The Assassination of Ken Starr

by Patrick J. Buchanan – March 2, 1998

Can one imagine the reaction in Washington in 1974 if it were revealed that Nixon’s lawyer, Jim St. Clair, had hired detectives to investigate Leon Jaworksi’s staff, that they had found out one was homosexual, and that Nixon’s men had “outed” him?…Every newspaper would have exploded with cries for St. Clair’s ouster. Network anchors would have wept openly, “The Nixon White House sank to new depths today.” Yet when Starr simply called Sidney Blumenthal, alleged dirt dispenser, before the grand jury, the media beatified Sidney as a First Amendment martyr…

If one accepts at face value the caterwauling on the networks and news-talk cable channels, Ken Starr is the greatest threat to the Bill of Rights since the Alien and Sedition Acts. By one poll, his approval rating is now 11 percent. Hats off to the War Room!

But lest we forget: The Starr investigation into the Lewinsky affair was approved by Janet Reno and three U.S. judges. It is about a vital national issue: the character of the president. Did Bill Clinton commit perjury in his sworn deposition in the Paula Jones suit, and did he conspire with Vernon Jordan to suborn the perjury of 24-year-old?

Since Lewinsky’s lawyer has said his client will testify under oath that she lied in her sworn affidavit — and did conduct an affair with Clinton — thus, the president lied, and we know the truth.

Almost no one in this city believes Clinton.

So, the mortal necessity for the White House is not to see that the truth comes out but to obfuscate it, to bury it and to destroy any seeking to learn it. Thus, the White House is conducting a disgusting and savage campaign to smear and ruin Ken Starr.

Yet one understands that. With Clinton facing disgrace and perhaps impeachment, his aides are going to use political anthrax if necessary to survive. Much more interesting is how elements of the national press are colluding in the “Get Starr!” campaign.

Often, one is asked: What is the difference between Watergate and Whitewater? One difference is that Nixon had almost no allies in the press, and special prosecutor Archibald Cox had many media groupies as anxious as he to bring Nixon down. Clinton, however, has a large press auxiliary that wants him to escape, even if guilty.

Consider: Last week, we learned that Clinton’s lawyers had unleashed private detectives on Starr’s office, that “dirt” had been dug up that a member of Starr’s staff was homosexual and that another may have had an affair with a journalist. Detectives were probing whether Starr had an affair. The purpose of digging and shoveling the dirt: to smear, intimidate or destroy Starr and his team before they can get to the truth — a patent violation of federal law.

Can one imagine the reaction in Washington in 1974 if it were revealed that Nixon’s lawyer, Jim St. Clair, had hired detectives to investigate Leon Jaworksi’s staff, that they had found out one was homosexual, and that Nixon’s men had “outed” him?

Every newspaper would have exploded with cries for St. Clair’s ouster. Network anchors would have wept openly, “The Nixon White House sank to new depths today.” Yet when Starr simply called Sidney Blumenthal, alleged dirt dispenser, before the grand jury, the media beatified Sidney as a First Amendment martyr.

Can today’s press corps not see it is conducting itself with the same amorality that it condemns in the press of the 1960s?

In that era, the Kennedys and LBJ used FBI agents to bug and wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. From those taps and bugs, the FBI got dirt on King’s private behavior, fed it to Johnson’s aides, who fed it to a liberal press that concealed its sources, who were assassinating Dr. King before he ever got to Memphis.

What is the moral difference between shoveling dirt, legally obtained, on Dr. King’s sex life, to smear and destroy him, and using dirt, dug up by detectives, to smear and destroy Ken Starr? If it was a damnable outrage to do this to Dr. King, why is it permissible to do it to Starr and his attorneys?

The press disgraced itself with a conspiracy of silence to cover up what LBJ’s men did to King. It is disgracing itself with this conspiracy of silence to cover up what Clinton’s men are doing to Ken Starr.

One is reminded of how Joe McCarthy was done in. McCarthy had learned that a staff lawyer for Joseph Welch, his antagonist in the Army-McCarthy hearings, had belonged to a communist front and blurted out that fact at a televised hearing. A shaken and anguished Welch cried: “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?\

Have you no sense of decency?”

McCarthy’s defenders lamely argued that it was relevant to an investigation into communists in the Army if the Army’s lawyer had a closet communist on his staff. But what is the relevance to this investigation if one of Ken Starr’s staff is homosexual? And why is the press siding with the dirt shovelers, not with the victim?

Answer: Some members of the press hate Starr and want him to fail, and they want Clinton to escape, guilty or not, for they have an ideological and personal investment in his eluding of justice.