TYRRELL: Bill Clinton Syndrome

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They call it BCS, Bill Clinton Syndrome, and it has broken out anew in New York City and Washington, where it was first discovered. As elaborated upon in scholarly detail in the now-famous “Starr Report: The Official Report of the Independent Counsel’s Investigation of the President,” BCS strikes powerful figures, usually male, who experience lewd compulsions of an over- powering nature, generally in the presence of technology, often the telephone, occasionally a smartphone or even a computer, and usually when they are alone or behind closed doors with a woman of inferior rank. The first victim of the syndrome was, of course, President Clinton, but it has struck a growing number of powerful individuals, most recently former Rep. Chris Lee, International Monetary Fund chieftain Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and now Rep. Anthony Weiner (pronounced, vi’ ner - at least by him).

Mr. Clinton was the first known sufferer of the syndrome, hence his epon-ymous relation to it. It struck him in the mid-1990s, though for him it was not so bad. He was impeached, but later he was glorified. MSNBC did a documentary on him, “President of the World: The Bill Clinton Phenomenon.” He also was discussed as a possible candidate for mayor of New York City and secretary-general of the United Nations.

Seized in the presence of a telephone late at night, he repeatedly called a young lady to exchange lascivious thoughts with her. As reported in this column recently and elaborated upon in my book “The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President’s Life After the White House,” foreign intelligence agencies, unfortunately, were listening in on the calls. It was a high-tech telephone but not that high-tech. Mr. Clinton used an unsecured telephone. Now tapes of those calls are lying around intelligence offices worldwide. Possibly the spooks dust them off from time to time and have a good laugh, though possibly the tapes can still be used to compromise Mr. Clinton in the event that anyone in official Washington is stupid enough to trust him with anything of a confidential nature.

More recently, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was struck down in the posh Sofitel hotel in Manhattan when a Guinean chambermaid entered his room to clean it. What he did with her is in dispute - and far be it for me to compromise legal proceedings with my mere speculations. There is, however, no doubt that he suffered some uncontrollable romantic seizure, and now we know that the arresting officers, when they accosted him on his Air France getaway flight, confiscated his mobile phones (he apparently had more than one), Apple computer and iPad. His lawyers claim that, as the Wall Street Journal put it, the devices may have “contained information that may be legally sensitive.” The lawyers are asking prosecutors to return the devices and not to read their contents. I am sure they will cooperate.

Now along comes the ill-starred Mr. Weiner (alternate pronunciation, wine’ er). He apparently suffered at least the underpants version of BCS. He served as the moral scold to Republicans in Congress. Let one even belch in public, and the Honorable Mr. Weiner was on him with an inimitable shrill rebuke. Now his voice will fall silent, save for an occasional “I’m sorry. I want to apologize. Especially to my wife,” who is an aide of some sort to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Apparently, the Honorable Mr. Weiner suffers BCS when alone in the presence of his smartphone or computer and begins sexting madly to women whom he does not know and who are not his lawful wedded wife. He takes pictures of himself in various stages of undress and includes the pictures in his messages. The ladies somewhat virginally reply. A couple of weeks ago, he sent a picture of his underpants containing what looked like a large Idaho potato. The picture fell into the hands of the conservative philosophe Andrew Breitbart, who brought it to the attention of the omnivorous press corps, one of whose members prevailed on the idiotic congressman to say that he could not “with certitude” say it was not his underwear. This week, he held a press conference and admitted that he does indeed suffer BCS, though he did not use those exact words.

What will become of these wretches I do not know, but for Mr. Weiner there is hope. The press has reported that his recent marriage to Mrs. Clinton’s aide was “officiated” over by none other than Bill Clinton. I advise that Mr. Clinton counsel Mr. Weiner and Mrs. Clinton counsel the wife. Then let all four retire from public life. Along with them they can take any other public official suspected of suffering BCS. This nonsense has gone too far.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor-in-chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His new book is “After the Hangover: The Conservatives’ Road to Recovery” (Thomas Nelson, 2010).

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