Back when Bill Clinton occupied 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and women troubles dogged his every move, former White House aide Katherine Willey went public with charges the President sexually assaulted her.
The White House responded by unleashing its considerable resources in a carefully-orchestrated smear campaign to discredit Willey. Clinton officials released letters, memos and other materials related to Willey’s volunteer service in the White House.
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill denounced the White House’s actions, calling the release of information an “abuse of power” as well as an “invasion of privacy.” Democrats, on the other hand, defended Clinton’s actions.
Two years later, a federal judge would admonish Clinton for violating the Federal Privacy Act by releasing the material on Willey.
“This court cannot accept or condone this unlawful action,” Federal Judge Royce Lamberth said in his ruling.
Flash forward another four years. Another former White House aide goes public with allegations of wrongdoing by a U.S. President. Once again, the White House’s massive PR machine goes into action to discredit the source of the information.
But this time, the hypocrites who run Capitol Hill sit silent. This time the President is one of their own. And the Democrats? They are screaming and moaning, saying the White House is guilty of “abuse of power” and “invasion of privacy.”
Granted, there is a big difference between a former White House volunteer saying the President copped a feel and a former counterterrorism expert accusing a President if ignoring warnings that cost more than 3,000 American lives but the action-reaction scenario is the same.
Someone dares suggest an American President ain’t the epitome of honesty and virtue that party propagandists would have us believe and the immediate reaction is to smear the naysayer.
The issue here is not politics, partisanship or even the rule of law. It’s hypocrisy, pure and simple. If the other party does it, you stand up and scream like a stuck pig. If your party does it, you sit on your fat asses and say nothing.
Richard Clarke’s motivations for claiming George W. Bush sat on his hands and did nothing about warnings of a pending terrorist attack before 9-11 may be honorable or dishonorable but when a former White House aide makes such charges – and that aide is a registered member of the President’s own party – the natural response would be to investigate the issue fully and get to the truth.
But Republicans on Capitol Hill are too interested in helping the White House bury Clarke – and with him the facts. By condoning Bush’s smear campaign, and backing National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice’s refusal to testify under oath before the 9-11 commission, the GOP is aiding and abetting a cover up.
This is not the behavior of honest men and women. Instead, it is a standard reaction by people who have something to hide.