EDITORIAL

From The Editor

February 2 1998
EDITORIAL

From The Editor

February 2 1998

From The Editor

EDITORIAL

A battle for the truth

Dr. Susan Blumenthal, the U.S. assistant surgeon general, was in Toronto last week to address the Women’s Health Matters Forum, but the D.C. psychiatrist could not escape the controversy surrounding her commander-in-chief. In private conversation, she downplayed reports of presidential impropriety, noting that Bill Clinton is an outgoing personality and a “flirt” whose actions often have been misinterpreted. But Gennifer Flowers told a different story. The former nightclub singer who claims she had a 12-year affair with Clinton said last week that he was a reckless lover—at one time urging her to have sex with him at the governor’s mansion in Arkansas while his wife, Hillary, was only a few feet away, out on the lawn. “I said ‘No,’ but he would have done that,” Flowers told CNN talkjock Larry King Give). “He was thinking with another head, other than this one,” she added, gesturing at her blond locks.

Whom to believe, the president’s supporters (FoB, as in Friends of Bill), or his legion of detractors? Inevitably, and at an accelerating pace starting this week, the answers will start to come as U.S. investigator Kenneth W. Starr begins to squeeze potential immunity-seekers.

At the centre of the storm is 24-year-old Monica Lewinsky, who worked at the White House as an intern and then as a paid staffer after college.

For someone who once denied having an affair with the President— and appears not to possess any extraordinary qualifications—Lewinsky acquired a striking series of contacts.

She left the White House in 1996—her supervisors thought she was getting infatuated with Clinton—for a sensitive job at the

Pentagon and frequently returned to the White House where she was waved in by the President’s secretary. And after she was subpoenaed to appear as a witness in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, one of the President’s most trusted confidants, attorney Vernon Jordan, drove by to advise Lewinsky at her apartment in the Watergate complex. Later, Jordan placed calls to New York City firms and arranged for Lewinsky to get job interviews, including an offer from the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson.

It is possible that Clinton only lusted in his heart. While the circumstances suggest the contrary, there was no firm evidence last week, only a whirlwind of leaked reports of Lewinsky’s tape-recorded conversations with her so-called friend Linda Tripp, another former White House aide. And FoB fed accounts of a conspiracy that included literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, who admits that she urged Tripp to tape-record £ conversations in which Lewinsky allegedly dis§ cussed details of her dalliances with Clinton. As 1 FoB were eager to point out, Goldberg was the § agent for former detective Mark Fuhrman when “ he wrote his best-seller about the O. J. Simpson £ case. As well, FoB note that investigator Starr is a conservative Republican, and Jones is backed by the ultra-conservative Rutherford Institute.

Late last week, two stark options began to emerge: a) the President of the United States is a liar and a philanderer; or b) his enemies have mounted a campaign that will lead to his impeachment. It was not a pretty sight.