May 25, 2016

One day after the NYT publishes "Kenneth Starr, Who Tried to Bury Bill Clinton, Now Only Praises Him"...

... we learn — from Inside Higher Ed — that Starr is expected to resign from his job as president of Baylor University, where the Board of Regents has been considering firing him for looking the other way when the school's football players were accused of sexual assault and domestic violence.

There have also been a lot of reports that the board voted to fire Starr. 

Here's our discussion, yesterday, about the NYT article, which seemed framed to help Hillary Clinton by offering up the supposedly surprising news that Ken Starr is a fan Bill Clinton's. The Times downplayed Starr's current troubles, which undercut the value of his seeming admiration for Bill Clinton.

I didn't say this yesterday, but I think it was unfair to Starr to write that he "tried to bury Bill Clinton." Starr was appointed Independent Counsel to investigate the Clintons, beginning with the Whitewater matter and expanding into the death of Vince Foster and then various other matters — "the firing of White House Travel Office personnel, potential political abuse of confidential FBI files, Madison Guaranty, Rose Law Firm, Paula Jones law suit and... possible perjury and obstruction of justice to cover up President Clinton's sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky."

Whatever criticisms he may deserve for going too deeply into these things, he was acting in the role of a prosecutor, under a charge from the 3-judge division that appointed him and subject to removal for good cause. One may be dismayed at all the things he turned up, but I don't see why he deserves to be seen as motivated by an intent to destroy Bill Clinton. He was a prosecutor, and if he were on a personal vendetta, why didn't Attorney General Janet Reno fire him?

By the way, Trump has brought up the old Vince Foster story, and there's some amazement that he's willing to sully himself with the sort of tawdry material that GOP candidates have traditionally left to others, as the NYT is talking about in its new article, "As Donald Trump Pushes Conspiracy Theories, Right-Wing Media Gets Its Wish":
[B]y personally broaching topics like Bill Clinton’s marital indiscretions and the conspiracy theories surrounding the suicide of Vincent W. Foster Jr., a Clinton White House aide, Donald J. Trump is...  defying the norms of presidential politics and fashioning his own outrageous style — one that has little use for a middleman, let alone usual ideas about dignity.
The Times observes that the Hillary campaign is trying to figure out how to interact with an opponent like this. It's much harder to decline to respond when material is purveyed by the GOP candidate himself and not just right-wing radio and websites. The Times quotes James Carville recommending no response at all.

Then it goes to Anita Dunn, who was once Obama's communications director. (This isn't in the Times, but let's not forget: She's the one who called the Obama White House "a genuinely hostile workplace to women.") Dunn told the Times that Hillary needs to figure out how to respond or Trump gets viewed as "winning the day" whenever he lobs one of his attacks.

And then here's the last sentence of the article:
Half-jokingly imagining Mr. Trump dredging up the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex., she said, “We haven’t heard ‘David Koresh’ yet.”
I don't know why that "Half-jokingly" is there. I fully expect Trump to bring up the Waco siege, and there's nothing amusing about it at all.  

48 comments:

damikesc said...

The Waco siege doesn't demonstrate sober and coherent strategy of Bill. Don't know how it impacts Hillary, but it was one of Bill's dumber ideas and demonstrated the Feds willingness to use force on Americans far more than they would ever use it on an actual opponent.

Note: Koresh could've easily been arrested when he left the compound and went to the city...which he did regularly.

MadisonMan said...

I note that the Times calls them Conspiracy Theories. Nothing slanted there!

exhelodrvr1 said...

"he's willing to sully himself with the sort of tawdry material that GOP candidates have traditionally left to others"

Unfortunately, in today's world if one side does that (and the Democrats consistently do use that tactic), the other side needs to as well, or the election is lost.

J2 said...

They needed the "bury" for the Caesar reference to work.

AJ Lynch said...

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell rooted through Vince Foster's garbage after he died. What do you make of that Professor?

http://freebeacon.com/blog/obamas-new-hhs-secretary-proved-her-loyalty-by-clinton-by-digging-through-a-dead-mans-trash/

Quaestor said...

I note that the Times calls them Conspiracy Theories.

Which do not include the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy.

coupe said...

For me, Clinton is a big turnoff. I don't like the woman. I don't like her politics, and I don't like the people she surrounds herself with.

That's a high hurdle for to vote for her.

Then there's Sander the Soviet plant, and Trump, the Buffoon.

Sadly, unless someone else gets nominated at the convention, I think a buffoon is probably just what the country needs. I'd nominate his daughter for VP.

Hagar said...

