Here is a news item from Vanity Fair news writer Emily Jane Fox that succinctly synthesizes the recent news coverage related to Ken Starr—specifically the coverage of Starr’s comments about Bill Clinton and his investigation of the then-President’s sexual indiscretions and the coverage of the ironies and hypocrisies in Starr’s own current situation:
“Ken Starr, the former independent counsel tasked with investigating the Whitewater real-estate venture, and who eventually pursued the Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky scandals that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment, is now lavishing praise on the man whose public and private lives he spent years trying to destroy.
“’His genuine empathy for human beings is absolutely clear,’ Starr said last week in a panel at the National Constitution Center, according to The New York Times. ‘It is powerful, it is palpable and the folks of Arkansas really understood that about him—that he genuinely cared. The ‘I feel your pain’ is absolutely genuine.” He called Clinton “the most gifted politician of the baby boomer generation.’
“Starr hinted at his own regret for the time exposing Bill Clinton’s messes in the mid-1990s, but expressed an almost relieved sense of pride at how he revived his image in the wake of all the destruction. ‘There are certain tragic dimensions which we all lament,’ he said. ‘That having been said, the idea of this redemptive process afterwards, we have certainly seen that powerfully.’
“Starr’s newfound empathy for the Clintons is born of the reflection that comes with distance, of course. But it also comes at a time when Starr himself is under the microscope for his actions as the president of Baylor University, where he has faced criticism for his leadership while the Baptist school wades through a sex scandal of its own. The school’s leadership is accused of not taking any action after at least six female students reported that they were sexually assaulted by Baylor football players—two of whom were convicted of rape, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“Now, Starr is reportedly being pushed out of his position, according to HornsDigest.com. Sources have said that the three dozen members of Baylor’s regents board blame Starr for the breakdown in leadership. Baylor has not issued a statement on the report.
“Starr’s words last week, then, read more like something he hopes someone will say of him in a decade or two, once he lives through a shame spiral of his own. Just don’t count on it coming from the Clintons.”
The item by Fox, which includes a striking close-up photo of Starr, is available at: http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/05/ken-starr-bill-clinton-baylor.
But what should not be lost in the ironies and hypocrisies in Starr’s current statements and situation are the ironies and hypocrisies in Donald Trump’s condemning Hillary Clinton for the ways in which she responded to the Far Right’s attempt to exploit politically the deplorable personal behavior of her husband—behavior that Trump himself has frequently and very readily admitted has been a consistent aspect of his own personal behavior.
The following paragraphs are rom Maria La Ganga’s “The Politics of Distraction: Why Trump Is Dredging Up Bill Clinton’s Past,” published by The Guardian on May 25, 2016:
“Hannity, however, did not delve into Trump’s own sexual misconduct.
“The real estate tycoon’s first divorce was smeared across the tabloids, which were filled with rumors about Trump’s relationship with the woman who would become Wife No 2 while he was still married to Wife No 1. He is currently married to Wife No 3.
“In his 1997 memoir The Art of the Comeback, Trump bragged: ‘If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller.’
“And then there were the interviews with radio shock jock Howard Stern, discussions of his personal proclivities, his current wife’s bowel habits, and his insistence that all intimate partners should be tested by his own doctor to ensure that they were clean of sexually transmitted disease.
“’I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world,’ Trump told Stern in 1997, while talking about dating and the battle to avoid infection. ‘It is a dangerous world out there–-it’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam era. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.’”
Yes, the candidate who has proclaimed that he will be the greatest president in history for the military has not only declared that he does not regard enduring torture as a POW as heroic, but he has also described his own efforts to avoid venereal diseases while being sexually promiscuous as “my personal Vietnam” and has declared himself “a great and very brave soldier” for those efforts.
If that sort of incredible tone-deafness and deranged self-glorification is not enough to give current and former members of the military considerable pause about his actual qualifications and priorities, then they may need to step back and reconsider the matter, as Ken Starr has tried to do, albeit a long time after the fact and in the midst of his own personal duress.
La Ganga’s complete article is available at: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/25/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-bill-sexual-history.