The Starr Report: A Religious Perspective

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Judy Craft set her plate on the patio table and eased into her shaded dining spot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Her four companions from the Atlanta area joined Craft, and they nibbled at their lunches as they enjoyed the Friday sunshine and the camaraderie of the Christian Coalition’s annual “Road to Victory” pre-election celebration.

Then came the reporter’s blunt question: Should a deeply religious man like Kenneth Winston Starr have authored a text that has been described by his critics and allies alike as pornographic, lurid, tawdry, salacious and gratuitous?

Craft’s bemused expression said it all. She clearly had not expected that question at a gathering of like-minded believers from across the country.

Presidential pornography, not prosecutorial
All morning, she had listened to an array of religious activists and Republican politicians — Christian Coalition Chairman Pat Robertson, House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi, and talk-show host Oliver North included — lambaste President Clinton for his sexual dalliances with a former White House intern and subsequent lies about that relationship. So why would a journalist be questioning the work of a man who had exposed those truths, Craft seemed to be asking herself?

Craft finished the bite of food in her mouth, paused, then answered the question about the explicit nature of independent counsel Starr’s 443-page report to Congress released to the public about two weeks ago. “He had to do that because he had to reveal the truth, and sometimes the truth is ugly,” she said.

Across the table, Pat Quigley added his opinion. He blamed the explicitness of the Starr report on the much-maligned White House argument that Clinton received sexual favors from former White House intern Monica Lewinsky without actually having engaged in “sexual relations” himself. “The spin doctors are the ones who dictate how salacious you need to be,” Quigley said.


The Mother Of All Presidential Scandals

Originally published at
By K. Daniel Glover

Impeachment, resignation and censure. Those words seem to be at the core of every conversation in official Washington in these days of presidential scandal.

Did President Clinton commit an impeachable offense when he lied about his sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and stonewalled investigators determined to uncover the truth of that relationship? Should he resign to spare the nation a tawdry impeachment proceeding? Rather than impeach Clinton, should Congress instead censure a damaged president and let him finish whatever work he can in the last two years of his term?

Everybody seems to have questions. Everybody certainly has an opinion. But nobody has the answers — at least not in the short term.

Sounds a lot like another tumultuous time in presidential and congressional history some 20-odd years ago. And with all the current chatter about the impeachment, resignation or censure of the nation’s 42nd president, this is a good time to revisit the most famous of modern-day political scandals: Watergate.

From ‘third-rate burglary’ to cover-up

Watergate has become so synonymous with scandal that pundits eventually add the suffix “-gate” to nearly every questionable activity by politicians — hence the annoyingly awkward “Monicagate” or “Interngate” to describe Clinton’s current troubles — but Watergate’s entry into the political lexicon seemed unlikely at the outset of the scandal.