Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi The Teflon Presidency Continues, Scratch-Proof

By Marcos D. Martinez

MAY 4, 1998:  Last week in the national press, President Clinton appeared in a scene out of a Robert Frost poem, helping to mend a wall along the Appalachian Trail for Earth Day. In the picture, the president has a seraphic appearance; he smiles, looking in the direction of the mending wall, holding his block of slate. Out there in nature, no polity harms him; there are no scandals; he is a man at peace. But if we follow our president more closely, as our ubiquitous media permits us to do, we note that he is also rather peaceful in the White House, or in Rwanda, or nearly anywhere. True, he has spells of discomfort and momentary embarrassment, but these pass quickly, and the president returns borne on the shoulders of hefty approval-rating polls.

Consider some minor displeasure for the president. At one time there was a sexual harassment suit leveled against the mighty politician. Paula Jones was the plaintiff, and Clinton was to be the defendant. But before the case could go to court, before Kenneth Starr's collection of subpoenas could display their prolific and at times trivial findings, the federal judge ruling over the case dismissed it because Paula Jones suffered no on-the-job retaliation for the president's alleged behavior. It was even said that if the president behaved as Jones claims he did, he was not vindictive and handled rejection well.

Another shock for our leader was the Monica Lewinsky allegations. Of course we now know it turned out for the best, but at the time people went so far as to suggest that the president be impeached for encouraging Lewinsky to perjure herself. These narrow minds advocating Clinton's overthrow do not understand the office of the president, and some edification is in order.

The Republicans had their day with Reagan and the evil empire, the specter of Russia, as the reason and scapegoat for prodigious military spending and debatable domestic and foreign policy. But you see, the office of the president is more than just the executive branch of the government. It is also a vessel of karma. For all those people who knew that Reagan was getting away with his programs without objection, the spirit of the presidency has now prepared the perfect retribution: a Democratic president who would get caught doing everything but who is no less unstoppable. This is the fate that Clinton got, the cosmic retribution for the sins of Republicans.

Of course I doubt that the president himself is aware of this fact. Perhaps he thinks himself lucky, that he just happened to be immune to every case brought against him. Life continues, though; his persecutors will level all charges in vain, trying and retrying cases, and his allies will come to his aid. The President will get scared, turn red, disappear for a while, but return triumphant, relaxed and ready for the next scandal. All he has to do is keep the Dow Jones on the up and up, and we'll forgive him; I know I already have.


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