Ken Starr was very punctilious about reporting his every move to Janet Reno's office - which may have had something to do with the Clintons' lawyers being so ready with their counter-moves.

rehajm said...

...let alone usual ideas about dignity

Does Hillary really believe she can convince voters she has a claim to any moral high ground?

TreeJoe said...

The items Trump are "dredging" up are serious matters that occurred during the public and political careers of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and have been escalated primarily SINCE Hillary brought up "putting Bill in charge of the economy".

I think it's driving the NYT nuts that that's hard to dismiss.

I commented on the times article that it should be noted Ken Starr exonerated the Clinton's in multiple scandals before following up on a claim of sexual harassment which led to discovering Lewinsky lied in an affidavit and uncovered the ultimate workplace sexual harassment - the "CEO" having sex with an intern. Any CEO in the U.S. would be fired and shunned for such activity. But such is the willingness to ignore that Bill Clinton has a proven history of such acts with multiple women and yet is considered a prominent and accepted public figure.

Curious George said...

"coupe said...
...and Trump, the Buffoon."

You just don't get it.

Gordon said...

Oh, but it's plenty funny to someone who thought communist activist (after the fall, when the true horrors were well known!) Van Jones was a great choice for White House aide. You know, someone who puts down Mao (who made Hitler look like a slacker when it came to mass murder) as one of her most admired people. You know, a leftist dumb ass of the first rank.

Wilbur said...

Hagar is correct. In fact, Starr had to get explicit approval from Janet Reno before extending his investigation into any of the many avenues which opened up to him.

rhhardin said...

Vince Foster is as good as anything. Everything the Clintons touch is corrupt. Take Foster as symbolic for that.

They do kill people.

Curious George said...

"damikesc said...
The Waco siege doesn't demonstrate sober and coherent strategy of Bill. Don't know how it impacts Hillary..."

Everything Bill Clinton had done, has done, and will do impacts Hillary. Everthing. SHe can't throw him under the bus. He won't stand for it.

Virgil Hilts said...

Isn't Anita Dunn the idiot who said Mao was her favorite philosopher?
I can see DT saying that Reno caused 76 people (26 children) to die through what many would argue was criminal negligence and the Clintons didn't fire her. I can hear DT saying "It's not that hard to fire bad or incompetent people. You just say, You're Fired. In my administration there will be no Janet Renos."

Unknown said...

If Hillary doesn't want bill to be used against her, then she needs to stop trotting out his rapist arse on the campaign trail. The comparisons to him and Cosby will not be able to be swatted away even by the most partisan newspaper and media.

Trump has cut one of her big supports out from under her, because he has the guts to say what everyone knows is true, bill is a serial abuser, Just wait until the Lolita express gets highlighted.

Brando said...

That's the problem with latching on to every conspiracy theory out there--eventually you may hit upon something real and no one will trust what you have to say.

David Begley said...

How is the president of a university responsible for alleged sexual assaults by football players? Shouldn't it be the football coach, AD and general counsel?

Achilles said...

Hillary will be polling around 37% by the time the dems get to their convention. Then they will consider putting Biden in her place. I hope they do that but I don't think they will.

First they have to get Hillary to go willingly or she will unload all of the dirt she has on Obama. Seems unlikely. The bigger problem is bernie and his supporters. To get them to go along willingly is even less likely. Hillary is the only way Goldman Sachs can avoid running a dem candidate that won't try their damnedest to break them up.

They are still giving the #nevertrumpers airtime even though there are maybe 100 of them left but there are millions of bernie supporters. Imagine that.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, interesting that you mention James Carville, a.k.a., "The Talking Skull," as he is one of the surrogates that the Clintons have used and Hillary is expected to use to making snarling attacks on Republican candidates. At this point Carville is apparently flummoxed that not only is Trump using his tactics against Hillary, but he doesn't know how to respond. Probably he'll figure something out, but I think Trump will have a counter, and a counter for his counter. Trump seems to be two moves ahead of the Clinton machine.

Pass the popcorn, please. Donald Trump is dishing out to the Clintons, mère et père, what they normally dish out to others using the Talking Skull, George Stephanopoulos, Sid Blumenthal, and various complicit members of the MSM. The Clintons don't have a riposte ready. Awww.

And, I agree with you, Professor, Waco was not funny. And if anything, Ruby Ridge was worse.

coupe said...

Curious George said...You just don't get it.

Thankfully...

Brando said...

"How is the president of a university responsible for alleged sexual assaults by football players? Shouldn't it be the football coach, AD and general counsel?"

