwise, the rest of the world will see us – and rightly so -- as “just another damned country”.