- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

Why is Janet Reno thinking about running for governor of Florida? "We need to laugh at ourselves a little more, and, most importantly, we need to laugh together," said the former attorney general, shedding a little light and truth on the human condition (or something) by way of explaining her interest in seeking the statehouse in Tallahassee.
Actually, thats not quite right. That is, while Miss Reno did say we need to laugh at ourselves a little more importantly together, she was only discussing her decision to appear on "Saturday Night Live" last January, not whether she would appear on the hustings in time for election season, 2002. Still, there is something essentially comical about the prospect of a Reno candidacy, something decidedly, if mirthlessly, laughable.
Its not just the sloganeering possibilities. ("Vote for the woman who really was no controlling legal authority.") Nor is it simply Miss Renos core complicity in the historic transformation of the Justice Department into the political and politically corrupt wing of the Clinton-Gore White House which, when all was said and done (and not done), left Justice herself not only blindfolded, but also ear-plugged and gagged. Besides all the glaring black marks, there is an audacity to the notion of a Reno candidacy so colossal, so grandiose that it slips the bounds of logical expectation and makes for the outlandish territory of farce.
From the wholly unjustifiable White House Travel Office firings, to the endless Clinton-Gore campaign finance scandals, from the Justice Departments disgraceful campaign to undermine Kenneth Starr and impede the Independent Counsels Whitewater investigation, to the clemency deal for FALN terrorists, from the Waco disaster to the disgraceful seizure of Elian Gonzalez, Janet Renos Justice Department was always there or not there, whichever seemed to serve the Clinton-Gore White House best. In fact, the Clinton years could hardly have been so, lets just say, Clintonian without the protective services of the Reno Justice Department.
With such a record, a Reno candidacy would seem to be one big joke. Less than rip-roaring, though, is the recent Miami Herald poll that puts the current governor, Jeb Bush, over Miss Reno by a not-too-comfy 6 points, 49 percent to 43 percent. Meanwhile, Miss Reno now finds herself being personally sued, along with a dozen Clinton-era INS officials including former INS Commissioner Doris Meissner, for $25 million in damages by INS Agent Ricardo Ramirez on the charges of fostering anti-Cuban and anti-Hispanic prejudice, and ordering the destruction of evidence concerning the Elian Gonzalez raid in 2000.
Floridians may have heard of the case. Then again, maybe not. Indeed, one might begin to wonder. Have Miss Renos Florida supporters heard of any of those Clinton-Gore-Clinton-Reno scandals, flaps and controversies that covered Washington, plague-of-locusts-like, during the bad old days of the last administration? Perhaps that is a question best left unanswered. That is, its hard to know which answer would make a better punchline.


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