We just saw a University President ousted because a student claims they were called a racial epithet by passers-by in town, because reasons. So I don't expect university head to be a title with much job security these days.

Amadeus 48 said...

I can't wait for Carville to show up. He is always entertaining, and he will never live down his "drag a hundred dollar bill though a trailer park" remark. The man will be the goat of a hundred Trump tweets.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

One person can do a criminal act, but if the person has help planning it or help covering it up by cleaning the evidence, then it is called a conspiracy.

If we take notice that no one has ever discussed the Vince Foster death evidence, no one ever, and we see a tacit acceptance of total cover up by Officials blocking a real investigation, then it becomes a legitimate topic.

The best the Clintons can say is that it was best kept secret.

M Jordan said...

For conservatives, Trump's 1990's reprise of the Clinton sins is a joy to behold. The Clinton method of dealing with crisis is 1) Deny, 2) Delay, and 3) (after two years have passed) Decry your critics as obsessed haters: "You still on that? We dealt with that two years ago." It works with a complicit media. Not so much with Trump.

So bring on Waco, cattle futures, and Juanita Broaddrick ... maybe this time we'll get, if not answers, capitulation.

Michael K said...

"Koresh could've easily been arrested when he left the compound and went to the city...which he did regularly."

Both Waco and Ruby Ridge were ATF budget battles that occurred during hearings on their current budget requests. Reno made the decision to go after Koresh and Weaver, terrible decisions, but the local ATF and FBI made the disastrous tactical decisions. Koresh could have been arrested at the Post Office but the gun battle would make their case for more money.

Weaver was a guy who lived in the woods and the ATF tried to make an informant of him by entrapping him with a sawed off shotgun they asked him to make for money when he was really hard up. Then he did not get the court date because nobody delivered mail to his house and he was afraid to go into town. The local jury that acquitted him wanted to indict the FBI sniper for murder.

The Clintons were described by FRIENDS as a tornado that went through other peoples' lives. Very few people, if any, experienced the Clintons without going to jail or ending up dead.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"I note that the Times calls them Conspiracy Theories. Nothing slanted there!"

I was going to ding them on that, but they quote Rush Limbaugh, and he too used that term.

From yesterday's show:

"So Trump has gone there.  Trump has gone to all of this Clinton conspiracy stuff...  there is concern that Trump's out there focusing on all this stuff while there are bigger issues and fish to try out here, and they're getting concerned that this kind of attention to the fringe areas of conspiracy theory-dom are gonna derail Trump."

rhhardin said...

A conspiracy is just two people planning.

JCCamp said...

Well, take Foster for instance: He almost certainly committed suicide, but that suicide was driven by events around HRC. Her Rose Law billing records which disappeared from Rose Law and only reappeared - in the White House - a few days after the statute of limitations had run and years after they had been subpoenaed, said records bearing only two sets of fingerprints, those of Foster & HRC. The billing records proved her involvement in fraudulent schemes in which she was an unnamed, un-indicted co-conspirator. Then there was Travelgate, a relatively minor thing turned ugly by perjury and for which Foster's innocent young assistant took the fall, but which was really the work of Hillary, and included FBI agents doing political dirty work for the new First Lady.

Friends spoke of Foster's increasing depression over these events.

No doubt Foster's office, computer and the like were scrubbed clean, including a suicide note if there ever was one, since it may have referred to political happenings or figures.

So this "conspiracy theory" stuff has the potential to stick some mud to the Empress.

But a cover-up of the details of the actual death itself? Not likely. Possible of course, but not very likely. The original crime scene work, the lab work, etc, were pretty sloppy and some physical evidence was lost to careless handling or never collected, since the the initial investigation was by the National Park Police, not exactly the experts in homicide investigations.

And these older events certainly provide a rationale for HRC's home-brewed email server, and why she deleted 30,000 emails. No more pesky billings records things happening to the Madame Secretary.

Original Mike said...

"He asked the question "How long does it take when you drop a bowling ball on your foot, for the pain to reach your brain?"

The answer is: instantaneously."


I don't think that's right. I broke my toe once. Broke with a loud crack. I heard the crack before I felt the pain.

Original Mike said...

"No doubt Foster's office, computer and the like were scrubbed clean, including a suicide note if there ever was one, since it may have referred to political happenings or figures."

It was Cheryl Mills who scrubbed Foster's office.

M Jordan said...

Trump is attacking Hillary hard early in order to help Bernie. Bernie needs to be inspired to take his cause all the way to Philly. And the Bernie Bros need to do the same. Trump wants to see the City of Brotherly Love become the City of Bernie Bro Love ... and chaos.

3D. That's Trump.

buwaya puti said...

