Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 12, 2003
POLITICS: Go Away Already
One of the joys of being a civil litigator is that my job gives me mechanisms to catch and expose lies by adversaries. To do that effectively, of course, you need to keep something of a 'grudge file' -- keep careful track of past statements in writing and orally (take good notes), and know when to pull it all out to expose flip-flops and outright whoppers. Sometimes you catch the other guy in an obvious one, and sometimes you just get to show some inconsistency.
Every now and then, though, you run across somebody who's such an exceptional and prolific liar that the job of keeping opposing counsel honest winds up all but overwhelming the actual litigating of the case -- the lies come in too fast and too varied, and require refutation that's too lengthy and detailed, to effectively rebut them all without the judge thinking you've gotten lost in some vendetta. After a while, this gets exhausting, and demoralizing.
This, basically, is how I feel about the Clintons at this point, particularly Hillary (Bill, thankfully, seems unlikely to wind up with any responsibility ever again). You need enormous reserves of energy to keep up with their serial deceptions; no matter how clearly you debunk something they or their defenders say, it pops back up a few years later and you need to go back to the file. And if you wade into a debate with their bitter-ender supporters, you need to go back to the grudge file to keep straight all the various charges (which is not to say everything pinned on the Clintons was true, but there's plenty enough there) or get accused of being some sort of fraud; if you do keep it all straight, they say you're obsessed and living in the past.
At least with litigation, I get paid to do this; I don't get paid to keep a grudge file on the Clintons, and I refuse to spend the time necessary to revisit again all those controversies. But I'm glad there are professionals out there who haven't forgotten. As for me, and I think a lot of conservatives, I just wish the Clintons would go away.