Bill Clinton’s involvement in the Sestak job-offer controversy and his statements about exactly what happened should resurrect fundamental assertions about his credibility and legacy that are matters of record.
Yours truly brought them forth in a comment (edited and enhanced for the purposes of this post, with the addition of several links) at another post in December 2008:
Objective historians recognize seven fundamental truths about Clinton and his impeachment:
1. He lied under oath about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Clinton even paid a fine and lost his Arkansas law license for having done so.
2. He lied when he said he did not have a years-long affair with Gennifer Flowers in the 1980s during the 1992 primaries and presidential campaign. He admitted to having an affair with Flowers during the course of his Paula Jones deposition. Had the public known the truth about Clinton-Flowers, which Clinton and the iron-grip, pre-Internet media chose to cover up despite taped evidence that the affair was real, the outcome of the 1992 primaries and/or presidential campaign would very likely have been different.
3. Clinton sexually harassed Paula Jones essentially as Paula Jones described it, forcing him into an out-of-court settlement of $850,000 after years of saying he would fight the charges tooth and nail.
4. The Paula Jones suit established an important legal principle, affirmed unanimously by the Supreme Court, that presidents can be sued while in office for actions that took place before they took office.
5. Bill Clinton raped Juannita Broadderick in the late 1970s (full transcript of the Lisa Myers NBC report is here). He had many opportunities to deny that he did so, and any man who hadn’t done it would have denied it. But he never did, because he knew he could be sued civilly, which would have opened up the entire incident to public scrutiny and confirmation.
6. The House managers were carrying out their sworn duty to uphold the law and the constitution when they wrote up articles of impeachment based on Clinton’s self-evident perjury. The House was correct in impeaching Clinton on two of four counts, and probably should have impeached him on a third.
7. The Senate did not carry out its constitutional duty to hold a trial with appropriately presented evidence, and failed to do what the known and available evidence demanded it do. There is not a planet on which perjury is not a “high crime,” regardless of the subject matter. Independent counsel Robert Ray referenced “President Clinton’s admission of providing false testimony that was knowingly misleading, evasive, and prejudicial to the administration of justice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.” In other words, Ray noted the obvious: Clinton, when all was said and done, admitted to the acts of perjury that should have led to his removal from office.
The truth of the above assertions is not arguable, which is why objective history will eventually get it right, despite what today’s whiners and weasels who pass for historians say.
More generally (and this is the short list), Clinton’s obsessive behavior prevented him from accomplishing anything meaningful during his two terms in office, besides NAFTA, presiding over an economy the GOP Congress (finally) set on the right course in 1995-1996, giving in to the GOP on welfare reform in 1996, and agreeing to a capital gains tax cut in 1997 that accelerated growth further.
He failed to address Social Security and Medicare reform during the period that may have represented the last best chance to do so without inflicting a lot of pain on the nation.
He and his SEC allowed scores of companies of no substance to go public, leading to the dot-com bubble in 1999-2001.
Finally, Clinton failed to heed multiple warnings that Islamic terrorism was a growing threat (all the way back to the first World Trade Center bombings in 1993), leading terrorists to believe in 2001 that they could fly planes into the WTC and the Pentagon without suffering recriminations.
Fortunately, the most important legacy of Clinton’s impeachment is that, even in an apparently strong economy (but not as strong as originally thought in the summer, fall, and winter of 2000-2001), it made a successful challenge against Vice President Al Gore plausible, even by a less than charismatic candidate.
Clinton’s disastrous first two years in office led to his party’s loss of Congress in 1994. His impeachment led to his party’s loss of the presidency in 2000. That meant that when the 9/11 attacks occurred, someone who would respond appropriately to terrorism up to and including victory in Iraq and who would do everything he could to prevent another attack on American soil for the next seven years was at the helm, with a Congressional majority at the ready to support him.
Considering the above, it’s obvious that whatever Bill Clinton has to say about the Sestak affair and his role in it has no presumptive credibility.