Trump is "going there" because unlike the Democrats there aren't proxies with a good enough megaphone to hand over the mud-slinging job. Trump is the only megaphone on the Republican side that can break through the media wall.

So he has to do double duty. He has to sell himself as well as sling the mud.

damikesc said...

Thing is, I don't think the Clintons had anything to do with Foster's death. Not directly at all. Perhaps he was depressed over what they were doing. Who knows?

But the BEHAVIOR after his death is going to be really hard to explain. One of your best friends dies and your first concern is to clean out his office?

Unknown said...

I for one think Rush needs to bring back that Hillary song he had from the 90's; that parody of Black Water by the Doobie Brothers. Some great stuff in that song. And suddenly very topical!

Brando said...

"But the BEHAVIOR after his death is going to be really hard to explain. One of your best friends dies and your first concern is to clean out his office?"

That's the importance of using a knife instead of a sledgehammer in these attacks--once people think you're calling them murderers they tune out, and start putting you in the category of 9/11 truthers and moon landing fabulists.

The Clintons did a lot of unsavory and illegal stuff during their time, but their best defense has been mixing all of that in with the white noise of wild charges to obscure it. It's served them well up to now.

Oso Negro said...

If James Carville can't think of a goddamn thing to say, you are on a roll.

cubanbob said...

Blogger M Jordan said...
Trump is attacking Hillary hard early in order to help Bernie. Bernie needs to be inspired to take his cause all the way to Philly. And the Bernie Bros need to do the same. Trump wants to see the City of Brotherly Love become the City of Bernie Bro Love ... and chaos.

3D. That's Trump.

5/25/16, 9:07 AM"

Is Trump really that clever? If he is, then he is going to be a GREAT president but I'm not going to get myself excited yet. Still watching cops smashing prog heads at the convention on live TV is almost too much excitement for me.

David said...

It's really astonishing that Reno and Clinton skated free after the disaster at Waco. Reno was in this mess up to her bulging eyeballs, and there were credible reports that Clinton was also very much personally engaged. And Hillary? Where was she--the two for the price of one lady. You can bet she had opinions and Bill heard them.

How did Reno deep her job for so long? A mutual political death avoidance pact with Clinton seems a very good explanation.

The magic of the Clinton years always seems to forget Waco and Mogadishu and tiptoeing around Bin Laden and Rwanda and numerous other horrors.

I think Vince Foster committed suicide, plain and simple and who ever knows why someone does that. But I know for a fact that Hilary's aides were in Vince's Office, rifling and sanitizing the files, and that several years later a juicy one (which was under subpoena) showed up in the Clinton's personal quarters in the WH.

The Clinton's are as corrupt a pair as we have seen in modern political life. How can people ignore that so easily?

Anthony said...

Wait, aren't the things Bill Cosby is alleged to have done just "marital indiscretions"? Or is this another one of those "It's the same thing, only different" kinda thangs?

tim maguire said...

Poor Ken Starr, first he was punished for taking sexual violence too seriously, then he was punished for not taking sexual violence not seriously enough.

His timing is terrible.

Michael K said...

Where's ritmo and Freder ? I have something for them. i'm sure they'll thank me.

“CBS2 compared millions of voting records from the California Secretary of State’s office with death records from the Social Security Administration and found hundreds of so-called dead voters,” according to investigative reporter David Goldstein.

“Specifically, 265 in Southern California and a vast majority of them, 215, in Los Angeles County alone.”

The voters are genuinely dead, but others are voting in their names, often through vote-by-mail.

While it is not clear how the “so-called dead voters” voted, 86 were registered Republicans, and 146 were registered Democrats. Votes have been cast on behalf of some dead individuals for decades, over several election cycles.

gpm said...

Two posts on this article/headline, with a specific focus on the use of the term "bury" (but not the counterpoint reference to "praise"), and there are only two passing references in the comments to the obvious callback to Marc Antony's funeral oration for Caesar? Don't know what it was supposed to mean, but it stands out pretty clearly.

--gpm

Zach said...

Interesting interplay between the old War Room "Respond to everything and control the news cycle!" and the Clinton Stonewall "Deny everything and extend the process for years!" mentalities.

Beach Brutus said...

Re: Michael K @ 8:30: "The Clintons were described by FRIENDS as a tornado that went through other peoples' lives. Very few people, if any, experienced the Clintons without going to jail or ending up dead."

Best comparison of Clintons to Nixon I read was that Nixon corrupted himself our of loyalty to his friends, the Clintons corrupted their friends while using their friends' loyalty to protect/promote themselves.