Forgive and Forget?

Aug. 3 1998 3:30 AM

Forgive and Forget?

Clinton measures his last option.

(Continued from Page 1)

2) Clinton has the rhetorical grace to pull off such an apology in a way that doesn't seem phony (he'll blame it on his own big heart, his fierce desire not to hurt wife and child).


And most important: 3) An apology cuts off Starr's investigations at the knees. Without an apology, Clinton is doomed to enervating, fratricidal, interminable impeachment hearings. An apology would prevent them. The Flytrap investigation is the only part of Starr's work that America a) understands and b) actually cares about. Would an admission of lying about Monica weaken Clinton's claims in the other Starr matters? I doubt it. After a mea culpa, the public or Congress are unlikely to muster much enthusiasm for chasing Clinton through the dull, impenetrable thickets of Whitewater, Travelgate, and Filegate. Even if Republicans decide later that they don't actually forgive and forget, it may be too late. An apology could wipe away all the scandals but campaign finance.

There is no sign yet that the administration is tempted by mea culpa/Forgive and Forget. All leaks out of the White House suggest that the president is sticking to his denial. Lanny Davis, the closest thing to an official source who is talking, deflected the idea of an apology when quizzed about it. But if the administration isn't buying, its allies are. Democrats are matching Republicans big heart for big heart. Barney Frank, the president's best friend in the House, has suggested that Clinton should 'fess up if he had an affair, as has Leon Panetta. On This Week, George Stephanopoulos all but implored his former boss to cut his losses and apologize.

Will the White House come around? If I were a betting man, I would wager that during this week, other prominent Democrats--as they did when Clinton hesitated over Starr's subpoena--will make increasingly obvious pleas for Clinton to apologize. And, unless the dress is a red (navy blue) herring, I would wager that Clinton will listen. Surely he's willing to tarnish the legacy he cares so much about in order to save his presidency.

Tomorrow: more on the dress.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

The Ludicrous Claims Women Are Pitched at “Egg Freezing Parties”

Oct. 1 2014 11:48 AM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Oct. 1 2014 1:53 PM Slate Superfest East How to get your tickets before anyone else.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 2:15 PM Gateway Episodes: Gilmore Girls
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 12:01 PM Rocky Snow
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.