- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Lying definitely should not be left to amateurs. It is a serious business best left to professionals. Some entire professions, like law and accounting, are based on lying. "Your Honor, my client (a mass murderer, privately thinks the lawyer) is better than a Boy Scout; he is actually a Girl Scout who spends his days looking for old women to help cross the street." An accountant devotes his entire life trying to figure out how to cheat the government and prepare tax returns to show a loss for businesses that earn 10 million dollars a year. Some occupations are not wholly based on lying, but a little lying helps matters. What hair dresser, after messing around for an hour on a customer's hair, producing a result that looks like a Brillo pad that fell into a Mixmaster, would not tell his customer that her hair looked great?
All presidents lie. Richard Nixon had the decency to twitch and sweat when he lied. President George Bush was uncomfortable with his lying so when he lied he never was able to make his hands move in unison to reflect the lies that came out as he spoke. When he said taxes would go "down," he indicated "up" with his hands. Mr. Clinton, on the other hand, was comfortable with lying. But don't get us wrong he doesn't lie all the time only when he talks.
One of the problems with Vice President Al Gore is that he lies even when he doesn't have to, and in a way that the press has, because they are now on a lie alert, been able to pin down, literally, in minutes. Mr. Gore is egalitarian in his lies, whether they are about creating the Internet, discovering the Love Canal, serving as the basis for the novel, "Love Story," authoring the Earned Income Tax Credit, a story about a particular crowded Florida class room, an old lady collecting tin cans, a Buddhist temple, or listening to songs that were not written until after he said he heard them to name a few examples. Ordinarily in such a case you would not send a man to the White House you would send him to the nut house.
The voting public should not have to become psychoanalysts to figure out Mr. Gore's complexes and the insecurities that might cause him to lie. He apparently has his own remedy to his "truth problem" in Joseph Lieberman, or at least he would have access to one of Mr. Lieberman's rabbis, who seem available to give exceptions and dispensations whenever necessary. Mr. Lieberman had the attention of the world when he fearlessly stood before the Senate and lectured for 20 minutes that Mr. Clinton was the worst lowlife to ever hold national office. But, at the end of the speech, he indicated that maybe Mr. Clinton wasn't that bad, and just because he was a degenerate doesn't mean he still couldn't be a good president.
There is another kind of lying which Hillary Clinton and O.J. Simpson have in common. This is to distort a fact in order to give it an acceptable interpretation. O.J. Simpson was found, in his criminal case, to be not guilty of murder. He and his lawyers immediately declared he was found to be "innocent." Not so. The jury never found that he was innocent, but rather found his guilt was not proved "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is quite different from O.J. Simpson's position, and as a matter of fact he was found to be "responsible" in a later civil trial, which used a different standard of proof.
Three months ago Independent Counsel Robert Ray, in his report to the three federal judges that supervise his office, concluded that, all things considered, a criminal case could not be successfully brought against Mrs. Clinton. Details of that report were just released. It seems that Mrs. Clinton, under oath, totally denied any role in the Travel Office dismissals. However, Mr. Ray showed that she had eight conversations with White House staff on the subject.
Thomas McLarty, former White House chief of staff, and David Watkins, a senior White House aide, appeared before a federal grand jury and refuted Mrs. Clinton's story. Mrs. Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall called the whole thing a "semantic quibble" which is a little like saying World War II was a dispute with a little man with a mustache over a parking space.
American children have, until now, been brought up with the story of George Washington and the cherry tree and told that the only way to get ahead in life is not to lie. Perhaps it is more realistic to tell them that the only way to get ahead in life is to learn how to lie.

Jackie Mason is a comedian and Raoul Felder is an attorney.

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