- The Washington Times - Friday, December 31, 1999

We like a man who lies for a reason. There are good reasons to lie. For instance, you tell a girl that her face is youthful and beautiful, when it really looks like a prune danish that’s been left on the sidewalk overnight. You tell your wife, who actually does have a face like yesterday’s prune danish, that you were out all night with a sick friend. You tell your boss, who is so dumb he got a refund from a mind reader, that he is a combination of Noel Coward and Werner von Braun. You tell the overstuffed lady who lives next door, that it is nice, for a change, to see a girl with an old-fashioned shape. The truth is the old-fashioned shape you are talking about is a dirigible from World War I. You tell your girlfriend who has all the erotic responsiveness of a piece of dead lox that “It was the best ever.” The salesman gives you his word that he is selling you a car “below cost,” and explains that the only way he makes money is by selling a lot of them.

These are all lies that may, at their best, be born out of sensitivity or kindness, but in each case, lies that are told for a reason. When Bill Clinton who is a professional liar lies, it is always for a reason. He is either trying to defraud somebody, cover up something or con the public. Strangely, when Al Gore lies it is without any apparent reason.

Mr. Gore had already established his credits on environmental issues, for better or worse, and had even been anointed “Mr. Ozone.” So why did he have to tell students in Concord, New Hampshire, “I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal. I had the first hearing on the issue. I was the one that started it all?” The Love Canal he was thinking about probably had to do with a motel in upstate New York, since the environmental nightmare that most people associate with the name was a dead issue by the time his committee held hearings. It had already been declared a disaster area (we are talking about the area around the canal, not Mr. Gore’s hotel room, which was probably also a disaster area) and everybody had already moved out.

While we are on the subject of “love,” a subject that seems strangely inappropriate to politics, unless you include under that heading what goes on in the Clinton Oval Office, Mr. Gore also claims his courtship of Tipper, his wife, whose hairstyle seems to be trapped in a 1960s time warp, was the subject of the hit novel, “Love Story.” This lie pales in comparison to his claim of discovering the Internet or even, according to him, his authoring of the earned income tax credit. However, in Mr. Gore’s relatively harmless, mostly funny, sometimes pathetic and delusional world, one receives glimpses of, perhaps, more sinister thoughts from this self-professed student of Christianity.

On Dec. 14, in Derry, New Hampshire, Al Gore suddenly became a stutterer and looked as if he would rather be in Pittsburgh than in New Hampshire when questioned about Juanita Broaddrick’s rape allegations against Bill Clinton. He said, “There have been so many personal allegations and such a nonstop series of attacks, I guess I’m like a lot of people, uh, in that, uh, I think that, uh, enough is enough.” Uh, perhaps Juanita Broaddrick pleaded “enough is enough” when she was, uh, held down, uh, brutally raped, and, left bruised, bloody and battered by Mr. Clinton. Also, why isn’t “enough is enough” when it applies to Linda Tripp?

Linda Tripp who, admittedly, looks like something that jumped off a broom on Halloween and used a mix master to comb her hair, is now being criminally prosecuted for recording some telephone calls. What she did is no crime under federal law or the laws of most states, and indeed if it were, everybody who has an answering machine that records messages would be a criminal. However, in Maryland, it is technically a crime a crime for which, as far as anybody can recollect, nobody has been prosecuted. Nobody, except Linda Tripp, who said the right thing about the wrong people. Quite apart and aside from the fact that everything she revealed was truthful, it should be noted that she was not a perjurer, did not lie to a grand jury, did not lie in sworn depositions, did not suborn perjury, did not tell her employees to lie under oath, did not try to get somebody a job in order to shut her up, did not lie to Congress, did not lie to all of the people who worked for her, and did not tell her aides to go on television to trash and attempt to ruin the reputations of the people who were telling the truth.

The person who did all of that is still going from house to house, asking girls if they are busy, while Mrs. Tripp may go to jail because of some telephone calls. Mr. Gore went on to say, “… I think that whatever mistakes he [Clinton] made in his personal life are in the minds of most Americans balanced against what he has done in his personal life as president.” Mr. Gore’s explanation obviously reflects a new theory of jurisprudence. If a man holds up a bank and is caught, under Mr. Gore’s reasoning, his answer could be, “But look what a nice guy I am and look how much money I gave to the YMCA.” If a murderer stabs somebody in the heart, he should be able to say, “Forget it; so what if I stabbed somebody in the heart. Look at what I’ve done for the Boy Scouts.”

However, in the real world, people have to stand and take the punishment for what they do, and not get a free ride because they might have done something nice in another area of their lives or in another part of town. This kind of jurisprudence may work for Mr. Gore, but it doesn’t work for anybody else. And Mr. Gore can be sure that, for his position, there is, in his words, “No controlling legal authority… .”

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