Is It Ken Starr’s Fault?

I found this story on the National Review cruise over at Susie’s place. It’s the perfect comedy to accompany the Sunday shows–stories about what nuts Republicans when they presume they’re alone. There’s a lot that worth reading, not least the portrayal of the Podhoretz-Buckley feud (with Buckley almost–but not quite–disowning his conservative offspring). But I was particularly amused by Ken Starr’s self-denials, in response to the question of whether maybe he’s personally responsible for 9/11.

nd one morning   on the deck I discover Kenneth Starr, looking like he has stepped out of a   long-forgotten 1990s news bulletin waving Monica’s stained blue dress. His   face is round and unlined, like an immense, contented baby. As I stare at   him, all my repressed bewilderment rises, and I ask – Mr Starr, do you feel   ashamed that, as Osama bin Laden plotted to murder American citizens, you   brought the American government to a stand-still over a few consensual blow   jobs? Do you ever lie awake at night wondering if a few more memos on   national security would have reached the President’s desk if he wasn’t   spending half his time dealing with your sexual McCarthyism?

  He smiles through his teeth and – in his soft somnambulant voice – says in   perfect legalese, "I am entirely at rest with the process. The House of   Representatives worked its will, the Senate worked its will, the Chief   Justice of the United States presided. The constitutional process worked   admirably."

  It’s an oddly meek defence, and the more I challenge him, the more   legalistic he becomes. Every answer is a variant on "it’s not my fault". First, he says Clinton should have settled early on in Jones vs Clinton.   Then he blames Jimmy Carter. "This critique really should be addressed   to the now-departed, moribund independent counsel provisions. The Ethics and   Government [provisions] ushered in during President Carter’s administration   has an extraordinarily low threshold for launching a special prosecutor…"

It’s an excellent question with even more interesting answers. Ken Starr, the bulldog of the late 90s, can’t even answer "no" to the question of whether he’s personally responsible for 3000 dead Americans and the worst attack on US soil ever. And his denial–"the constitutional process worked admirably"–sure sounds different than what I heard from a bunch of Republican Congressman last Wednesday, who are convinced that the constitutional process somehow misfunctioned, because Clinton didn’t go to jail for his consensual blow job.

Can we have more of this from US journalists? Maybe an interview a week from Ken Starr on his personal responsibility for 9/11?

  1. Neil says:

    I don’t think we can blame 9/11 on Ken Starr nevertheless Starr’s inability to answer the question directly and without equivocation is telling.

    The special prosecutor law was abused by Starr and his Republican supporters for political gain. Talk about the criminlization of politics. There were all the illegal leaks of information from the prosecutor’s office none of which resulted in an indictment, and then articles of impeachment for lying about a blow job. Starr’s conduct was certainly unethical and probably a criminal use of his prosecutorial power.

    Revisiting the Clinton years and what passed for probable cause for impeachment is an exercise that put Bush’s conduct as president in perspective.

  2. Anonymous says:

    A straight yes-or-no might have been nice; perhaps this is the little mantra that Starr utters every day to put his own mind at rest.

    Or perhaps there’s a more realistic answer in his non-denial denial. ”I am entirely at rest with the process. The House of Representatives worked its will, the Senate worked its will, the Chief Justice of the United States presided. The constitutional process worked admirably.” Did the House and Senate deliberately use perjury induced by entrapment and non-material to an investigation, in order to achieve the ends we see today? Was that the ”process worked admirably” by the Republican majority?

    Can’t help think this was the intention all along, considering how much money, time and media they through at the process; they inoculated against another impeachment of a presumably Republican president — while undermining the public’s perspective of government as an effective entity.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oops, sorry, accidentally slapped my keyboard and hit Post. Ugh, I think I need more coffee…

  4. Ishmael says:

    9-11 is Starr’s fault in the sense that the hunting of Clinton was the overture to the 2000 election, and the plan for the Republican Restoration – back to the good old days of the Cold War, only this time they would do it their way. It wasn’t just an attack against Clinton, although Lee Atwater himself recognized the dangers that a white Southern Democrat with the best political skills in a generation posed to Republican hegemony. While there was an irrational fear and hatred of Clinton, does anyone think that if Clinton had been convicted in the Senate, that there would not have immediately been an attack against President Gore in the House, for campaign finance offences, or some other setup, and that the media war against Gore in the 2000 campaign was an extension of the media and legal strategy that was Part II of the Hunting of the (Democratic) President.

  5. orionATL says:

    thanks for the reference to the ”ship of fools” article in the independent.

    reading it was like listening to some of my wife’s philadelphia family.

    the calm confidence born of a long social pedigree

    earnestly combined with the most crackpot ideas and comments imaginable

    stated without embarrassment and with absolute conviction.

    what a state of bliss.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have always felt from day one (similar to Ishmael’s thought above) that the continuously expanding scope of Starr’s Spanish Inquisition and resulting impeachment effort was, despite the conservative’s irrational visceral hatred of Clinton, as much about Gore as it was about Clinton. Life was to good under Clinton/Gore, the economy was flying high and they saw eight additional years of a Gore Presidency as all but certain if something drastic was not done. The criminal morons pulled off the biggest dirty political bag job trick in history and STILL had to steal the 2000 election to prevent a Gore Presidency.

  7. freepatriot says:

    ken starr has no shame ???

    what did you expect ???

    I’ve known that for 10 years