Ken Starr? Hmmmm. Ken…Starr. Kennnnn Starr.
Can’t say that I have ever heard of him.

Crazy old coot, Robert “Close But No Cigar” Bork:

If the Senate Democrats insist, as they surely will, that they approve of the person named, then we are guaranteed of not getting a prosecutor sympathetic to Bush. Richard Nixon was caught in that trap when he removed Richard Kleindienst as attorney general and nominated Elliot Richardson. Richardson, though a highly regarded veteran of several Cabinet posts, was required not only to promise a special prosecutor, but to name his candidate and to draft a charter satisfactory to the Judiciary Committee, guaranteeing the man’s independence. Though the man he named, Archibald Cox, performed well, special prosecutors in general have a very mixed record for devotion to justice rather than to partisan behavior, self-aggrandizement, or both. Recall, for instance, the highly political performance of Lawrence Walsh, who seemed intent upon blackening the reputation of the first Bush and who forced plea bargains by spending taxpayers’ money in amounts that his prey could not match. More recently, we have witnessed the disgraceful performance of Patrick Fitzgerald, who, knowing from day one who had leaked the name of Valerie Plame and that no crime had been committed, not only continued his “investigation” but persuaded those with knowledge of the truth to remain silent. The upshot was press and public suspicion of the president and of Karl Rove for months on end. Moreover, Fitzgerald is responsible for the blatant miscarriage of justice in the conviction of Scooter Libby, whose scandal amounted to recollecting a phone conversation differently from Tim Russert, a feat reminiscent of Mike Nifong’s less successful adventures in prosecutorial abuse.

Starr’s leavings:

Robert Ray had enough evidence to indict and convict President Clinton — he just chose not to. That was the headline on nearly every story about the Office of Independent Counsel’s Final Report on the Lewinsky investigation, released last week. To his critics, Ray sounded like a schoolboy who, after running from a fight, later claims he could have beaten the other guy up. Really . He just decided not to.

How good was the evidence Ray had? We still don’t know. The report sheds almost no light on the quality of his case against Clinton. We’ve known for years that during his deposition in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against him, Clinton’s answers to questions about Monica Lewinsky were comically evasive, even to the point of lying, if we mean “lying” in the common-sense, colloquial sense of the term. There’s almost nothing new here.

What is new in the report is, strangely, getting very little attention. Or maybe it isn’t strange. So much of the media was invested in breathless, often uncritical coverage of Clinton’s impeachment, and the investigation that triggered it, that to blow the whistle on Ray’s report might force reporters to look at the extent to which they colluded with the president’s enemies. The investigation Ray inherited from his predecessor Kenneth Starr cost $70 million, and in the end yielded only the promise that it could have led to the president’s indictment, but didn’t. We all deserved more than that. (Although stay tuned: Ray promises that Part 2 will focus on Whitewater, the Clinton land deal that launched the Starr investigation in the first place. But since Starr himself decided not to proceed with indictments in that matter, it’s probably safe to assume Part 2 won’t contain any OIC-vindicating bombshells, either.)

But if the Clinton evidence isn’t big news, the Ray report contains at least two fascinating revelations that haven’t gotten nearly enough coverage. First, Ray’s claim that the investigation showed that Starr’s office didn’t illegally leak grand jury information to the media is preposterous, based on a parsing of evidence more misleading than Clinton’s famous “depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” And second, after spending almost $2 million to investigate her shocking claims against Clinton, the OIC apparently found Kathleen Willey, whose smeared lipstick almost toppled a presidency, not believable.

For those keeping score at home…

And for Republicans, it been all about the blowjobs ever since…

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